Yesterday we talked about the hot bath effect. You know, when you take that nice relaxing bath, maybe with a glass of wine and bubbles and you feel awesome? It feels great while you are in it, but then you have to get up, dry off, and figure out what’s next. Sometimes people attend a trade show, conference, or networking event and have that same exact problem – they get home and then have no idea what to do next or what they should expect.
We were talking last week to some of our friends who happen to be end users at the IAUG show we attended. Many of them don’t realize what it takes for vendors to participate in these shows. The $5,000 booth (and yes, I am just talking the 10’x10’ small one) is just the tip of the iceberg. Do you know we have to rent carpet, tables, chairs? If we want that carpet to look nice we get to hire the vacuuming service every day too. Now let’s add in the cost of the booth prize and the extra fee if we want to participate in the stamp card to bring more people to the booth. Oh, and the scanner rental is about $250. Then there’s the travel, hotel stay, food and drinks. Don’t forget the booth itself (did we make new signage this year?), shipping to get it there, labor to build it if it’s not simple banners (like ours), literature, shirts for booth workers and, depending how many people we bring (usually 4-6), it’s a $20,000+ investment.
For some companies that’s just a drop in the marketing budget, but for smaller companies, it’s a big chunk of that budget. Because of this, we take our time at these events pretty seriously. We attend classes, are always in the booth and attend all the social events (in our opinion the most important part). We want to maximize our time and efforts. We know people want to buy from (and sell to) people, so getting to know people (vs. just their businesses) at the shows makes a big difference.
So here’s what you should expect after the show. You should receive emails from the booths you stopped at and either dropped a card in the drawing or let scan your name badge. We are not trying to bother you, we are trying to keep the conversation going. Remember that investment we made? We are trying to maximize that. If you decide you’re not interested, you can unsubscribe to the email. It’s ok. We don’t take it personally. We also had a cool raffle and understand some people go to the show, and sign up for that purpose.
Our ultimate goal is to sell our product. That shouldn’t be a secret. But what we pride ourselves in is being resources for our customers and prospective customers. We sell through a partner channel and have some pretty amazing partners. Think of us as your advisors. Talk to us and tell us about your other projects. Odds are we know someone who can help. Because while our ultimate goal is sales, we think you can build some pretty great relationships along the way.
What more could you do to make your time at shows effective?
First, come with a plan. If you follow our blog about the 7 habits of highly successful Communication Managers, you’ll start with Habit 2, Begin with the End in Mind. Take a look at your strategy and project plan for the next 12, 24 and 36 months and focus on meeting the vendors at the show that cold help make that plan a reality.
Second, be open to new technologies at the show. This might alter your plan a bit, but finding the latest technologies to bring back to your organization is one reason you go to the show.
And third, meet people – lots of different people. Fellow end users (be sure to seek out people in close proximity to you as well as people in your industry or of similar size and environment), vendors who can help provide insight and guidance and the hosts of the show. Ask them to walk you over and meet the people they find most exciting.
What’s your strategy to get the most out of shows? How do you work through the post-show barrage of info? Did you keep lists of products you want to check out post show?
Missed our Post-show vendor strategy blog? Read it here.
Amy Bailey is the Director of Content for VXSuite. She has been with the product line for almost 10 years. She’s the mother of one baseball-playing, Boy Scout son. Lover of the beach, the outdoors and anything to do with water.