2013 Is Really the New 2014!…Wait…what?

Are You Kidding ME!

Are You Kidding ME!

The show season is not winding down contrary to popular perception. More events are moving into the November/December timeframe as it seems there is a surge in “let’s get ahead” mentality. As the holidays all get shifted earlier and earlier and overlapping all over the place, the same thing has happened with tradeshows!

Organizers have figured out that hosting events November/December are no longer for that particular year – they are giving their sponsors and exhibitors the jump on the next year! Exhibitors and sponsors alike are using that platform to promote the next year’s “available soon” products; or announcing the new product taking orders NOW! The end of Q4 which tended to be the lagging month for some has now become the Q1 intro to business revenue! Garnering clients who they can get to before the first of the year!

Your booth is hanging on by its last bit of floral wire and duct tape and now you have to make it look new with little to no budget left; and make the best out of products that have been packed and repacked 20 times over and handled like unpacked toys on the toy aisle! Now we have to make things look like we are progressing to the next year with a fresh look!

Yup, can’t get engineering to give you one more thing, budgets are on lock down, and you will be using whatever you have left even if chewing gum and super glue are in the mix!

Well, here is one little idea that might help get you through this year with the shift already taking place – generate show buzz! Take a little note from all the movies that are promoted – send out short snippets through social media channels to get those teasers out there for Q1 products. Get your most dynamic speakers on that platform whether it be in actual speaking sponsorships or in your booth with scheduled meet the expert time invitations! PR needs to step it up here and get those press appointments on the show floor! Lead generation can be significant if you are targeted with your invites and promotions. Your ROI will be much more direct with this kind of promotion than if you leave it to the organizer to draw in target clients who you would like to see in the coming year.

With all of this shifting around of product promotion/placement/pricing – many will say, “yeah this has been around for years”. Well, not in every industry and market segment and certainly not as aggressively as it is right now in 2013, check out the show line-up for the end of the year in whatever industry you are in and you will find many more events in those last 2 months than ever before. 2014 is definitely already aligning with even more fever; just ask any organizer working to get a venue!

How to work with this little nuance “wrench in the ringer”? Well gypsies here we go, AGAIN! Need a new potion for this one. So we will throw in a little “new” into the mix to kindle the fires for next year until we can rearrange the graphics, budgets, new booth, marketing campaigns and that little thing we call a marketing plan! Sit down with your management, sales, BD, engineering, and marketing teams and get the word out the tides have turned and let them know that you need something to feed the restless early adopters as the holidays are not the only dates that are jumping way ahead to gather business early!

Oh, and keep track of how you make your miracle because end-of-year reviews will want to know how you made the company money! By saving them money of course!

You can do it gypsies – you are the magic-makers of the company!

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Multi-talented and qualified…wait…Who?

What else do you need to know?

TRADESHOWGYPSYs that’s who! If you have ever worked with a corporate entity on shows or hosted events for a large group you know how talented you have to be to make a show/event happen.  You are a program manager, project manager, buyer (vendor), vendor manager, site selector, negotiator, sales, marketing (all aspects of marketing), VIP assistant, technical sales (you know what products are in your booth or are showcased at the event), budget manager, and then just your regular show/event manager to make sure the timing of everything kicks off correctly even if it means using your own carpentry skills.Don’t let anyone pigeon-hole you into a category of “you JUST do shows”; there is no such thing! Coordinating all the staff and travel schedules is another area of expertise that takes quite a bit of finesse especially if International dignitaries or VIPs are involved, there can be clearances that need to be managed and don’t even get me started on custom’s for shippers! You are also often the first line of Voice of the Customer – they will ask for you on the show floor and unload good or bad.

I heard a manager telling his events manager that he should be glad that he gets to travel with such a great team of sales staff.  I noted a look of disgust and made it a point to stop by this event manager’s booth and ask him how things were going. He was so frustrated with his staff being absent and non-helpful and treating him like a servant that he quit right there on the show floor. He was packing his laptop when I came to his booth. I asked him if we could chat before he left. We did and I hope he felt better about everything he did, as when we spoke he really did feel as though, shows were such a lame career direction he had taken and he was questioning his skill set entirely. FYI-honorable mention…you know who you are, congrats on the latest gypsy role!

Being the Tradeshowgypsy that I am I believe in shows and know that face-to-face discussions generate a long-term business deal and can really establish an organization in the rankings of status and brand or provide vendors/attendees with much-needed human interaction.  But, I also know that hosting events in any capacity takes a huge variance of skills and certain mentality to deal with continual change, critical/creative thinking, and personalities.

Now more than ever before shows have taken such a bad hit because of a variety of abuses that have taken place. Event hosts and managers have to include upper-level negotiation skills with their internal groups to get events approved and through a number of divisions.   Hosting organizations have to wait longer periods of time to get confirmations or have to send specific details very early on to get them through the systems.

None of the gypsy skills are to be taken lightly as there are a number of other positions within organizations that do not require near the level of skill and are regarded as a higher position.  What I am saying here gypsies, is Don’t Sell Yourself Short! Keep track of all of those little details that you have to add in and those discussions that take place and who you are now working with to get events internal/external off the ground.  Make sure you are beating that tambourine hard and loud for yourself, no one else will and the will cast you off to a quiet corner.

Keep your skill levels up as well, as social media and web marketing are every bit a part of the position as well and if you haven’t been engaged with this leaving it to the “web department” get ready because that has also been added to your task list! Figure out how to get training through your organizations or from your library or community college.

I know gypsies, as if you had nothing to do but shine the silver buckles on your shoes or rearrange the tarot deck…now you have to justify your gypsy existence! Make your case a good one and make sure you add in every single one of those skills to those performance reviews too!

Fall season is in full-swing, document now, you won’t remember later!