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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Is that CANDY I see?…wait…Where?

So many choices!!!

That’s it, that sound you hear when the doors open to the show floor! The chatter and rustling of show guides or maps to see where exhibitors are on the show floor, getting the lay-of-the-land so to speak. Then there are the others that just begin to wander on the visual plan-of-action, looking up at the hanging signs with the names they recognize. As the groups begin to form as to what booth to go to next, after visiting the most prominent next to the entrance, the sound escalates with presentations being given, coffee bars buzzing, and excited staff and attendees making that connection.  AAAAH! Life is Good! People are going about their BUSINESS! A tradeshowgypsy’s dream~ 🙂

Most general attendees see the exhibits that are the big companies with the sensory plan in place; being coaxed in with the shiny new whizbang product or service and smiling model hired to get attendees into presentations. Mesmerizing these crafty gypsies are…

The method to the madness of shows is different for everyone, how they strategize their navigation around the show floor; how the masterful organizers have segmented the various business segments; and then the “kids in the candy store” that just want to see everything! There are those that say, oh you have to have a plan “meat and potatoes”, don’t waste time! In some cases I can see this, as some shows are huge and there is no way to get to everyone in the amount of time you may be limited to, however, there is something to be said for the candy store method as well, discovering those start-ups or mid-size organizations that have new releases or services that may be extremely beneficial to your organization.

Following the organizational segmentations can be helpful and that is the kind of mid-range way of defining who you will visit on the show floor.  Large shows with several show floors can be extremely difficult to navigate without the “plan” method in place, so take the time before you get to the show to go on the website and see if you can get a walking plan in place.  Just from a physical stand point, show floor walking can be exhausting and frustrating if you are seeking that one booth that may be in building A, rows 1045-1060, booth 1058; when it is clearly noted in the program building A, booth 1058!  Not to be confused with Building A of the West Conference Center rather than Building A of the East Conference Center.  It gets even better when you do large shows internationally!

For medium to smaller shows, your “plan” can still be effective but if you have the time, do a little candy store shopping and find out what new companies are coming in that might just take a bite out of your bottom-line (Ouch!); or might add a few dollars to your revenue!

The other point I’d like to make about candy shopping are those valuable connections! People change companies, like socks sometimes and usually not by their choice these days, so don’t neglect that possible really great connection that may have changed companies and might just be in that new role that may be of significant interest to you.

This gypsy likes to send out emails or social network announcements to contacts before the show to see if there is a possibility to meet at some point; or just to let everyone know that I will be attending; I often get questions or requests about a show such as; let me know if you see the whatcheehoozit from whatchamacallit company; or if you see Point A person tell them that I Point B person said hello and to call me!  Or the best one…I knew nothing about that show, let me see what I can do to get there!

So, get out there gypsies, the candy store is open and you are going shopping!