A good friend of mine, who is in the same business, recently said to me, “It’s like tax season right now for our kind of work.” Yes, trade show season is upon us again and almost every client, friend, or colleague I know is either preparing or in the middle of some kind of trade show event at this moment.
This is also the time when the ‘tchotchke personalities’ re-emerge. What are ‘tchotchke personalities’, you ask? I’ve been to enough trade shows and conferences that I can tell you there about eight different personalities that are pretty commonly found on the floor.
So as you prepare to attend your next show, which personality will you take on? Happy Trade Show season!
(Originally published on 7/15/14 as a Guest Blogger on TrewMarketing's website)
So you have a trade show to plan. It’s still three months away – no problem, plenty of time, right? But tick, tock …before you know it, the event date is right upon you. If you have ever planned an event, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I bet you can even pinpoint the moment when anxiety takes over. Before you break out in hives, let’s take a moment to pause and plan.
(insert zen-like moment here)
Moments of stress or dread don’t have to come when planning an event or trade show. Ever heard the saying, ‘luck favors the prepared’? This is especially true when it comes to event or trade show planning. I’ve planned countless trade shows and corporate events, and I’ve figured out that the key is to give myself enough runway – typically seven weeks -- to make the event successful.
Here is a breakdown of my seven-week approach to trade show planning:.
Seven weeks is the optimal time to plan, but even with a shorter amount of time, you can still find ways to make all of the above happen and still have a successful trade show. Keep everyone informed, stay organized, and circle back. Having a jar of rash cream helps too, in case of a hive breakout.
Good luck and happy planning!
Attended SPE’s (Society of Petroleum Engineers) ATCE (Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition) last week in Houston, which had roughly 10,000 attendees and about 500 exhibitors. ATCE targets a more technical crowd consisting mainly of scientists, engineers, and students in related fields. It’s a sharp contrast to other shows I’ve attended – less flashy, no double-decker booths, booth babes, magicians, or wheel of fortunes. It’s just not that kind of show. It’s a show that gives exhibitors a platform to showcase their latest wares to an audience that is interested in reservoir description and dynamics, drilling and completions, and production & operations.
The show had a diverse amount of exhibitors from gas guns, to structures, to computer software and modeling. I would take small sound bites of what was being said in booths around me and all seemed to give honest talks about their products and solutions – pointed questions were answered with straight-forward facts. “Tech Talks” were the premier choice for driving steady traffic into booths. Most booths conducting these talks seemed to have the seats filled. It was hard to determine if attendees were there for the actual talk rather than the schwag they were going to receive at the end of the talk. I’d like to say it’s probably the former. There were quite a bit of students who attended this show, especially on the first day. 100% of these students were on the hunt to land a job. According to a resource of mine, because of the recent state in the industry, many of the graduates who actually had job offers just before graduation, had their offers rescinded. So as you can imagine, many of these students were at a lost and scrambling to figure out what to do next.
Overall my observation of show attendance seemed to be low but I got confirmation that it was indeed the case from quite a few of exhibitors. Since most of the attendees actually work in Houston, most came in to attend one day of the show or just an afternoon rather than all three days. Coupled with the state of the industry, numbers were down. An appealing extra that I enjoyed from ATCE were the ENGenious presentations. ATCE had a small pavilion-style setting with seating and everyone at the show was welcome to listen in on ten minute presentations that were being given related to new technology. Some of the presentations were quite interesting.
Besides working with my client, I spent my time observing booths and talking to various exhibitors. Again, since this show was more technical, the booths were modest in display and size. I don’t think I saw one booth that was 50’ x 50’ – most were either 10’ x 20’ or 10’ x 10’. The most extravagant I saw was from Baker Hughes – they had a barista/coffee bar area, lounge area with swanky furniture, and a few state-of-the-art show floor-sized monitors. The booth was tastefully done.
Main motivators for exhibiting at the show were related to branding and networking. All exhibitors I spoke with said they have never had any direct business from the show but they attend yearly because they can expect to see the same people from the same companies attend and soon enough, there is recognition. At some point that recognition transforms into a sale.