Tom Keating took a humorous swipe at VON this morning.Â Well, at least, I am going to treat it as humor, and pre-suppose that he doesn’t want to create bad feelings between the two giants of the IP Communications tradeshow world today — TMC and Pulvermedia.Â
Tom quoted Voxilla’s Chamberlain as saying that traffic was down.Â He also quoted Garrett Smith with a similar view.Â But you know, my team, on the AOL booth, was run off their feet for the whole show.Â We had a very different experience.
Getting value from tradeshows is a real art.Â
- Begin with solid, achievable objectives.Â Is it PR? Lead generation?Â Business?Â Know in advance what you want to achieve, and how you’re going to achieve it.Â
- Make sure the audience that you need to achieve those objectives attends the show andÂ knows that you are there.Â A trade show is nothing more than an opportunity for face-to-face meetings.Â Figure out what meetings you want, the objective of the meeting, and define a successful outcome.
- Message your objectives clearly to your audience — on your booth, brochures, and in presentations.Â How many booths have you walked by at a show where you haven’t got a clue what is being sold?
- Pre-book as many meetings as you possibly can.Â Get on the telephone, weeks in advance, and set the meetings.Â The worst time to set the meetings is at the show. At that point, you’ve left your objectives up to chance.
- Follow up religiously.
iotum went to VON to achieve three things:
- Support our new partner AOL in recruiting developers at their boot.
- Recruit Asterisk business for our company, and close some Asterisk deals that we had been working on.
- Meet the press, and explain the momentum we have achieved recently.Â
We did great.Â We have more post-show follow up than we can possiblyÂ handle, and some great business deals which we will be able to announce shortly.Â Â Tom’sÂ post about VON complaints, whenÂ compared to our experience, really shows the gulf of experiences which are possible at a trade show.Â
If you’re going to spend the money on a trade show exhibit, make sure you do everything you can to maximize your ROI.Â Preparation is key.Â The disappointed exhibitors are usually the ones who didn’t.