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Get Real About Booths


By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO

I attend quite a few different conferences throughout the year. I often wonder why some companies even bother with a booth. (And I wonder why some companies did not buy a booth.) At the recent VoIP Expo, two booths were running bi-hourly seminars. It certainly drew attention. Plus pitching one to many is easier than one to one.

I don’t see as many booth babes – and if I do its the same characters that have them. Don’t get me wrong I like eye candy, but the idea is to garner attention to your company. Most booth babes are not doing that. At ISPCON last fall, Adzilla lucked into a booth babe who read the brochures and spoke to attendees in order to introduce them to Adzilla execs. It worked out well. At one show, the booth attendees of the largest wholesale ILEC were doing crosswords and drinking coffee. No interaction.

The expense of a show is in the five figures. The physical booth. The personnel. Travel. Shipping. The booth space. It some cases upwards of $20,000. In today’s economy, you need to get real about the show. Prep and train.

I would start by setting a realistic goal for the show. What are you going to do? Create buzz. Gather business cards. Qualify prospects.

What’s your value statement?

What’s your pitch?

Who are you pitching?

Does everyone know that?

It isn’t about swag, although that will get you traffic. It’s about engaging the attendees. There are lots of ways of doing this. At the Vegas show last year, Pioneer Telephone had a boxer autographing. Pioneer said that it resulted in lots of agents signing up. Pioneer had a plan, executed on it, and it worked for them. Are you winging it or have you spent time planning and training for it?

The telecom channel is changing. Fast. The typical agent isn’t typical any more. It’s a mix of master agencies, sub-agents, VAR’s, inter-connects and consultants. More and more companies call me for help building a channel.

There’s no set formula. It depends on who your target market is, what you are selling, what the value proposition is. Chasing the wrong channel is costly as well. It isn’t about how many agents you sign up; it’s about how many agents sell your services. (There’s always the 80/20 rule.)

We are coming up on the Channel Partner Expo in Vegas. Is your plan ready?

Are your people ready?

About.com has a page of links to tips for trade shows.

If I was vice president, I would make everyone attending the show read one article – then brainstorm ideas two weeks before the show.

Thanks for reading.

Peter Radizeski is president of RAD-INFO. He can be reached at

peter@rad-info.net

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