Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Sometimes I attend the shows as member of the media, collecting information, new product news, and conducting interviews. On other occasions, I attend the shows as an exhibitor, working with various outdoor companies where I am on staff.
I always stand in awe of those hyper organized folks at the shows, the ones with a sound plan, pre scheduled meetings and interviews. Those uber productive souls that are tweeting and facebooking updates on the hour and filing stories from the press rooms every two hours. You know the type.
I am not one of those. It's not for lack of trying, but my plans always seem to fall apart. Something catches my eye that wasn't on the list. An opportunity suddenly presents itself. I seem to do much better just cruising and flying by the seat of my pants.
The downfall to this type of approach is that I return home with such a hodge podge of information, images and interviews that it takes me weeks to sort it all out and get it into usable form.
I decided this year to try a slightly different approach.. a half a plan of sorts. While I made my lists, and decided that I would focus on a few key parts of each show, I also left myself plenty of wiggle room for those spontaneous things that happen.
It seemed to work fairly well at the Archery Trade Association show, so I am trying the same approach at the upcoming Southern Illinois Boat and Fishing Show this weekend.
Perhaps the most important part in my new approach is allowing myself time. I often forgo a motel stay when the shows are within a reasonable driving distance. I've finally learned that just plain doesn't work. The money I save on not utilizing lodging close by ends up being spent in time and gas. I miss the after show social activities that can provide a much more relaxed atmosphere to network, interview, and gather additional information. I also am so exhausted by the time I arrive home that I can barely stay awake to dump the images from the memory cards, throw up a few posts and tweets, and trundle off to sleep a few hours before starting the trek back.
The Williamson County Tourism Bureau does a great job with this show and also secured some group lodging rates for us. Thanks to the hard work on their part, I can afford to stay the duration of the show, and to also factor in some time pre and post show hours to capture images of some of the jewels in the crown of Southern Illinois such as Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.
So early Friday morning I'll be heading out, with half of a plan and high hopes that this may be the show I finally figure out the best way for me to approach a trade show.
I'd love to hear from you dear readers, how do you approach a trade show? Shotgun scattered or highly organized and planned? Tips? Tricks? Share your "battle plans"! Please!
Posted by Gretchen Steele at 10:01 AM