We support our clients at many leading technology and business tradeshows and conferences throughout the year mostly in the form of scheduling meetings with journalists, analysts, consultants, thought leaders, and bloggers (some a mix).
For the purposes of this blog post, I will refer to this group as "the media."
Here are some realities of doing tradeshow work:
1. Because of the sheer volume of requests, much of the media simply won’t make fixed appointments. It’s understandable. If you have something compelling to announce or industry news to share, you’ll get a visit to your booth as they are walking the show. I’ve seen many walking the show with their list of 15 – 20 booths they specifically want to visit.
2. Try, if you can, to have your news announcements to the media in advance of the show. Even if you are a publicly held company and have to deal with disclosure issues, if you have a good relationship with the media, you can work under embargo. The reasoning for having your news in advance is thaat the media is often looking for macro trends to write about in the context of the show. That also increases your chance of having your company covered in an industry related article.
3. Bring printed press kits for the press room and the booth, but don’t expect your paper to make its way home with the media. I’ve been at many airport lounges en route home from a tradeshow and have seen members of the media throwing out most of the contents of the press kits they have collected, other than a news release. Paper release are good, but make sure you can point them to the electronic versions of the press kit on your web site with the exact URL so they don’t have to hunt it down.
4. Just because someone does not show up for a meeting does mean they did not want to meet with you. Some shows, like C.E.S. are so large your schedules can easily get thrown out of whack. If they don’t show, they don’t show, and there is probably a good reason for it. Cut them some slack and follow up after the show.
5. When scheduling appointments, ask for cell phone numbers or see if they carry a BlackBerry to be in touch through e-mail. We have cell phone numbers for many journalists and analysts. It’s a rule of thumb in our practice that we only call them on cell phones when they are at shows to coordinate when schedules get out of whack.
I’ll be post more suggestions on tradeshow issues in the weeks to come.