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What sort of trade shows are worth attending as a vendor?

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Trey GregoryWhat sort of trade shows are worth attending as a vendor?
by on Feb 5, 2009 at 3:40:09 pm

Greetings All!

Has anyone had any luck attending trade shows as a vendor?

Seeing as video is a product/service that can be used in almost every industry, it stands to reason that there is often a need for video vendors at any trade show.

I read a previous thread about medical trade shows, but I'd love to hear some candid accounts about buying, setting up and manning a booth at one of these events.

Was it worth the time? Did attending generate any strong leads?

Are some industry trade shows better to attend than others?

Any and all wisdom you have on the subject would be great!



Trey Gregory
ECG Productions - Atlanta
HD Production and Post
http://www.ecgprod.com


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Todd TerryRe: What sort of trade shows are worth attending as a vendor?
by on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:16:55 pm

We attended one trade show last fall... probably the one that was discussed in the previous thread you read.

It was a good experience, but we are still trying to decide whether it was worth it. It hasn't resulted in any cash coming in yet, but it might in the future.

We picked that show because it was very specific... attendees were only marketing and advertising people in the healthcare industry, and our company produces a lot of broadcast commercials for doctors, hospitals, etc. Plus it was a very small show (so not expensive), and in our home state (although about a 6 hour drive away) so physically getting there with all of our stuff wasn't bad.

A lot of people were very interested in us, and thought we did great work. However with all of them it was usually "We'd love to talk with you about a project we're doing in the second quarter of next year" or some variation of that. No one had any immediate needs. We are going to follow up with all of our contacts again later this month.

We had never done a show before, so didn't have a booth or anything... so we had to quickly throw something together within a couple of days. It was a lot of work, but I must say the results were really great. We didn't want a run of the mill tradeshow booth and since we claim to be a creative agency we wanted to do something a little different. We had a 10x10 area, so first we bought a fairly standard pop-up backdrop just to have something to build on. We paid something like $300 for it on eBay and it had only been used once (MSRP on the unit was about $1200). Then our art director made a bunch of big foamcoare graphics pieces that would velcro to it. For the floor space, we borrowed some of the vintage furniture from our offices and turned the space into more-or-less an "I Love Lucy" era living room, since our company look is very retro. We had a funky rug, small couch, coffee table, end table, lamps, etc. The furniture also gave us places to put out candy bowls (which actually were very cool large vintage "atomic age" ashtrays), stacks of giveaway DVDs, etc. We produced a custom DVD loop tailored to medical stuff, and had Peter Thomas do a narration track for it that segued between spots. Peter is an excellent national voice (he does Nova, American Airlines, Forensic Files, all the current Burger King stuff) and is great for medical so we think he was an appropriate choice. Normally Peter would get several grand or more just for those tracks, but he's a buddy and a great guy so he did it gratis. A hidden DVD player fed the video loop to a 42" plasma screen we had in the booth, but since everything else was very retroy we built a facade for the montitor so it looked like an old console TV. Everyone thought our booth was very cool. Maybe too cool... people tended to stick around and lounge on the sofa a little longer than would be ideal.

It was a good experience. I'm not sure we would do another one right away, but I'm glad we did that one.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Trey GregoryRe: What sort of trade shows are worth attending as a vendor?
by on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:24:27 pm

Thanks T2!

Great info!

Your booth area sounds like a trip! Very creative way to do it, and not too expensive either.

A few other questions have popped up:

What is a good price for a booth at a show? How is the price calculated and how do you know that you are getting a good deal?


Best-


Trey Gregory
ECG Productions - Atlanta
HD Production and Post
http://www.ecgprod.com


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Todd TerryRe: What sort of trade shows are worth attending as a vendor?
by on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:34:02 pm

Wow, I think that just depends on the show.

The show we attended was very small, maybe just a couple hundred attendees (we knew that going in) so their rates were in the basement. I think booth space was something like $600. All total with building a booth from scratch, attendance fees, travel, hotel, meals, giveaways, and all that good stuff... I think we ended up spending only about $3000-$4000 on the show total.

Our theory was that if we got even one small-to-medium job out if it, that would several times over pay for having done the show... but as I said even that one direct-from-the-show gig hasn't come through yet. We have subsequently done work for some of the show attendees, but they were already our clients beforehand.

As for other shows, I think it's a wide range. As I said, this one was cheap... really jumbo shows can cost tens of thousands of dollars to attend.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Mike CohenRe: What sort of trade shows are worth attending as a vendor?
by on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:35:04 pm

Todd - let me know the next time you have this booth setup. it sound like a great spot to hang out all day!

Seriously, a trade show is an extension of your other marketing efforts.

We do a lot of direct mail, maintain an e-commerce website, and of course do a lot of networking. Do you go to NAB and buy a video camera on the show floor? Of course not. We sell books and DVDs at our booth, but in pretty small numbers. The main purpose is to hand out catalogs, get people on our mailing list, answer questions and promote our products.

For a production company marketing production services, this is a tough sell given the clutter of a trade show. If you do weddings, attending a wedding show makes sense. What niche do you serve, do they have a show, and who are the people who attend the show?

It is a big expense, given the fees for a both, the extras (carpeting, electrical, internet ($1000/week) furniture, freight shipping, hotel, meals, airfare. Make a budget.

Mike Cohen


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grinner hesterRe: What sort of trade shows are worth attending as a vendor?
by on Feb 8, 2009 at 6:09:10 pm

While I see trade shows as something to do when not working, I'd rather go racing on my day off.




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