InfoComm 2012: Plan of Attack

I, like many of you, have been attending InfoComm shows for many years, stretching back to the NAVA days. Add to these any other shows you may have attended in the course of your business – and if you’re like me and worked for a manufacturer, add in the shows where you’ve exhibited –  and the total number of trade shows in your portfolio can be staggering. But even after all the miles walked and the booths visited, we continue to attend because, along the way, we’ve all discovered and validated that trade shows are vital to our business.

Being somewhat of a veteran, I am often asked for advice on how to work the show floor at InfoComm in order to get the most from the 900-plus exhibitors. I usually turn that question around and ask folks, “How do you do it?” Over time, I’ve compiled the myriad strategies into four buckets that I’ll share with you. Disclaimer: I’m not endorsing any one of  these plans of attack, just sharing them for the fun of it and hopefully driving  home the point that to get the most out of InfoComm your need a plan.

The Full-Frontal Assault

This is probably the most common approach I’ve heard of. Stand at the main doors to the exhibit floor. As the clock ticks down and the show opens, head in immediately, hitting all the large exhibitors just inside the door. Then work your way further into the hall as time permits.

Re-Con

Similar to the Full-Frontal Assault, you hit the show floor as soon as the main doors open. However, you don’t actually go into any booth, but rather stick to the aisles, working your way though the hall making notes about what looks interesting and where you want to spend time. You then reverse course, stopping at booths based on the notes you’ve made.

Perimeter Attack

Assuming you know all the larger companies, and knowing there may be some new technologies tucked away in smaller booths, you avoid the main door and head to the back. You work your way through all the smaller exhibitors with the intent of going back to the bigger exhibitors as time permits.

Strategic Plan

Understanding the business you currently have on the books, thinking about what’s pending as the year develops, or perhaps pondering a new market altogether, you look at a show floor map before you head in. On the map, you plot out the exhibitors related to your needs and plot a path that takes you to their booths first.

Honestly, I didn’t make any of these up. They’re all strategies or variations of strategies that have been explained to me over the years.

Bottom line?  Come to InfoComm 2012 with a plan. Whether it contains an actual strategy for covering the show floor is up to you. Your plan will also depend on your role in your organization. But in the end, your time (and your staff’s time) is valuable, so you need to make the most of it. Three more thoughts about your plan.

  • Put your plan in writing
  • Review it daily, and when the show is over, see what you accomplished
  • Require staff to report on their time at the show

Making a plan is one of four “do’s” I cover in the How to Make the Most of InfoComm 2012 webinar coming up May 31 at 1 p.m New York time. The “do’s” along with some great logistical information and a look at some of the special events will help you put it all together and make InfoComm 2012 a success for you and your company.

See you in Las Vegas as we add another great show to our portfolio.

About Duffy Wilbert

Duffy Wilbert, CTS, CAE, is InfoComm International’s Senior Vice President of Member Services, overseeing membership recruitment, retention and general association sales as well as the association’s market research and industry outreach initiatives. He also serves as Executive Director of the Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance and the International Communications Industries Foundation.

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