Challenges, problems, and triumphs
-- from a manufacturer's perspective.
Getting Ready For A Trade Show
Go MAD at HIA.
by "Vinnie Da Vendor"
(Note: "Vinnie" is a key exec for a major industry
company. Sometimes he writes things that his customers may not want
to hear, so he needs to remain anonymous.)
You bellied up to the bar yet again to participate in our
industry’s greatest show on earth. I am not talking Barnum and
Bailey’s Circus here. (Or am I?) I am talking about HIA. The
payment was made long ago; how has the intense planning gone?
If I can get you to lay aside all the baggage I have just
conjured up in your mind at the mention of HIA, maybe we can open
our minds together in some areas typically taken for granted.
Why did we pay for the booth?
Be honest here. Is it because of all the wonderful objectives you
have for 2004/2005? Or is it the simply because this is the industry’s
largest show, your customers and competitors expect you to be there,
and you do not want to lose your show points (which give you
preference in booth position). I’ll let you make this
So what’s our purpose?
So many craft vendors never get beyond the "everyone who’s
anyone has gotta be there" syndrome. They simply start in
December to throw stuff on the booth walls – new stuff from that
year, and stuff for next year that they are working on.
Isn’t our purpose to market to those customers we do have, as
well as to those we wish to have? Take a step back and ask yourself:
"What would I do to prepare for a great "once in a
lifetime" sales call to a new, potential long-term
HIA brings buyers from all over the world. Remember, the best
orders are NOT those written at the show, but those that come in the
future, stemming from relationships cultivated at the show.
What is your purpose, and what are you bringing to the show in
the way of products, presentation, and people’s enthusiastic
attitudes to accomplish this purpose?
How important is your show preparation?
Be honest here again: Does your company "Go Army" when
preparing for a trade show? (Go Army – "Be All That You Can
Be.") Do your people really try to Go MAD in their efforts? (Go
MAD: "Make A Difference.") Or is it simply going through
The good news is, it's not too late! Right now the only thing
that is a given is the size of your booth and its location at the
show. Step back and determine how you and your crew can Go MAD at
this year's show. I'd encourage you, after careful consideration of
your purpose for this year's show, to think towards creating a theme
that encompasses ALL that you want to accomplish. The depth of which
your theme permeates your show booth is up to you. I feel the deeper
Colors, presentation, clothing worn by those working the booth,
etc. The ways in which you create your presence through your theme
I want to see a lot of companies striving to Go MAD this year!
See you at HIA!
(Note: To read Vinnie's previous columns, click on the
titles in the upper right-hand column.)