Like we didn't know this already.
Don't bet on 2006, either.
One of the things I like most about reading blogs by Seth Godin, Anil Dash and others of their ilk is the author's ability to interpret an everyday occurance many of us wouldn't think twice about into something meaningful.
Take parsley for instance. Or the lack thereof.
Godin is right. If the parsley or other expected (and taken for granted) garnish is missing from your plate, you feel underserved and underappreciated. Or, as Godin puts it, "ripped off".
The cook didn't think enough of you to use a penny's worth of parsley to make your plate look less naked. Your plate looks cheap. And now everything on your plate tastes just a little bit less interesting.
When you go to look at which expenses to cut at your event, you need to figure out what's the parsley.
Just had to pass up an opportunity to spend a month in Trinidad & Tobago helping resorts with internet marketing.
&%^$# coffee store.
On the bright side, looks like I get to do another show launch, which is probably the most fun one can have in this industry And that'll help pay for the &%^$# coffee store until it generates positive cash.
But I'd rather be in Trinidad & Tobago.
Granted, it's a volunteer gig through Citizens Development Corp. So you just get a per diem to cover food and necessities along with an apartment which is a little above local norms. The work is interesting and because you're working alongside the same people every day for several weeks, you really get a sense of local culture and color.
Plus, once the gig is up, you're free to follow up with any prospects you cultivate and develop a profitable relationship.
I don't know if any of you would be interested in this, but if you are, go to the CDC site. There are opportunities all over the place. I enjoyed working with them in Sofia and would love to do so again someday.
This just came in off a newsfeed:
Great concept for a conference and the type of thing that an IIR-type organization could make serious money with.
But is it a valid show concept?
It's a very interesting question. A couple of weeks ago, Bob Bly was arguing the merits of targeting a high-energy drink to video game players. He didn't see it. But some of the marketers commenting on his post said, "Why not?" They argued that you could create a niche for just about anything.
What would be different about a retailer trade show focused on the Latin market as opposed to just the market in general? Same POS systems, same types of displays, same type of... well, everything.
Go visit a Guatemalan bodega in the Bronx and the basic store setup is no different than a Jewish deli on 53rd in Manhattan. It's what ON the shelves that makes the difference. Yes, displays are in a different language, but any signmaker can do Spanish or whatever language you need.
Other than research providers and ad agencies that focus on the Latin market, who would exhibit here who isn't already at the big National Retail Federation show? And what happens if/when NRF adds a Latin track to their conference?
It certainly seems VNU is creating a show out of thin air. If they succeed, this could open up all sorts of possibilities.
You might argue that you could've sold this space and made a couple of bucks, but ISPCON's homegrown banner drew my like a moth to flame.
Discounted Orioles Tickets
$130 Hotel Rooms
$25 Exhibit Hall Passes
That's great stuff. Brilliant way to get across value adds of interest that would take up more room on the homepage or be buried elsewhere.
I stopped over at ISPCON because I'd wanted to see what Jon Price was up to on his blog - I was going to add it to the previous post on David Gammel's event blog list. But when I saw the banner I knew this had to be a separate post.
And now I'm even more impressed on how Jon "gets it". He's now using excerpts from his Typepad blog right on his site. I have never seen that done before for an event. Very, very smart. He also has a different set of blogroll links on the web site than the blogroll on his actual blog (still following?) which features stuff like industry wikis and even marketing blogs in addition to the hardcore ISP tech info.
You don't need to understand technology to see that items Jon selects to report on both position him as an expert and add value to his exhibitor constitutents. And Jon really isn't a techie, he's just a show manager. But he really learned about his market and how to communicate with them.
We told y'all several months ago that Jon had rescued ISPCON from the abyss. And now he's got JupiterMedia and our pal Alan Meckler involved too. Full circle, since Alan used to own ISPCON before the sale to Penton.
Great banner. Great site. Great blog. One could only assume it's a great show. Well played Mr. Price.
More catching up - and I've missed so much good stuff the past month - David Gammel put together a brief list of association and event blogs that he's found.
It's a good place to start if you want to explore the potential benefits of using a blog for your show or organization. There are as many unique styles as there are authors. But most good ones share the same constants: openness, 'insider info' and personality (a.k.a. "voice").
And yes, I will still pimp your tradeshow. Thanks, David.
I was happy to learn Bob Bly started a blog a few months ago. I haven't had a moment to put him on the blogroll yet although I'm on his, for which I'm grateful.
If you're not familiar with Mr. Bly, he is about as methodical and meticulous a direct marketer can get. He's the reason my mantra is "if you can't measure it, it didn't happen."
Here is one example why: The most important thing you need to know about direct marketing.
The Pittsburgh CVB just hired a new communications director on Monday. Wasn't me, although I was interested (just in case).
I mention that in the context that Pittsburgh's doing OK for bookings when compared to similar cities. Like Cincinnati, which just laid off 1/3 of their employees.
From EXPO Magazine:
Part of the savings, $125,000, will be set aside to form an incentives fund the bureau can use to lure events to Cincinnati. The city has never set aside funds to cover perks such as free convention center rent or complimentary shuttle buses.
The rest of the funds will be used to create a separate tourism entity in cooperation with Northern Kentucky. They'll pool resources to pay for advertising and marketing that promote the region as a whole.
Can you really do much with $125,000? That's like tip money in Chicago ;-)
But the idea of getting together with Northern Kentucky sounds pretty smart. Northern Kentucky has some great marketing and considering it's Northern Kentucky (go ahead, name a town there other than Covington off the top of your head) they do a remarkable job of bringing in events.
Before it became known as the "Queen City" or "River City", Cincinnati used to be known as Porkopolis. With the CVB cutting to the bone, looks like that name is out for good.
For those of you not familiar with ITSS, they run a series of shows featuring building stone (flooring, countertops, etc.) which targeted the Marble Institute of America's StonExpo show.
Depending on who you talk to, the owners of ITSS were either incredulous that HW bought StonExpo instead of ITSS, or furious at StonExpo for not selling their show to ITSS.
As to the strategy of co-locating competitive events on top of existing events, here's what ITSS had to say in an interview last year:
Frances Heck, editor and publisher Stone Industry News:
What about StonExpo coming to Las Vegas the same days as your Las Vegas show?
Richard Caires, ITSS:
This gives StonExpo the dubious distinction of being one of the only trade shows in the entire trade show industry to do such a thing. It is simply not done and goes against the collective good management judgment of the industry. When I read their press releases about Las Vegas they sound like we don't exist and they are just coming to Vegas because it’s a good idea. It’s incredible but consistent with the string of decisions that has lead to their demise. Every exhibitor I speak with understands that this move on their part is detrimental to the industry and offers no value proposition at all. There is already a successful show in Las Vegas with ITSS - no one is going to change horses in midstream to jump to a different show that is just too risky.
Add your punchline here.
Last summer, everything was just peachy. The blog was gaining readers exponentially. Clients were happy. I had time to spend gardening and help write a book.
Then I got restless. Which, for me, turns into cocky very quickly.
As everything was going great, I had a what I thought was a GRAND idea. I would do something no other trade show consultant has ever done. I would work for a client, essentially for free (well, a small monthly stipend) with a backloaded deal that would set me up for much of this year.
When I was done, I would show the world the results. And every other consultant would be cursing my name because I had dared to call everyone out on the one thing nobody wanted to deal with: accountability.
To illustrate: On one of the events I'm working with, my client is paying another consultant about $30,000 just to market to a handful of international countries. Year-to-year registrations are currently down in those countries. But my client is still on the hook for $30,000. No accountability.
There's no reason anyone should settle for that.
My ego being what it is, I knew I was the guy to pull this off. In almost 20 years of marketing events, I had a 98% success rate of increasing attendance and revenue. And I knew what went wrong with the two percent that were losers.
What could possibly go wrong?
Let's see... my wife's coffee shop opens three months late, which pushes its opening to about the same time the show's marketing push has to begin. And I'm handling the marketing for that. And making lunch every day. Her business plan doesn't have room for a panini maker. Besides, I owe her a big one for allowing me the time and money for my last big idea to implode (the TSMI trade show portal) and covering for me during my spring in Bulgaria couple of years back. Which is why I was also doing nightly cleaning several times a week.
I can't say no. Really. It's not an option. So there's about four to five hours a day I no longer have.
Then, two different coordinators at another client leave in rapid succession. For most of the Fall and all of Winter, I'm on my own, doing not only what was contracted, but much of the admin work associated with it. The show must go on. Another hour-plus a day lost.
Naturally, my wife is working double shifts at the store to ensure everything is working according to plan. Which means I get the household bills, the errands, the dog, and dinner. Even less time for work.
Before you know it, other things are giving. Posting on the blog isn't generating revenue, so that's out the window. I postponed a podcast this week. And tax day is breathing down my neck.
An eight-to-ten hour day is now fourteen-to-sixteen. When something goes wrong, there isn't any give in my schedule to fit it in. Weekends? Pah.
I'm five weeks out from the event that was going to make my year. We're well ahead of last year - 47% increase in atttendance numbers and double digit increases in revenue. But that's only about half of what I'd expected. And I just don't have the time to really do what's necessary to get it to where I'm making out on the deal. I'll get a check in the end. The client will be happy. But it's not the check I wanted and the client won't be ecstatic beyond words.
To use a term Seth Godin employs often, I wanted to be the "remarkable" consultant. The guy who made accountability a prerequisite that all clients should demand.
Oh, I'm accountable all right. Just to the tune of a considerably smaller windfall than expected at a time when my wife gave up her six figure job and I'm the only income.
The only thing "remarkable" about that is that she's not making me sleep on the couch.