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Conventions - The Rest of the Story

COW Blogs : Mike Cohen's Blog : Conventions - The Rest of the Story
This is a follow up to:
http://blogs.creativecow.net/blog/3554/sales-marketing-networking-and-audio...

What goes into a convention visit:


The first day is travel and setup - usually from sunup to sundown on a Sunday.



Feet on the ground, get bags, get cab, get moving...

The Display Booth

We have had numerous display booths / exhibits over the years. This year we decided to try a new configuration, with an emphasis on product display and maximizing space. Five of us working 8 hours a day in a 10'x20' space requires coordination and planning.

First we sat down and discussed our needs. Then I did a sketch on notebook paper.

Followed by a Photoshop composition:


Some light carpentry to fill in some of the missing pieces, and voila:


Next time we will get the LCD monitor mounted to the center column, add a laptop shelf and add some shelving under the display counters. To reuse one of my favorite 80's catch phrases, "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Advertising

Brochures

One of the goals of displaying at a convention is to give attendees who visit your booth something to take with them. We made brochures for books, videos, services and other meetings/courses. When we make a brochure, whether it is a single folded sheet, a multi-fold or a saddle stitch, we include an address / postage panel that can turn it into a self-mailer. New postal rules require an envelope if something is saddle stitched but not a magazine or catalog, so we are doing a lot of multi-folds.

Posters


The columns of the display have a surface that sticks to Velcro. We make 20x30" posters for new products or events we are promoting, and stick these to the wall.

Video Loop


This is the first year we have used a large LCD monitor as part of the booth. I created a 4 minute loop of new products, services and events, edited asn HD Premiere sequence, exported as Blu-Ray h.264 and authored in Adobe Encore. Compiling the Encore Blu-Ray project to an ISO allowed me to burn a Blu-Ray project to a DVD-R. Our Sony Blu-Ray player interprets the DVD-R as a Blu-Ray disc and it looked beautiful, and attracted some additional attention.

We only get 1-2 seconds to attract the attention of someone walking by.

Shuttle Bus Promo




Most conventions taking place at convention centers utilize a system of shuttle buses, to transport attendees from hotels to meeting and back, around the clock from dawn to dusk. At some meetings there is a video loop that plays on the bus. For one new product we created a 30 sec spot, which ran about once per 15 minute trip of the bus.

Conventions - The Rest of the Story - Support Video




Shipping

The booth necessarily breaks down into crates and pallets, shipped via common carrier freight. At the end of the event, breaking things down takes a lot less time than setting up.



Then we wait for the empties to be delivered, pack up, shrink wrap, and head to the airport.



Once the days wrap up, usually around 5 or 6pm, it is back to the hotel. Once I got my bearings in DC, which is a series of grids and wheels with spokes (thank goodness for google maps on a smart phone), I found it pretty easy walking between locations. Most nights it is straight to dinner (skipping lunch, while not recommended, seems to happen). Having been to many major cities around the country for conventions, I have learned a few important things:

1. If you are really hungry, eat near the hotel.
2. If you are eating late, keep alcohol and dessert to a minimum.
3. If the hotel has a restaurant, check it out. It can save cab fare and/or exploring a strange city at night, and you need to save your strength.
4. Likewise, if the hotel serves breakfast, check out the prices. $14.99 for a burger at night seems like a better value than $14.99 for a bowl of fruit with yogurt or $4.50 for an english muffin. "Highway Robbery" my grandpa used to say. In these cases, finding a nearby coffee chain is in order. Also, for whatever reason, hotels with sit down breakfast service seem to take a really long time to serve you.

Walking Around

When I come home from such a meeting, people always ask "Wow, Chicago. Did you go to any museums?" or "Wow, Washington, did you go to the Air and Space Museum?" or "Wow, LA, did you see any movie stars?"

The response is usually, "No, I was WORKING." It is common to see nothing but the hotel and the convention center.

But once in a while we have time to walk around and see some sites.




This time in Washington we went down to the White House area, walked around, saw the Obama vegetable garden and the motorcade returning to home base. They parked out back waiting for the Prez to go to his next function. No sign of Bo, the first dog, so we returned to the general vicinity of the hotel for dinner.

Other "Walking around" highlights from past convention cities have included:

San Francisco - seeing the Blue Angels perform over San Francisco Bay
Denver - Visiting the Colorado State house
Chicago - going up in the Sears Tower (or whatever it is called - it was still the world's tallest building at the time)
Dallas - Visiting the 6th Floor Museum and walking on the infamous Grassy Knoll
Philadelphia - The Liberty Bell

In summary, it is back to work on day to day projects, and planning for future meetings, shoots and long term goals.

Thanks for reading.

Mike Cohen


Posted by: Mike Cohen on Oct 16, 2010 at 2:01:13 pmComments (2) marketing, sales

Comments

Re: Conventions - The Rest of the Story
by Mike Cohen
Lately I have been taking not just a granola bar or two but a whole box of them. On this trip, when we were all standing around during setup, stomachs growling, I produced a box of chewy caramel bars fro my suitcase and got smiles all around.
Usually the first stop in a city is a CVS or Walgreens for a 6 pack of H2O for the room. My backpack has two bottle holders and I use them.

Medical Education / Multimedia Producer
Re: Conventions - The Rest of the Story
by Mark Stuart
Thanks for sharing your adventures, Mike! It's my policy to "not fast for the place", so I pack a lunch whenever my food intake is in danger. When I was shooting one of the senior homes recently, I literally was zooming out of an exterior of a building with the camera in one hand (with tripod), and eating a sandwich from the other. I also had the sandwich hand in a cast. Whatever it takes... ;-)

Hope you're well!

Mark

Art is completely subjective. It's up to the viewer to judge whether or not it has merit. -Ken Danby


I have a passion for my job, which entails training for medical professionals such as surgeons, nurses and administrators, not to mention various industries.

Technology is great, but how you apply your skills is what pays the bills.

Years ago I canceled my Media 100 support contract upon discovering what a treasure trove of helpful advice can be found on the Creative COW website. I am proud to be a part of this fantastic community.

In my blog I talk a little about media production, a lot about travel and workflow, and occasionally about cooking, nature and my four-legged friends.

Follow me on Twitter: med_ed_mike

I'm also on LinkedIn if you can't get enough of me!




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