With floor space for IFTD 2019 selling out in record time, you can be sure that attendee numbers are going to be the best we’ve ever seen. If you’re one of the 150+ exhibiting manufacturers or suppliers that will be occupying the show floor at the Denver Convention Center, October 16-18, there’s no better time than right now to start planning for a successful show.
With the move to Denver, and the move from July to October, you need to dial-in on your goals and the most streamlined way to achieve them. From the product you bring, to the people you need to meet with, to pre- and post-show logistics, AFFTA Board member and Director of Product for Umpqua Feather Merchants, Brent Bauer offers 6 basic best-practices to consider as you look ahead to Denver.
More is not necessarily better:Do not bring the kitchen sink to the show. Decide what key products, categories and marketing you’ll get behind for next season and make sure your booth and sales/marketing assets align.
Understand and plan for your audience:
Retailers – it is a retailer show first and foremost, so you’re going to want to show and promote your product in a way that dealers can understand. Be prepared to talk them through the product and also how to sell and merchandise. Reach out and schedule meetings in advance along with promotions and product info.
Media – IFTD is one of the few opportunities (maybe the only opportunity) where all major FF media convene in one place. Reach out and schedule meetings in advance. Make sure you have someone that is prepared to give quality presentations (video is most effective) on any given product brought to the show.
Guides/Outfitters – if possible, have staff on hand that can interface with these inquiries specifically, quickly and positively. Have a care-package available to hand out with follow-up details so they don’t impede staff’s core focus on retailers and media during show hours.
Donations/Support/Non-profits – same as Guides/Outfitters
Have contacts back at office available to resolve day-to-day inquiries that can’t be handled remotely.
Plan to turn every visitor into a brand fan.
Staffing schedule that includes rep meetings: This is critical – and more than just all hands on deck. Solid coverage makes the day, and your conversations, far more efficient and productive. Assign team members to individual retailers or roles and make sure you communicate with those on your schedule in advance to manage expectations.
Pre-show meeting: Go over giveaways, promotions, guidelines, staff schedule and rep support with your team. Being on the same page minimizes confusion and time wasted on having one or two people constantly answering questions.
Post-show protocol: Make sure there is some kind of protocol for follow-up to inquiries that can’t be handled at show – and make sure it is followed up on as quickly as possible. Do not let this fall through the cracks. It can be a deal-breaker.
Good logistics make life easier: You don’t want to be the ones running all over the show floor trying to chase down help in the 11th hour, trust me. Have a master contact sheet and check-list for logistics such as freight in- and out-bound, all things electrical, connectivity, and labor. Also, be in the know on who to know to get your booth crates FIFO.