Visit Your Users Where They’re At. Don’t Force Them to Go to Trade Shows.

Was reading up on the latest thoughts from the great Scobleizer.  In a recent post, he wrote:

Walking around Broadcom’s booth at CES also taught me a lesson. That the CES show is going back to its roots: interactions between tech companies and the buyers. That’s something that can only efficiently happen in a tradeshow: getting all those people to visit your company’s headquarters just won’t happen.

So, tradeshows won’t disappear.

If your a company and you want to build community with and have relationships with your users, a trade show is the LAST place you should look.

I just spent the last week at MacWorld and saw a lot of cool stuff but I can tell you that no one working booths was trying to have a relationship with me.  They didn’t want to have a conversation.  They were too busy dealing with all their booth visitors.  They wanted to get their talking points out, get their demo done, maybe sell a product, and move on to the next person.  It was all 90 second interactions.  It wasn’t anything real.

At MacWorld, I doubt very many of the people that were working the booths actually worked for the companies that they represented.   There were a few exhibitors that had OBVIOUSLY hired booth babes.

Instead of spending LOTS and LOTS of money on a booth, go visit your users where they’re at.   It’s the reason that Apple decided to pull out of MacWorld.  They have their retail stores.  There the company can get to know people individually.

I’ve been really impressed by Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress and founder of Automattic.  He travels around the world to WordCamp, the WordPress user conferences.

Every time gang at FreshBooks goes to a new city.  They hold a customer dinner and take their customers out to dinner.

This is how you build relationships… friendships… winning life long customers.

2 thoughts on “Visit Your Users Where They’re At. Don’t Force Them to Go to Trade Shows.”

  1. In most cases your potential customers and customers are on your website.

    The search engines killed the trade shows, as they have turned the Internet into a 24/7 trade show.
    Read about the decline of the trade shows:

    – 7 out of 10 B2b start with an Internet search.
    – Only 2 to 3 % of all your visitors will ever register online or contact you.

    This is a problem or an opportunity:
    Get a web service that reveals the companies visiting your website and their interest by the pages visited (+more data).
    This will allow you to qualify them as leads.

    Cold calling on “warm” companies will be more effective (interested companies).

  2. Justin,
    We are constantly hearing the phrase ‘the world is getting smaller’. Whilst it it often used to highlight the ease with which we are able to communicate with others the world over, it is undeniable becoming easier to travel; as you suggest, meeting the customer where they are.

    There is no excuse for failing to meet the customer on their terms. It needn’t necessarily be the CEO; someone with a passion for the product and the customer will suffice. This small gesture will invariably mean alot to the customer. This is how great relationships are built.

    And hey, why not use the technologies above to extend the conversation, so that you have a presence even when you can’t be there physically.


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