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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

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Don't worry, I don't play golf, tennis or baseball, so there is no sports metaphor in this title.

As described over the past few entries, we have spent the past few weeks in final preparations for our big medical convention of the year. With that finished, it is time to get back to the essentials (in no particular order - or if I had to say, in reverse order!):

Shooting
Editing
Project Management
New Business Development

You see, my job is multi-faceted - like many of the folks visiting the COW.

Shooting

Tomorrow I am off to the Big Apple - early train, rare surgery in the AM and some video review/editing/collaboration on another project later in the day. I enjoy going to New York for work - by car a bit less than by train - and even more so for fun. I could walk around NY for days on end taking photos of buildings. It's like a variety of architectural styles have been mixed together in a giant food processor and piled up on an island.

Never missing an opportunity to use my photo collection in this blog, here are some shots from a recent trip:

























Ok, that was a lot of pictures - and a lot of walking.

Later this month it is off to Denver for the 4th time this year to add to our bestselling lineup of nursing videos.

Editing

Video editing is a daily activity, and can include a variety of tasks - actual editing of picture or sound (rough cuts, final finishing), media encoding for different client needs (web, iTouch, iPad, DVD), DVD authoring (yeah, it's not video editing, but it is on the same computer and part of the workflow to finish a project), and basic housekeeping, file management, even brainstorming.

On projects that I also manage, I may delegate editing to myself or a colleague.

Project Management

Basically, I manage the progress, communication, budget and work assignments for all multimedia projects including videos, interactive, websites, the occasional book or brochure and new project planning. Want to know more? Read the previous 122 blog entries!

I have acquired a few new projects from last week's convention. And I am in the throes of helping to organize a surgical conference coming up in December. Audiovisual and video conferencing vendors need to be locked down, and 14 hospitals around the world will be streaming live surgery to us all on one day.

New Business Development


My other hat is in new business. At meetings and trade shows I try to make some new contacts, follow up with existing clients, and meet with doctors who we may want to work with in the future. I have a few video products in early stages of planning, and am always on the lookout for new opportunities. Sharing these ideas with co-workers is a great way to exchange information and take advantage of contacts that others in our org have developed. At our regular sales meetings this exchange of information is essential. After all, teamwork makes a company thrive.

Odds and Ends


Some job tasks fall into a catch-all category. Reviewing catalogs or helping to quality check some book proofs, devising a new setup for our exhibit booth and/or minor carpentry, photo retouching, stills photography during a video shoot - these are all duties that do not define a job description but are essential duties nonetheless.

It's good to be done with the marathon. It's now time for a power walk to the next finish line.

Thanks for reading

Mike Cohen


Posted by: Mike Cohen on Oct 11, 2010 at 5:50:11 pmComments (1)



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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