Most talk of trade shows on the COW is related to NAB, CineExpo, IBC and the like - trade shows for our trade - media production tools and techniques. Attending these shows helps media professionals do their jobs better and offer their clients excellent services.
I am in a unique position at Cine-Med, in that I occasionally attend such an industry trade show. However I regularly attend trade shows in the industry in which Cine-Med does business - healthcare.
You see, we do work for clients in the medical industry. There is not better place to network with current and potential clients that at a trade show like the ones we attend. Think of it this way - if you shoot videos about race cars you may go to NAB to pick out a new camera, but you also should go to racing shows to find prospects for your services. Same concept with us.
We also have a number of product lines - DVD's, CD-ROM's and our ever-growing series of textbooks - all designed for sales to individual medical practitioners as well as to hospitals, medical libraries and residency programs. Again, representatives from these groups are in great supply at medical trade shows.
At the meeting we are attending next week in Washington DC we have a number of functions:
1. Traditional trade show booth.
This year we have reconfigured slightly to include an LCD monitor playing a promo loop, video store style DVD racks and our selection of books, including the debut of nearly half a dozen new titles.
As mentioned previously, our booth location serves as a meeting point for both pre-arranged and on the fly meetings with current customers, industry partners, new contacts and the regular stream of people checking out the exhibits.
3. Lead generation
Every name badge has a bar code that can be scanned. We can instantly print out a thermal paper slip with contact details, and we also get a thumb drive at the end of the meeting with the contacts. Of course you only get the lead if you have engaged someone in a conversation and they either purchase something, sign up for a catalog or ask to be added to your mailing list. We cannot just go around playing Lazer Tag with peoples' name badges!
4. Audiovisual support
While the meeting has its own A/V support vendor, we manage the surgical video library. Over the past few months we have received and formatted nearly 200 10-12 minute procedure videos which will be shown over 4 days of the meeting. We work closely with the audiovisual vendor to stay organized, format all videos appropriately and digitally transfer the appropriate files to each meeting room over the convention center network.
5. Preparing for future meetings
One good trade show deserves another. Most large meetings are planned years in advance. I can tell you the city and dates of at least two shows per year for the next 4 years. Makes it easy to arrange vacations and surprise parties!
Thus, we promote our own future courses and meetings, and make contacts with those we will interact with during the planning process.
Sometimes we take advantage of the gathering of minds to get other goals accomplished. We may schedule a meeting or dinner with a group of faculty for an upcoming project. In the past we have rented tv studios or hotel meeting rooms to do multicamera focus group video shoots. I have done some light video editing with a doctor either at a coffee shop or in my hotel room. Actually, a quiet hotel room in the middle of the day makes a decent voice over booth.
As a company, we attend 2-4 large shows each year, and individuals go to another dozen smaller meetings as well. Some of the smaller meetings double as distance learning continuing education courses. Some of these courses we administer and/or provide CME or Continuing Medical Education credits. In addition to a media production and publishing company, we are also meeting and event planners and we are accredited to sponsor courses for physicians, nurses and pharmacists.
Do not discount the value of attending a trade show for the industries in which you do business. If you have a plan and realistic goals it can be good for business.
Thanks for attending.