Trade Shows - A PR Manual

I’m aware that a number (some might say all) of my posts from here at the Web 2.0 expo in San Francisco have been a little grumpy. Part of that is my passion for playing devil’s advocate, part is the fact that I haven’t had a decent nights sleep since leaving New Zealand, and part is just the Silicon Valley over-stimulus. This post will sound a little negative – but hopefully it’s one of constructive criticism.

One of the features of this conference is an expo hall where a bunch of vendors hang around giving away badges, pens and t shirts in an effort to get some attention for their brands. It’s a typical trade show – only here they’re wikis instead of widgets and software instead of steak knives. As one of the blog partners for the event I was contact by a number of vendors and PR people to make times to meet vendors and hear their schtick.

I wanted to tell the tale of the best and the worst of these experiences. Both of them happened on the same day.

I was walking the corridors earlier today and someone, seeing my media tag, stopped me and asked what sort of media I was involved in. I explained my speciality and, rather than just carrying on and giving the pitch, the person I was talking to said that his offering probably wasn’t applicable to my sphere of interest, but that he hoped I’d have a nice day. I ended up taking his card – mainly because it’s nice to meet someone who doesn’t just steamroll the pitches – so this is a shout out with kudos to Zia from Sazze.

Now the less auspicious experience. A PR person (who is a lovely lady and with whom I have no beef) asked for times when I would be free to meet a couple of her companies. I studiously left a session early in order to make up midday appointment on the expo floor. – only to arrive and wait for ten minutes while the show staff tried to find the guy. I ended up just walking away – my time is limited here and I really didn’t want to wait in the hope he’d show up.

I’ll not publish the name of the company here – that would be cruel – but as a piece of advice to other trade show exhibitors – make sure that if you’re going to schedule appointments, that you’re all set to make them!

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).