And now Infosec is done, and so I face the final curtain (er free pen).
But the big question has to be “did the vendors get a return on their investment?”
I hope they did and I’m sure the people on the day had a ball. Let’s do the maths.
- The cost of the space (£530 m/s2; shell scheme £140 /m2)
- £0 for some charities
- £5k for a small space
- £45k for a large space
- £60k for huge space
- The cost of the stand materials
- The cost of “entertainment”
- The cost of the booth babes/boys
- The cost of the giveaways
- The cost of opportunities lost
- The cost of people’s time
- The cost of your reputation when a keen buyer speaks to a junior geek who give a poor account of him/herself
That’s anything from £30K to £120K for a reasonable stand or probably about £5k for the budget approach.
Each company will make its own decision on whether to exhibit and how much to spend. I do wonder how the biggest booths justify the cost, but they do. I assume that the good-will generated and the demonstration of competence is a sufficient return and that some of the people who wander past will one day turn that memory into a sale or a strategic alliance.
The best way to get the best return must surely be for all the vendor’s staff to focus on the task at hand: promoting their product. I assume that the marketing strategy includes KPIs for the event and that the vendor is clear about what they want to achieve and why they are there. I saw some interesting behaviour. I personally get quite irritated when a post-teenage girl in micro skirt and pouty chest tries to engage me in conversation and then doesn’t know the first thing about the product. It’s a little cynical for the vendors to think that simply because I’m a bloke, I’m going to be impressed by a bit of flesh. It doesn’t do them any favours and it certainly isn’t the way to encourage women into IT. Some of the other interesting behaviours I saw included:
- Ignoring me as I walk past (er, I don’t mind real employees talking to me and I’ll be polite if I’m not interested)
- Not scanning my badge when I pick up the free pen (er, don’t you want the leads)
- Chatting to your colleagues (er, perhaps do that at the office … you are here to work?)
- Head down tapping out on the mobile (er, perhaps making a sale is more important?)
- Sitting down writing/reading/eating/filing your nails (er, perhaps if you want to do that you shouldn’t be on the stand)
- Telling me “I hate this, I’m just a geek” (er, thanks I’ll go away then)
- Having an events person (eg magician) not working (er, they are there to generate leads not chat up the booth babes)
- Not letting me have the promotional gift (er, I’ll remember that and I’ll make sure I never select your product)
Magicians are great for the Infosec show. That and children’s parties. But if you are going to have a magician, make sure that they have seen Marc Paul‘s excellent video on trade show performances. He explains how to make the trade show work: it’s not about the effects it’s about the people.
But before you do hire a magician, bear in mind that Marc says that one year he was replaced … by a lizard in a glass case. It’s just something to get the crowds, not to entertain them.