The Vendor's Guide to Trade Shows ... From a Retailer
I'm at the Shop.org Annual Summit in Seattle and having a great time catching up with old friends and colleagues, meeting new contacts, and learning about new digital marketing strategies and technologies.
Also, as usual, as I walk through the exhibit hall I'm being greeted by smiling vendors, eager to share with me information about their latest and greatest shiny new objects. For the most part, I actually enjoy talking with vendors and learning about their wares.
But I have noticed many folks — retailers, probably — with their badges turned the other way or tucked into their jackets, and I know why: they don’t want to be singled out and aggressively sold to by vendors.
I know the feeling. At one retail conference a few years back, the company division which Retail Online Integration is part of, the Target Marketing Group, was the name that ended up on my show badge, below my name. The word "Target” occupied a large portion of the badge, so therefore I was the most popular person at the ball. Salespeople were smiling at me, running after me, asking me all sorts of friendly questions … until they realized they weren't talking to someone from Target, the retail superstore, but Target Marketing Group, the media brand. So much for being popular!
But hey, I understand the plight of vendors. They pay a lot of money to exhibit at these shows, and without them, there would be no networking, no great content, no business in general. They should be able to “sell” as much as they want and how they want. In addition, I empathize with them. I’m sure it’s really hard to summon up the courage to go up to someone and make their pitches cold. And, let's face it, no merchant would be doing good business without good vendors.