Yes. We have been talking about CeBIT non-stop for quite some time now. This will be the last time we will talk about it, for some time at least. We promise.
We reached Hannover on March 1st and straightway went to check out our booth. It was almost ready when we reached there, with powerful men and machine at work.
We played around with a number of things here and there to make our booth both usable and FusionCharts-ish. And finally when CeBIT opened at 9 am on March 2nd, we had a lovely booth to show to the world.
We were right opposite Google who decided to be at CeBIT at the 11th hour. They were getting their cars spray painted on Day 1 with very talented people from an art academy and were attracting a lot of people to the booth.
It was great to showcase oomfo for the first time, which clearly impressed everyone with the stunning animation and interactivity in seconds.
Boy, did the jaw drops when we said it is for free! Almost everyone wanted to know what our business model was and why we were spending so much money at CeBIT. We told them that FusionCharts takes cares of the bills and additionally we’ll have a pro version of oomfo later this year.
We met a lot of FusionCharts customers as well, most of them very happy and some of them not-so-happy. Well, they think that v4 has been coming for too long a time and we very much agree. But be rest assured, we are working hard on it and when it does come out later this year, it will be unlike any charting you have ever seen before.
All in all, great fun. We loved the energy in the place and the enormity of the event. Great to know so many people knew about us or liked what they saw. Thank you one and all for coming and making us feel so good about ourselves.
We took pictures of every bird flying and every limb moving. You can check them all out on our Facebook page.
We learnt a lot of things during the fair as well. So why not share them with you?
- Always reach the show a day before the event with 5-6 working hours in hand. There are always small changes here and there that are needed to make the booth perfectly suited for you. You don’t want them done when people are pouring into your booth.
- Have a plan for everything but build in a little flexibility too. We started the event with 4 columns (call them tills is you so want to), 1 table and 4 chairs. On the second day, we added another table and 2 brochure stands which helped us a lot to distribute the visitors coming in and attend to everyone.
- Utility box. A small box (or a big one depending on what is utility enough for you) with a pair of scissors, cello-tapes, staplers, pins, a small notepad and a couple of pens is ever so useful.
- Name badges. Yes you belong to a company and your company t-shirt says so. But at the end of the day, you are a person. People like talking to people, not companies. Have your name put clearly on a badge. Visitors see it and address you directly by name without the need for introductions. Saves time too. And who knows, if you are popular enough on the Internet, someone will recognize you from your name.
- Have a video screen. The people walking by might not be interested enough to join a demo on one of your computers. But they will see the video when they are passing through, and if they like it, they will surely come over. Since ours is a visual product, it worked very well for us. (We decided to have a video screen at the 11th hour and since we could not find a player of any sorts, we connected it to a phone and kept on replaying our 2 min 30 seconds video manually all day. We found a better alternative later though – we copied the video back to back to make it 2 hrs 30 mins long, and then replayed it manually)
- Love thy neighbors. Make friends with them. More often that not, they are wonderful people. If you are exhibiting in a land alien to you, then there is a lot about the place and mannerisms that you can learn from them. And you make great friends for life as well.
- Take photographs. Yes it is obvious but in the heat of a trade show, chances that your camera will just be idling at the back are very high. And when you come back, you will have nothing to show to your colleagues, nothing to cherish and more importantly, nothing to show on your blog and Facebook page. After you are done with your demo and your visitors seem happy, ask them if they mind a photograph. With smiles and all. Nobody minds but being polite here is good. And then after you come back, show the smiles and the happy visitors to the world. Smiles say so much more than words.
- Push. When pull doesn’t work, push. No matter how excellent your pre-event marketing is or how stunning your booth, you will have dry spells. Google, which was right in front of us, did. To make the most of these times, step out of the booth, interact with people passing by, hand out brochures, say interesting things (“Do you want to see something good?” is something we used) and get people to come to your booth.
- People want to see what other people are seeing. So if your booth is empty, probably you are not worth checking out. But if you have 3-4 people checking out your stuff (or even better, waiting) then you are hot property. Everyone wants to check you out. So get that initial lot of people in. Push them in if needed.
- Do not make assumptions. See a media person around covering a bigger booth? Reach out to him, tell him what you have to offer and how you are the best thing since sliced bread. The worst thing that can happen is he will say no. But what if he says yes? In our case, there were a lot of people coming to cover Google. We went up to them, told them about what we have to offer and got covered on German National TV. And a couple of other places too.
- Have a trade show checklist. Works wonders.
- Party. When it is all over, party hard. It takes a lot of effort to showcase yourself at a trade show. You deserve some serious fun after that.
So what do you think? Do you agree with us? Do you think we put up a good show?