Just last week, I had the pleasure of experiencing my first time working a trade show. Here at the beginning stages of my career in marketing and my time at The Sapling Company, I’ve been known to spend most of my time at headquarters in Huntingdon Valley, working behind the scenes to help achieve our goals as a company. This time, it was a little different. Not only was this my first time leaving headquarters and the Philadelphia area to work, it was also my first time out of the country. My first trade show was in Dubai for InfoComm Middle East and Africa.
Many will avoid working a trade show at all costs. Standing for eight hours straight will make your feet sore. Giving endless presentations about the product and answering non-stop questions from incoming traffic will make your head spin. However, I was impressed with these questions and very much enjoyed answering them. Many of the inquirers from systems integrators and IT managers from all over the Middle East and Africa were so topical, that I felt like they knew our product all along. At any rate, it was very enjoyable chatting with these folks about our wireless, wired and PoE clock products—the conversation was not a one-way street. And as for the sore feet, I went out and bought new shoes at The Dubai Mall after the first day.
A lot of the questions from the systems integrators (the professionals that install the display boards, smart boards, lighting systems, and many other components that go into a new project or institution) were focused towards the business side. For instance, they would ask, “what kind of tools can you provide to keep us ahead on the bidding process?” Needless to say, the systems integrators took well to our Configuration Station after showing them a quick demo. When the IT managers and administrators approached us, they were coming from a more technical background. They wanted to know how our networked PoE clocks can provide the time to other networked devices, and what kind of software we provide to control these PoE clocks. After a quick demonstration of the IP Monitor Software, or an explanation of how to synchronize entire networks with our NTP server options, contact info was exchanged and both parties were inspired to do business.
After thirteen hour flights back and forth and working one of the longest spanning trade shows known to the industry, getting back to headquarters in Huntingdon Valley gave me a sigh of relief. However, the experience at InfoComm MEA was inspiring and, in six long days of standing at our booth, provided me knowledge and information that I couldn’t retain anywhere else. Speaking with so many different business men and women from many different cultures and parts of the world was rewarding as well as enlightening. Additionally, having the chance to talk to our business partners about our networked PoE clocks, or about our Configuration Station in person instead of the one-way communication of blogs or creating marketing material that I’m used to was a nice for a change. From this first-time trade show experience, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to work another in the future.