Monday, December 29, 2008

Mapping out the coming year

OK, it's slow and it seems there is nothing to do. Well, quite the contrary, get out the calendar and let's do some planning.

Each trade show program and calendar are unique, but many milestones are common. When is your keystone show? That is, what are the two or three large shows that anchor your calendar and help you shape your planning and revenue (and sales)? Let's try a few examples:

If you are in retail technology, you probably start the year at NRF (National Retail Federation) at the Javits Center in January. Fact is, if you are headed to this show, you better be ready, since it opens on January 11. FMI-Marketechnics is probably next in up May (this year in Dallas). The rest of the year is probably populated with medium-sized and smaller shows where you reach out more vertical segments of your market. Kind of a front-loaded year.

Healthcare technology probably is centered on HIMSS in February and AHIMA in October. Many smaller vertical shows fit in in March and the fall season to round out the slate.

Aviation and defense suppliers are at the Navy League (April), AUSA (October) and international air shows (Paris this year in June, Dubai in the fall and Australia in March).

Technology and data storage types rely on SNW Spring (April) and Fall (October) with Brainshare (March) and Oracle Open World (September) as pegs on the board. Add in the Microsoft TechEd series and the plan starts to flow.

Security providers and suppliers use the March Vegas-based ISC-West and September's ASIS (American Society of Industrial Security) as landmarks of horizontal business and fill in with ISC-East (August) and CardTech-SecureTech in between (along with regional ASIS' events).

So, look over your year and plot--your exhibit partners will appreciate the foresite and the projection. July and August are slow for them and for conferences and trade shows in general. Don't forget to plan a vaction for yourself and training, too (Exhibitor's show in Vegas in March and TS2 in the summer).

Lesson Learned: plan your work and work your plan. Make time your friend.


No comments: