The other day I met with some friends who own a small business. And by small, I mean it is the two of them, a contract sales guy and their "1099" installation crew guys. In the landscaping business, they know they have to maximize what they do with their selling time.
And they take it seriously.
When I asked the question of "who are you targeting at the upcoming golf show?" they answered me with statistics. They had done an analysis of all of their sales in the first year by age of buyer, annual income, geographic location in the metro area, and cost of sale. They also segregated commercial customers from residential and could recount repeat customers.
Now, I realize this is basic stuff and academic to most of you out there. But I have in the past worked with and for Fortune 500 companies who could tell you less about their customers and who they were targeting at a given show.
So, armed with these data, they compared it to the demographics provided by the show organizer and set up a "profile" of who they want to reach at the show. Further, they reached into their data base and, combined with what the promoter is provided, are doing a targeted e-mail blast and direct-mail (postal) mailing. They will also track responses to these items when they collect leads in the booth and will do a post-show mailing and an analysis of the traffic. This will prepare them for next year's show.
Lesson Learned: even the smallest player can win big with the right data and approach.