Making the Most of the Conference
It’s that time of year again—when more than 4,000 higher education IT professionals convene at the industry’s premier conference event: EDUCAUSE 2014. We want you to get the utmost ROI from the conference—maximizing your time, talents and dollars. To help you do just that, we’ve compiled what you need to know before you go.
What attendees want when they visit your booth
We’re in constant communication with our members and always seek to satisfy their needs at our events, too. We hear the following comments over and over again. Our attendees want you to:
- Articulate the value of your product/service to their institution—what it will do for them vs. just how it works.
- Include a thought leader or research developer as part of your exhibit team.
- Conduct short demonstrations.
- Hang easy-to-read signage that clearly states your value proposition.
- Stay clear of using buzz words; attendees want information, not marketing hyperbole.
Before the conference—Start NOW:
- View the slides and watch the recording of the "Making the Most of the Conference" webinar on what our attendees look for in the exhibit hall.
- Utilize your staff's e-mail signature to announce your participation, i.e., "Visit us at EDUCAUSE 2014, Booth # ___, West Hall A3-4."
- Add a snippet to your print and digital advertising that announces your participation at the conference. Be sure to include the event name, dates, product or service announcement teases, and your booth number.
- Include the EDUCAUSE conference logo on your site and highlight what's new and exciting. If you plan on doing any type of demonstration, be sure to post the schedule, too.
- Take time for personal, one-to-one outreach. Let your customers and prospects know that you'll be in Orlando and lock in meeting times as soon as possible.
- Take advantage of up to 10 free exhibit hall passes for local clients who may not be attending EDUCAUSE 2014.
- Use your social media outlets to promote participation.
- Create a direct mail piece and send to attendees through EDUCAUSE (while many attendees opt out, you can reach nearly 1,000 registrants using direct marketing).
- Identify the primary product or service that will be showcased, and make sure your booth, materials, and elevator pitches convey a clear and consistent message.
- Remember that your booth is a billboard, not a bulletin board. One large image is far more powerful than multiple smaller ones.
- Create an open booth layout. Colors, movement, interactive technologies, and people are welcoming to visitors.
- Prepare your staff before going on site to define goals, objectives, and exactly what will constitute a successful event.
- Take advantage of all the conference has to offer by reviewing the EDUCAUSE website for opportunities, activities, and exhibit hall hours.
- Staff your booth with a mix of talents from sales to engineering. Make sure you have a resident expert on hand to answer technical questions.
- Show hours can be long. Staff accordingly and provide breaks. Don't overstaff—an overstaffed booth can be intimidating to prospective buyers.
- Take advantage of on-site preconference sessions with CIOs and research executives.
- Use your lead retrieval machine(s) to collect valuable leads on site, and program it with qualifying questions for accurate follow up.
- Require that booth staff make detailed notes about prospects' needs and applications.
- Giveaway items should be designed in conjunction with your preconference marketing efforts and to match booth look, feel, and overall messaging.
- Bring your new product announcements and media releases to the conference press room to share with attending press representatives.
- Follow up! Make sure your prospects have a note in their inbox within two days of the conference. If you don't, your competitors will.
- Add leads to your social network.
- Track leads all the way to the sale.
- Complete an exhibitor evaluation and be entered to win a free conference registration for next year. Let us know what went well, what can be improved, and what we might change. Evaluations are available online and in the Exhibitor Lounge. If you don't have a chance to complete one while at the event, you will be e-mailed a survey link after the conference.
If you have comments or tips you would like to add here, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We wish you the best of success at EDUCAUSE 2014 and thank you for participating. See you in Orlando!