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Post-Exhibition Review

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  • Indium Corporation
  • From this ...

    From this ...

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    ... to this, in hours.

    Well, APEX (our major North American PCB assembly exhibition) has come and (mostly) gone (we still need to follow-up on everything that happened). Here are my observations:

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    Not only did the show NOT turn out bad - for us it turned out great.   Here's why:

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    First of all, we prepared. But not as a B2B  Marcom team, as a company. Prior to the show, we held meetings with tech support, sales, marketing, and marcom staff, to discuss the possible scenarios, info from the field, and our possible paths forward. This show occurred during the largest economic crisis of my entire career - you BET we were taking it seriously. Our  ideas ranged from not exhibiting at all to exhibiting in some sort of cost-constrained manner. We ultimately decided to exhibit by spending about 25% of our normal investment. This really forced us to break paradigms, to do almost everything differently, and, ultimately, to learn a lot.

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    So, we had OUR plan, but what would the CUSTOMERS do? The global economic crisis had everyone wondering if this event would be OK, fair, or miserable. On day 1 of the show I asked the organizer, the IPC's Denny McGuirk, how attendee registration was. He said the numbers were down 25 to 30 per cent from 2008. Uggh! Further evidence that this might turn out to be a train wreck. But, it went down in an interesting way. All attendees had to clear two hurdles to get to the show:

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    1. they had to get the funding for the trip during an economic crisis.
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    3. they had to get approval to go to Vegas.
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    The result? Attendees turned out to be high-level, powerful, plugged-in key decision makers.   As a result, we actually pocketed MORE leads than last year - and they were very highly-qualified and serious. Our sales manager was almost giddy at the end of day 1!

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    We're now organizing the leads and following up - with smiles on our faces.

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    Some of our competition actually decided to NOT exhibit. Some brave vendors turned up with their usual (pre-meltdown) exhibits. Some equipment suppliers (VERY expensive to ship, install, set-up, maintain, etc.) had large footprints with little or no equipment on the floor. Bottom line, it was a mistake to not show up. Showing up "light" worked well.

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    This event also has a technical conference component. Indium had several people delivering tech papers and working in the technical conference area. Their reports reveal that the conferences were well-attended by enthusiastic, high-value  customers.

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    As usual, it boils down to what you make of the experience. We are carefully working through our leads, and will do our usual diligent follow-up. We aim to make the very most of our investment - and our potential. This step of the process is easily underplayed and undervalued. But it is this follow-up that separates the best in class from the rest.