March Madness

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222303_509120800827_6203_n“March Madness” is a phrase that has been around over 75 years, generally associated with basketball. But my 5+ years in the trade show industry tells me that we may have to hijack the phrase.

Sure, I know the wild ride of the NCAA tournament. I experienced it first hand 10 years ago as a student when my team went to the Final Four. I also laid my most recent bracket hopes to rest this past Sunday night. There are even parallels between trade show and college basketball success; good coaching/organization, good players/booth staff, adapting quickly going town to town, important people watching, etc.

But right now my clients are in one of several places; coming off of a run of shows, getting ready to begin a run of shows, or in-between both just trying to catch their breath. It is evident in the rush orders, repairs and whirlwind in our warehouse of pallets and cases coming and going. Trying to maintain order and stay on top of things during March on the trade show calendar is pure madness.

To add to this, for the vast majority of you trade shows and events are only a piece of the pie as far as your responsibilities go. The missing deadlines and other minutia of exhibitor manuals costing hundreds of dollars are frustrating to everyone, especially those whose company org chart shows a marketing department of only you.

One way to hedge against this is to pass some of your responsibilities on to your exhibit house. The most draining pieces of the puzzle, like discerning show manuals, ordering services, managing timelines and coordinating freight can be done by a trusted partner. This gives you time to focus more on the marketing aspects of the show, both prior and during, or maybe something completely not trade show related.

If you have a lot of shows going on all at once, utilize an asset management program (ask me about ours) to plot out your shows and corresponding inventory. You can also give unique logins to different business units or coworkers so that they can manage their own specific shows/events.  Being able to organize and keep track of what is where and for how long can be a huge stress relief.

Even though in the thick of it it won’t feel like it, but the trade show season, just like the basketball tournament, is short lived. You want to maximize your success in this window before it quickly closes¬†and there isn’t another chance for awhile.

What is creating your March Madness? How can it be turned into the feeling of victory?