We know you don’t need to read another blog post about wearing comfortable shoes or staying hydrated at CEDIA 16. But the big industry trade show for the custom integration community is a mere few weeks away, and it is time to start preparing (if you haven’t already)!
Just as with designing and installing home technology systems, pre-planning goes a long way toward a successful project. In the case of CEDIA 16, September 13 – 17 in the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, that means more than just making sure you have enough business cards.
Follow our seven tips to make the most of your time on the trade show floor – and in the classrooms, meeting rooms, and surrounding neighborhood restaurants.
1. Determine your goals and objectives for the show. You wouldn’t start a big distributed audio project without asking the homeowner how they were hoping to use the system, would you? Attending a trade show without understanding your goals—both company-wide and for your personal brand—is like beginning an installation project without a scope-of-work.
Assess what training—if any—you and others in your company could benefit from, and decide who will attend. Schedule as many booth meetings as possible in advance, so you’re sure to get the attention you need and don’t have to waste time trying to catch your sales rep free. Use the CEDIA Digital Show Planner and the CEDIA app to keep all the information at your fingertips.
2. Divide-and-conquer. Just as your company sends an entire team to a big installation project, if you have more than one or two employees attending CEDIA 16, make sure to coordinate (not duplicate!) your efforts. Give everyone in your organization a list of specific booths to visit. Touch base at the end of the day. Compare notes, share insight, and decide if there is any new tech that everyone in your organization should witness first-hand.
3. Make the most of technology tools. In addition to downloading the digital show planner and CEDIA app, make a social media plan. Who will be responsible for tweeting and maintaining other social media platforms during the show, or will duties be split between people in your company? Even if you don’t plan to actively engage very often, browse the social networks to spot trends and identify buzz – in today’s connected world, you’ll often read the biggest news online before you hear it, physically, at the show.
Additionally, join the CEDIA online community before the show to find out what people are talking about and to help you plan accordingly.
4. Leave time to re-charge your batteries (literally and figuratively). All that tweeting and surfing and scoping things out, virtually, can wreak havoc on your smartphone battery. A portable battery, cable, and a wall charger can save the day. If you’re an Android-user, consider carrying an iPhone cable, and vice versa. Many friendships—and lasting business relationships— have begun with a just-in-time tech-loan.
Your electronics need the occasional break—and so do you. Of course, building and maintaining relationships are important, which means factoring some after-hours events into your schedule. But it’s all too tempting to stay out late when you’re with members of the AV community you only see once or twice a year. In general, party less and sleep more to make the most of CEDIA 16.
5. Lean on your reps. Your manufacturers’ reps are there to help you solidify relationships and increase sales. Make an appointment to walk the show floor with your reps, who can take you on an informative-yet-efficient tour of all the brands they carry.
6. Keep an open mind. Does your CEDIA plan look pretty much the same each year? In 2016, visit brands you don’t carry to keep up with industry trends and perhaps, find a solution you’ve been seeking. Plan time to tour Innovation Alley, where you may just stumble upon tomorrow’s best-selling tech.
7. And don’t forget to put The DaVinci Group (Booth #1300) on your schedule. You knew this was coming, didn’t you? We have some exciting announcements in the works, and we’d be remiss not to remind anyone reading this to drop by Booth #1300 to take a look. If you’re already a dealer, you’ll want to see the new possibilities in person. And if you’re not, we’d love to get to know you better and see if we might have the audio solutions you need.
Those Who Fail to Plan… Just like a home technology project, everything is not likely to go exactly as planned during a trade show. But having a plan in place can help you get back on track quickly and maximize your time at CEDIA 16 to help you achieve your goals in the months ahead.