If you’re one of the 150 exhibiting manufacturers or suppliers that will be occupying the show floor for this year’s IFTD at the Denver Convention Center, October 16-18, you know that it’s going to be wall-to-wall busy for those three days. While the show has sold out in the past, 2019 is going to be the single largest show in the history of the event.
With the move to Denver, and the move from July to October, comes a shift in show-mindset as well. It’s important to recognize that business relationships and collaboration are the primary benefit of IFTD. Showing product (new and in-line) is secondary. To help you get the most out of your time with attendees, AFFTA Board member and VP of Marketing for Far Bank (Sage, RIO, Redington & Fly Water Travel), Tag Kleiner, offers 6 basic best-practices to consider as you look ahead to Denver.
1. Know the membership groups that will be attending the show: You can count on dealers, media, outfitters/lodges, and guides to be out in force. Be prepared with materials and programs for each group (as appropriate for your business) and identify your internal contact(s) for each group.
2. Have materials prepped and ready: Workbooks, sell-sheets, sales programs, press kits—whether digital or print (preferably digital), make sure everyone you meet with leaves with all the intel they need to take action on next steps.
3. Biz meeting balance: Time is your limiting factor during IFTD. If you can, try to get at least 60 minutes with your accounts. For the sake of productivity, a good target to shoot for is about 15 minutes on a recap of the previous year and 40 minutes on current and upcoming year opportunities…try to limit the BS-ing to 5 minutes. If applicable, cover marketing plans, in-store opportunities, promo windows and special events. Again, productivity is key, so communicate the agenda and send Q&A prior to show so everyone can come to the meeting prepared and ready to use limited time wisely. AFFTA launched a new interactive online floor plan tool to help you connect with retailers, schedule meetings and get the most out of IFTD.
4. Key stories & merchandising: You might have the next Best-of-Show hitting the market next season, but retailers still need to sell it successfully. Be prepared to explain not just how product should be merchandised/messaged, but more importantly why.
5. Identify your “talking heads”: Dealer meetings are definitely the priority, but media coverage is a big part of IFTD as well. Writers, videographers, podcasts, photographers—make sure you schedule time with the media in advance of the show like you would with your dealers. Getting the word out about products or programs through our media partners raises consumer awareness, which helps you and the retailers you rely on.
6. Booth experience: While you may have a full dance card when it comes to meetings, your booth is still an important point of contact for hundreds (or more) walking the show floor. If you think of your booth as an experience for attendees, rather than just a backdrop and product on display, you’ll generate more traffic and interest. Consider things like props, A/V, product testing, product comparisons and live events to create an interactive and inviting space. Also, make sure you staff appropriately to cover the additional engagement.
Remember, the key Dealer take away from the show (outside of a great 2020 business plan coordinated with you as a manufacturer) is what you are doing that’s different, what’s the same, and the reasons for both (particularly the former). Clearly communicate changes within your organization to your dealers – product cycles, staffing, sales/marketing efforts, and so on. Your dealers should hear this information directly from you, not just your sales representatives.