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Exhibitor Mistakes at RFID Journal LIVE!

Some vendors missed opportunities to win new business, because they didn't execute on basic sales and marketing tasks.
Posted By Mark Roberti, 05.06.2013

Last week, at our RFID Journal LIVE! 2013 conference and exhibition, I had an interesting conversation with a gentleman from a company that sells maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) materials to factories. He had signed up for our speed-networking service—a one-hour session in which we match an attendee with six or eight exhibitors likely to offer a radio frequency identification solution that could help solve that person's business problems. Afterward, the guest can then continue the conversation with those providers who seemed to provide what he or she wanted.

This gentleman was matched with several exhibitors. One exhibitor, however, did not show up for the meeting. Basically, the company stood up a potential customer. "I went by the booth, and they seemed to have something that would work for our needs," he said. "But since they stood me up, I didn't want to use them."

My guess is the exhibitor was engaged with potential customers and didn't want to leave to attend the speed-networking session. But if you don't have the resources to attend a separate activity, then don't sign up for it.

This gentleman also said to me, "As you walk around the hall and look at the booths, it is often very difficult to tell what companies do."

I have been saying this to exhibitors for a while. Show your products on your booth signage or in your booth. InfoChip had two banners with photographs of metal hooks and tools with embedded RFID transponders. I told the company I loved its booth, because people could walk by and immediately get a sense that they were offering tracking solutions for industrial equipment.

Keonn Technologies had the back wall of its booth lined with a wide variety of multiplexers—devices used to hook up multiple antennas to a reader—and every time I went by, I saw three or four people in there, checking them out.

Some exhibitors don't advertise before the event, and don't use graphics at their booth to show people what they do, yet they expect end users to stream in. Why would an end user stop at a booth if he or she can't tell what's being offered?

RFID Journal tried to do for exhibitors what some don't do on their own: We created a product showcase containing large images of some of the items being exhibited, along with a short description and booth number for each product. Some exhibitors didn't bother to respond to our request for a photograph, even though this was offered for free. Some even said they didn't have a high-resolution photo of their product (I'm not making this up).

I can tell you the showcase was a huge success. Throughout the three days of the event, there were always people walking around looking at the various products and taking notes. I even saw guests photographing specific products. And I think it helped get attendees into the booths of some vendors that have not effectively communicated what they sell.

There is, of course, only so much that RFID Journal can do. We can bring the end users to our events, and we can try to help those end users find the vendors offering the products they seek. But ultimately, it is up to the exhibitors to attract people to their booths and make an effective sales pitch. As the industry grows, those that are better at this will achieve more business, while those that aren't will have a tough time.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.

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