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First Trade Show – Lessons Learned | MD Photographers

Susie and I exhibited yesterday at The Power Conference, held at the Bethesda Marriott on Martinelli Road. When we signed up for the show we decided to work as hard as we could, but to accept at the outset that some of our decisions would be mistakes and to just learn from them. There will be many more lessons as we follow up with new contacts in the coming weeks.  But, here’s the first five lessons we learned AND the results of our $25 Starbucks gift card giveaway :-)

So here’s our basic setup – pretty cute, I thought. Susie’s gorgeous gallery wrap got a great response!

Power Conference Bethesda Marriott (1)

Lesson #1: Order and bring more prints, albums, and wraps than you can actually use. You just DON’T KNOW what’s going to look right in the space until you arrive and see what surrounds you on all sides. Also, you don’t know what’s going to arrive in time from your labs and what’s not going to :-)

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This adorable little brag book was totally the star of the show!!!!! Lesson #2: Bring eye-catching, new, unique products. Pretty pictures can be found in a lot of places, people are blown away by different!

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We spent a lot of time conceiving of, shopping for, and assembling these little gift bags. We learned lots and lots of graphic design lessons – darker fonts! larger fonts! less text! – and the coming weeks will yield more lessons as we see if the bags do or do not bring new contacts. But, there was one thing for sure that we learned yesterday. Our booth, through no one’s fault, was in an out-of-the way, difficult-to-find spot. I arrived several hours after Susie set up, and even though I knew what I was looking for, it took me 10 or 15 minutes to find her. Yikes. So…

Lesson #4: WORK IT. We didn’t put all kinds of time and money into a confernce to bring home 450 of the 500 bags we made. Nope, we decided to work it. We walked right out into the flow of traffic, stuck our bag in the hands of a passer-by and said, “Hi! We do wedding and portrait photography. Here’s some of our work!” And guess what? 9 times out of 10, people would take the bag and smile. 5 times out of 10, people actually turned their attention to our booth and engaged in conversation with us.

Power Conference Bethesda Marriott

And, finally, there was there’s the all important business card exchange. Lesson #5 – Reeses are way more popular than Hershey’s kisses!! We’ll always have those next to our cards and our card collection basket! We decided to offer a $25 Starbucks gift card drawing for anyone who left their card with us.

And now…. for the Starbucks gift card winner….. 

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drumroll….

Power Conference Bethesda Marriott 5

Jennifer Tito with Mary Kay!!  Congrats Jennifer!  If you’re looking for a Mary Kay lady, Jennifer said you can contact her at jentito@gmail.com or (240) 644-4217 or www.marykay.com/jmartin30.  Thanks to everyone who entered! 

Anyone out there with any trade show tips?   Pass them on!!!

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Marcella Treybig - September 8, 2011 - 10:59 am

Thats great to hear!!! excited to see the response :) sounds like a HIT!