Belle of the Ball or Lead Balloon? Read this Before Launching at a Show

You have big news coming up, like a major company or product launch. Should you tryanniversary-157248_1280 to make a splash at the next major show?

The answer depends on a number of factors.

The press swarm around the big tech events, and it seems you can’t escape the related din during show time. It was hard to get attention for clients in mobile and telecom who were not at Mobile World Congress a couple of weeks ago.

Last week, much attention turned to South by Southwest (SxSW). The NY Times recounted the history of companies that launched big there:

In 2007, Twitter had its “South by” moment, a tipping point for the company in which many people began to use the service more actively.

The same thing happened to Foursquare… In 2009, Dennis Crowley, a co-founder, flipped the switch on Foursquare days before the conference began; it became the breakout app of the conference and was valued at nearly $100 million a little more than a year later.

Whether it is SxSW or another show, it is tempting to think that your company can become the belle of the ball and reach a wider stage. But precious few do so – the same NY Times article mentioned several SxSW darling wannabes that either never got the big buzz, or did, but failed to live up to the hype.

So, why not ditch the Go Big or Go Home bravado, and ask the following questions before betting big on a trade show Hail Mary?

Can your news really stand out? A popular trade show is like a busy news day. It is usually difficult or impossible to know which news might compete with or eclipse yours.

This is why it’s important that you do everything you can to prepare for the show. Make sure you hire professionals to design you an eye-catching booth using impressive elements like modular walls (check out additional info). Ensure the person making the announcements is confident speaking in public. A short informative video can capture people’s attention as they pass by. Make use of other resources like those offered by Duplo International, which provides products that will allow you to print enough high-quality brochures and booklets about your product.

Twitter and FourSquare’s SxSW lofty debuts were not just about clever PR – they were perfect storms, the result of timing, momentum that had already been building, and great synergies with the event vibe and crowd.

Is it the right kind of news for the show? If you do have truly important news and it is a hallmark event for your space, it may still make sense to launch there. Key media and analysts typically attend, and watch closely for just this type of thing.

New product announcements can get attention at a show. Organizers often run award contests for products announced there.

Even if you don’t announce at a show, there are ways to get some PR mileage from the opportunity. It is great to be able to meet with the journalists and analysts who are attending, and take the time to introduce your company or share updates. You can also get a myriad of materials printed beforehand via MyCreativeShop or other print shops so they don’t have to write down your details.

You could also share news under embargo (meaning that the journalist agrees to not jump the gun) that will be announced at a later date.

Just remember that reporters usually prefer to cover-show related news. It is a PR feeding frenzy to get on their dance cards, and hard to spend quality time amidst the noise and chaos of a show.

If you are not investing in a booth or announcing at a show, set your expectations accordingly. However, if you are getting a booth for the show, make sure you market it well. For example, it might be worth contacting a printing Tucson company to print some banners for you. Marketing really is key when it comes to trade shows. Try and stand out from the crowd!

For more information about considerations in timing your tech news, see my post on the topic. Visit this page if you’d like to sign up for more information about how to maximize your tech PR launch.

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