After returning to Madison’s sub-zero temperatures from sunny Orlando, we’re ready to write about our FETC experiences and what they mean for marketers. The conference still draws snowbirds from northern states wanting to warm up and see what’s new in school technology.
We’ve attended FETC for 20+ years, and the 2016 edition was a step up in both organization and attendance. We had help navigating all the content and vendors from a very effective mobile app supplied by the conference organizers, which actually provided a better experience than the website.
From a marketing perspective, it was frustrating to see that some vendors were still building their FETC strategy around basic pandering techniques: large raffles, spin-the-wheel giveaways, and luring prospects with T-shirts and other freebies that mostly end up on the closet floor.
On the other hand, companies that had the best impact provided teachers with a hands-on product experience. We also saw good efforts to engage teachers and promote through social channels.
Some questions to ponder for your 2016 conference/trade show marketing strategy:
• How can you use digital strategy to convert initial interest to in-booth visits?
• What experiences and useful information are you sharing at the booth?
• What market and purchaser information are you learning at the show?
• How can you position your clients to tell your story to their peers at these events?
• Does your sales staff have their day booked with 1-1 prospect meetings?
We heard repeatedly from educators at FETC that peer and online reviews are the critical factor in making a purchase decision. So take some time to step back and consider: how effective is a spin-the-wheel marketing gimmick versus a smart digital strategy that will give you more sales bang for your conference buck?