Thursday, October 1, 2009

GrowSmartBiz Conference: Take 2 -- The Expert Answer Booth

So the brains behind the GrowSmartBiz conference did something very interesting during the conference. They created an Expert Answer Booth and recruited people from all walks of life -- PR, social media, finance, legal, etc. -- to staff the booth. Yours truly was one of the experts they recruited. (Looking back on it, I feel a little like Lucy from the Peanuts...)

The concept was that any of the attendees could get free advice from a pool of talented professionals. What a cool concept! And what a value add for attendees.

Truth be told, the booth didn't work as well as it could have -- great staffing, but poor use of the talent by attendees -- and there are a number of reasons way. Maybe it was lack of advertising to the attendees... Were there signs at check-in promoting our services? (Truthfully, I didn't see any. And I asked one of the people where the booth was when I checked in, but she didn't know.) Did the emcee mention us during his various moments at the podium? (Not while I was in the room, but I was also staffing the booth for some of the time, so perhaps he mentioned us when I wasn't there.) Maybe we should have been part of the program -- before each session, we could have come up on stage and answered a question in front of the whole group. But that doesn't change the fact that the concept is great.

I suspect there are things conference organizers will do differently next time to promote our services. OK, I'm sure there are things they'll do differently. That's the kind of team we're dealing with.

But the point of this post isn't to talk about what was done wrong... but rather, what was done RIGHT. And the idea of this booth had "RIGHT" written all over it. What a great value add to attendees... if they take advantage of it.

My point here? Next time you're planning a conference, think about implementing your own Expert Answer Booth. And thank the brains at NetSol for coming up with that great idea.


marketing misfit said...

ms. ferrier, once again you bestow us with your infinite and bountiful wisdom :) you are right, we were not utilized, milked, taken advantage of and so on but the idea of the booth was a good one and i suppose that the organizers may build upon, leveraging from lessons learned like you've shared here, for the next go 'round. as always, btw, lovely to see you!

Raj Malik said...

I agree, I wish we had more people that took advantage of us!!!! Brian, one of our other experts in the booth suggests next time we should have time slots that are provided when an attendee signs up for the conference. Those time slots can be on the online registration form. I believe Forrester Research does something like that regarding time slots with analysts. Either way, thanks so much for participating. Good seeing you there and many thanks for the post and feedback!!!