One of the most important parts of launching a new product or service is getting in front of your target audience. Conferences, conventions, and expos are great ways to promote your brand and do some networking within your industry. With cannabis being such a hot new frontier there are many high-quality (no pun intended) events that attract all types of people, from investors to customers to potential partners. An example of one such event was the recent Lift Cannabis Expo in Vancouver. The Lift Expo was attended by thousands of cannabis supportive and curious Canadians plus quite a few people from other countries. 

There were over one hundred exhibitors ranging from large scale Licensed Producers and huge brands like Crop King Seeds to small start-ups looking to innovate in the space to small mom and pop style brands. There are similar events planned for Calgary (HEMPFEST) and still more conferences aimed at the investment community and medical community, so it’s just a matter of determining which events are right for you and your brand. 

Now That You’re Going To Be An Exhibitor

Now that you’ve picked a conference or expo the fun stuff really gets going. You get to design (and maybe even build) a booth, find swag to attract visitors to your booth, come up with an event offer to get people engaged. There is signage and marketing collateral to design, print and ship to the conference venue. The run up to a conference is often chaotic and filled with last minute emails, desperate runs to printers, and adjustments to travel plans. Once you’re there and your booth is ready you get to kick back and relax…. Just kidding - No you don’t! 

The Real Work Begins

Once at the event you’ll be manning your booth, chatting to prospects, trying to entice people into your space to learn about your product or service and collecting emails or business cards. You’ll be dying for a pee, starving half to death and worried about your breath all at once. There's nothing like the energy at a conference. As we’ve all been there and done that many many times, we’d like for you to benefit from all the many, many mistakes we’ve made at large events over the years. The following is your very own Conference Survival Kit. It lists everything you need to have on hand to have a successful and gratifying experience. 

The Conference Survival List

Let’s start with booth elements, these include not just your signage but the additional items you’ll want to have on hand throughout the conference. 

Booth Needs

  • Banner. At least one, either grommeted vinyl to hang or a roll-up style.
  • A way to collect emails, whether it’s a piece of paper or an excel spreadsheet it does not matter - just get those emails. 
  • Prospect form (optional but great if you’re going o be meeting potential buyers that you need to connect with after the event. Use this form to write down any personal information, things you discuss, their buying cycle, what they liked about your offering and of course the prospect’s contact info.
  • Pens, several. They tend to disappear.
  • 2 x Sharpie Marker
  • Notebook for writing notes to yourself
  • Clipboard. If you ask people to write anything down (email, fill in this form, survey) you need to give them a surface to write on.
  • Handouts. These could be as simple as your business card or splash out a bit and get some brochures made, maybe an 8x11 one pager explaining your product or service.
  • Swag, because everyone loves swag. 
  • Paper clips and/or stapler
  • At least one chair, even if you only ever offer it to tired looking attendees

Personal Needs

  • Water. Keep a couple of extra bottles tucked away but easily accessible in your booth.
  • Lip balm
  • Mints or breath spray
  • Sensible shoes with comfy soles. You can still wear your heels, just be strategic and bring flats along too so you’re not hobbling by the end of the day. 
  • A change of clothes - What if you spill coffee on your only shirt?
  • Granola bars, trail mix or a similar snack to ward off the kind of hunger that makes you cranky. 
  • Cash. This is hard to believe in 2016 but in some venues, it’s cash only. 
  • Extra chargers and spare batteries for phones, tablets and/or laptops. You can’t be too prepared here.  
  • A blazer with big pockets (Optional. I like to wear a blazer because it looks great and then I have a pocket to put a business card into and another one to fish my own out of. This way, I avoid awkwardly trying to find a card to give someone)

Do you have a favourite conference or expo that other Her(B) Lifers should know about? Did I miss any obvious items on this list? Let us know over on our Facebook page and your suggestion could be featured in an upcoming post!