It’s that time of year again…I’m leaving on a jet plane, first to attend the SCORE conference in Dallas (8/19-8/22) and then to attend the ASBDC conference in Chicago (9/2-9/5). As I prepare for these two events, I have to admit I am thankful we decided that I would not attend three other conferences we have exhibited at in years past. It was just too hectic for me to travel around the country for August and the first week of September, so somehow we had to make the decision to scale back. Tim Berry will still be speaking at the Academy of Management (AOM) next Tuesday on plan as you go business planning, and our long-time partner, Prentice Hall, will help represent us at both the AOM and American Marketing Association (AMA) conferences.

In theory, preparing for a conference seems relatively easy, especially if you have exhibited for 10+ years, as we have at the ASBDC. However, there is a lot that goes into it and up until this year, a lot that I didn’t even realize was done pre-conference to guarantee its success. My colleague, ‘Chelle Parmele, has generally been our conference coordinator extraordinaire, and she always got everything done on time and got it done well. I thought I would take some of the burden off ‘Chelle this year, especially for the ASBDC, and I now have a whole new appreciation for this.

I have been coordinating the amount of software and amount and type of schwag to send, creating marketing copy, fliers and tote inserts, filling out confusing electrical, shipping and equipment forms, making flight and hotel arrangements, etc, etc. The list goes on. Being that we are a small company and we don’t have an Event Coordinator, we all pick up the pieces. While it sometimes would be nice to hand all of this off to someone else to handle, doing it myself (with ‘Chelle’s assistance!) gives me a greater appreciation of the amount of energy that goes into making a show successful even before the show starts.

I have no doubt that when I arrive in both Dallas and Chicago, I will feel proud of the work I put in beforehand to guarantee my success at the shows. I also have no doubt that I will take closer notice of the location of the electrical outlet, whether or not we have an extra table and Internet access, whether or not our carpet has been vacuumed pre-show, etc…

Kristen Langham
Marketing Manager
Palo Alto Software

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