Today I had my first experience of being an exhibitor at a conference.
Mat Pullen, a PE technology consultant, had invited Book Creator to be part of the PESS Conference in Wales. This is a conference aimed at improving physical literacy – so lots of PE teachers there but also many primary school teachers.
We don’t normally go to these kinds of events – nearly all our marketing is done online, and where we are represented at conferences it’s almost always because a teacher is presenting about Book Creator of their own accord.
However, given it was only a short trip across the Severn from Bristol, I decided to go along for the experience…
What I learned
- The ‘marketplace’ is hard work! Where you are placed makes a big difference, and I happened to be somewhat sandwiched into a corner, which meant not everyone could even get to my table, or see the promo video I was playing on my Macbook. I think I did an ok job of setting up the stand given the minimal resources I had, but it clearly wouldn’t have had the same impact as the other stands with their big banners etc.
- I had a slot at the Technology Teachmeet – a chance to pitch your product to a room full of educators. From that, I had what you might call the ‘one key conversation’ with a teacher who was totally sold on the idea of using Book Creator to create digital portfolios with his students. Problem is – that might only sell us one app, so not exactly groundbreaking!
- Whilst my presentation went well, I hadn’t really prepared my spiel for the marketplace, which meant I was very much winging it. I felt like an amateur compared to the seasoned pro next to me, the charismatic Bryn from Tagtiv8!
- But, I did get into my stride, learning to engage the audience first (are you a teacher? what level? do you have iPads? have you heard of Book Creator?) and then delivering a short demo, before making sure they left with my business card.
Being an introvert, I find this kind of thing draining. I’m confident enough to do it, but I much prefer online marketing, and this experience has only confirmed that!