I happened to check the Fog Creek Software intern midterm report a week ago or so, and was struck by a number of the thoughts.
This was the first trade show Fog Creek had ever attended. The truth is, a trade show is not a very cost-effective way to reach potential customers. Given the cost of travel, hotels, the booth, a thousand bucks for nice brochures, and everybody taking a week off of work, it’s a really expensive way to get in front of prospects, especially since I can write an article on my website and get in front of 1000 times as many people.
But that’s not really the point: the point is to have interactive experiences with your customers. You can try out lots of different pitches and really listen to how people respond to them, which is something you can’t do in non-interactive marketing like web sites and magazine ads. I learned this from Eric Sink, who wrote a great article on the topic, Going to a Trade Show.
This is incredibly unbelievably true. I just did the exact same thing at the National PTA conference in Columbus Ohio. And the value is incalculable.
Because you fail fast.