Ann Dosen
Podiatry is a very special industry. Many, if not most, of the podiatric vendors are small businesses. Being a small business in a specialized industry has many advantages but also [results in, experiences] unique struggles. One topic we find ourselves discussing with our vendor colleagues is, “what conferences should my company exhibit at?” Specifically, how should smaller companies select shows and what type of shows should we be looking for?
First, identify your next target geographical area (Midwest, Southeast), then try to be at all the state and regional shows in that area. Even the super small boutique shows. Reduce your investment at shows in your “home” area – you already have those customers. Either downsize your booth and sponsorship there or start going every other year. Start to have a presence at shows in your target area and build from there.
Next, consider the audience each seminar attracts. If your definition of success at a conference is related to the number of orders you write while exhibiting, you need to be focused on seminars that attract physicians in private practice, as these physicians often are decision-makers and have buying power for the practice.
Don’t choose a seminar solely based on the number of attendees.
Most importantly – don’t spend money going to a show simply because you’ve always gone to that one. We always say one of the most deadly phrases for a person, company, or organization is, “We’ve always done it this way.” Think outside the box. Look carefully at the calendar on our website and pay close attention to any shows you haven’t been to in the past.