How to plan and execute a successful trade show – Part 2

Previously we wrote about how to prepare for showing off your game at trade shows, giving you a timeline for when things need to be done and what to think about. This week we want to talk more about the specifics of, and differences between having a stand at a consumer- or industry oriented event. From this post we hope that you come away with new knowledge for when you travel to show off your amazing game.

We wanted to write this post, to highlight what we have learned from our travels and give you some advice. Each event is a little different, and it can be difficult to know what to expect if you’ve never been to a specific type of event before.

But first, you need to get the opportunity to attend a trade show or a conference. As we have mentioned in our previous post, Sarepta studio has over 5 years attended quite the variety of shows and conferences. Everything from GDC in San Francisco to Nordic Game Conference in Malmo. We have, in large part, been able to do this because of our amazing Norwegian support system. The politicians loves it when we travel abroad to brag about Norway and show off the national talent. 

Norwegian game developers at GDC

We also like writing about it; click image to read HGC’s post – Norwegians at GDC

We would encourage you to look for what opportunities there may be in your country.
There are also different types of trade shows that you need to be aware of, to make sure you get the most out of your investments. The most common are “Consumer oriented events” and “Industry oriented events” and they have some distinctions that you should adjust for.

Target audience
A consumer oriented event is an event that is set up for the consumers. The people that will buy and/or play your game. These trade shows, like Pax and EGX have the consumer’s interest in mind. The trade shows are there to entertain visitors and give the exhibitors a chance to show off their product directly to their potential buyers.

Shadow Puppeteer Casual connect

Picture from Casual connect


Your goals
At consumer oriented events you want to spread the word about your game. Selling single copies might be good, but you want to get the visitors to share your game; Write about it, share pictures of it, enter contests to win copies of it. You want the game to become known in new circles.

Shadow puppeteer funny faces

Instagram photo contest are fun and easy for the whole family

Getting known is also crucial at industry events, but the methods you use are different. You can enter into contests to win awards and recognition: like GDC Best in Play or IGF. This will grant you visibility as an eligible business partner. You can become part of a larger pavilion, like the Nordic Games pavilion at GDC. You may also consider to invest in company visibility by becoming part of the show’s program leaflet.

So a big part of your job is to make a lasting impression, both at consumer and industry oriented events. A part of this is through the appearance of your booth: Whether it’s through eye-catching decor, music or a stunning demo, you need to make sure the visitors will remember YOU out of a hundred others.

Consumer oriented events lend themselves better to shows, contests or giveaways than industry ones. We usually bring button badges, which were so popular during EGX we ran out (!)

 

Shadow Puppeteer, buttons, button badges, sarepta studio, sarepta, co-op

Snow Cannon Games tweeted during EGX as we were running out of our button badges.

At industry events it’s important to have a representative at the booth to exchange business cards and set up meetings when publishers or platform representatives come by looking for new, interesting titles. Most of the real, lasting impressions left at industry events are done in meetings or at social events outside of the trade show hours; securing the interest of a hardware developer, getting introduced to a new localization partner for a special region, closing the deal with a sought-after platform. A general rule here is to keep this strictly business on the show floor but feel free to connect on a more personal level outside. After all, everyone attending are just people. Doing cynical networking and systematically handing out business cards at a party will make you come off more as a vulture than an interesting business partner.

 

So to conclude: Consumer and industry oriented events share some similarities but have clear differences in audience and goals. Spend your energy understanding and planning for this. We wish you the best of luck with your next event, and hope to meet you there.

If you have questions or want to share your own experiences regarding the difference between consumer and industry oriented events, feel free to share and leave a comment.

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288 thoughts on “How to plan and execute a successful trade show – Part 2

  1. Trade shows are so much fun to go to. I really like going for the free stuff and occasionally I will buy something. My favorite thing to do is actually just see what people have to sell. We have a lot of trade shows around town and it is interesting to see the different things people make to sell.

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