Over the past few years I have averaged 3 to 6 conferences a year such as Pubcon, SES, and SMX. Chicago is also home to an SES, Ad-tech, Etail, and other smaller conferences and makes afternoon trips to see friends and check out vendors a snap.
All of these conferences have one thing in common:exhibit halls where people are trying to recruit you to buy, sell, or partner with them on some level. Sometimes they are interesting and other times its just a waste of my time, but I go back as you never know what you will find there. This leads to a large number of vendors and in turn, sales people having my email and contact information.
Depending on how sophisticated the conference is, there are different ways the vendor can get your information. Most of the time its a “Can I have your card so I can show my boss I talked to people” or “Let me scan your ID and you will qualify to win prize X” or lastly the “Put your card in the bowl and you can have swag/register to win more swag” type of come ons. No matter what method they use, they all in the end are simply trying to get your name, title, email and phone if possible. Cant blame them for trying can you?
I do like to win stuff, I never do but I like to think one day Ill win something. All I ever get out of it are emails, solicitations, signed up for newsletters and the like. As if this should suprise me? It doesnt as I expect this, and sometimes really want the contact. There are times when Im not in a position to buy but will be in 2-4 months and the follow ups remind me of their service/product. Who has time to remember every single company selling everything? Do you know how often companies get bought or change their name these days?
What bothers me is how for a better word: lazy many of these vendors/sales people are. Last year I got a call from someone saying I had recently stopped at their booth and did I have a moment to talk. I asked them what conference/city/when they met me and they told me SES NYC. Well SES NYC was in April and it was now October. What had they been doing for the past 6 months? How was anything I could have possibly said relevant 6 months later? What could have been so important that it took you 6 months to send me a cookie cutter email?
The most recent incident had a line towards the end that went something like this:
Thanks for visiting our booth this past fall, and I look forward to your response.
This incident happend just last week. What month is it? What year? They met me at a conference last fall and now some 5 months later have emailed me and want me to buy something from them? If this is any indication of the expected service I can expect from the rest of your company I will have to pass on the sales pitch.
Please do me and others a favor and if you work as a vendor in an exhibit hall in ANY industry and are too busy to email me within a month – dont bother. Your marketing/sales team and you need to learn about lead nurturing and email marketing.