Before, during and after, World of Concrete always chomps a huge chunk out of my work schedule.
For weeks beforehand, I’m busy writing internal and external communications concerning the show; tradeshow graphics (“Stop Dust Dead” is a favorite); product releases and more. Afterward there’s follow-up on all the contacts we made there, cover letters to go out with the literature prospects requested, and more.
And for the week during, there’s booth set-up, run, and tear-down. The yawning empty space between the last “Green Journey” blog post — Jan. 4 — and this one tells the story pretty well, I think.
I’m pretty much chained to our indoor booth during the show, running an interactive game to lure prospects in to talk with our sales managers. We’ve had some sort of interactive game since 2003, when we found it just about doubled the qualified leads we took home.
I think we’re going to try the booth without the game next year, though, and place a heavier reliance on getting prospects with big-screen TV videos, which have been proving very successful.
This year, we did a football-toss game. Prospects got three tries to toss a foam rubber football through holes in a target. Their prizes, whether they succeeded or not, and once I qualified them, were one of the foam footballs — emblazoned with the PROSOCO and Consolideck logos — and an ALL-EXPENSE PAID conversation WITH A PROSOCO SALES MANAGER! YOU LUCKY DEVIL!
Also had a cheerleader, Laurie Rozanowski, to assist me with running the game. Laurie worked hard, and next to me spent more time working that booth, and working it more actively than anyone on the team — but got mixed reviews.
I heard later that some thought a cheerleader was cheesey, but to my mind it was all in good fun, all G-Rated, and anyway, how do you have football without cheerleaders? Laurie did a good job for us though, and I would hire her again in an instant.
We also had an outside booth in the Decorative Concrete section of the Show’s silver lot. There, we had a slab showing off our polished concrete GemTone Stain colors, and our steel-troweled/broom-finished color-hardener/densifier, ColorHard.
Our exhibit there was not without troubles — with WOC sandwiched between two other shows, work on the slab had to proceed before the slab was truly ready. The slab was poured on Friday, and with the show starting Tuesday, work had to begin the next day.
This caused moisture problems, which led to a host of other difficulties — experienced by all exhibitors who used slabs in the outdoor lot.
But our Concrete Products Group, led by Joe Reardon, and supported by our partners, including SASE, Rapid Set, SuperAbrasive and others, did a masterful job in getting the slab ready for the show under extremely challenging conditions.
Not sure how the other exhibitors did, but with the amount of talent in the lot there, and everyone’s willingness to to help out, I’m pretty sure we all survived.
“Like with any slab, we faced some challenges,” Joe told me later. “But with a little help from our friends, we turned it into a terrific learning opportunity for everyone at the show.”
Attendance at the show appeared thin compared to years past, even from my limited vantage point. That perception was reinforced by the opinions of visitors to our booth, and by this article in the Las Vegas Business Journal.
In past years, the show topped 90,000 attendees — last year it was down to 55,000. This year, I think everyone was just hoping to match last year. I did hear that the percentage of serious visitors with actual buying authority was up, though.
One thing that never changes with World of Concrete — 55,000 or 100,000 — it’s always an incredible experience, a mighty, multi-color construction carnival, equal blends of academy, circus and family reunion.
If you’re in construction, even if just peripherally, WOC is a must-attend event, at least once. With or without game, I suspect I’ll be back for my 10th consecutive WOC in 2012.
Hope to see you there!