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Not just another Blog

  • Writer's pictureKen Newman

“That’s NOT in my Job Description”

This week’s “Hey Newman” blog was to be about ‘going-above-and-beyond, ‘thinking-outside-the-box,’ ‘getting-things-done.’ But instead of speaking about this in the abstract, I decided to invite fellow blogger, Jennifer Canale, to share her recent experience at a small trade show in New Orleans.

I believe it speaks to this subject particularly well:


Question: What do you do when you show up on Day One of a trade show, and discover…

1. The product literature didn’t make it to the show.

2. The show entrance and your booth are at opposite ends of the building.

3. There are no dedicated trade show hours ??

Answer: Whatever you HAVE TO DO!!

You may have been brought in as a “Crowd Gatherer” or “Booth Hostess,” but when it comes down to it, you are part of the Marketing Team. This means you do whatever you have to do to make your show a success, whether you think it’s in your job description or not.


What happens when the Client unpacks the shipping boxes an hour before showtime and realizes that THERE IS NO LITERATURE TO HAND OUT??


You ask them to put whatever files they can find on a thumb drive. You change into your comfy shoes. You Google the nearest FedEx Kinko’s. You take their Corporate Credit Card and off you go. Thirty minutes later you’re back with bags full of pamphlets and flyers. You put on your heels. You’re a hero. Miracle #1.

Then …

What do you do when your booth is in the far corner of the convention hall and no one is coming to visit?

You work your magic !

It’s hard to be a Crowd Gatherer for a Presenter when he has no one to PRESENT to. He may be great at sleight of hand, but without anyone to watch him … who cares? So you grab an extra deck of cards and go out into the main hallways and tell every attendee you see to “Pick a Card! Any card! Take that Magic Card to Booth 1617 and turn it in for a prize!” Next thing you know, the booth is full of attendees watching the Presentation! AND, since all the attendees are turning in playing cards for prizes, your client has a pretty good idea who it was that pulled in the crowds. Miracle #2.

And as if THAT wasn’t enough …

What do you do when the only time the attendees are in the Expo Hall hall is for meals? To make matters worse, the Caterers, in their infinite wisdom, put a giant curtain in front of your booth, so no one sees you or your presenter.

Step out from behind the curtain.

That booth in the corner is now part of the dining entertainment. Visit the tables during lunch and welcome the attendees. Invite them over to you booth for some lunchtime magic. Tell them that your presenter will teach them a trick and give them a special gift to take home with them. Miracle #3.

And after this third miracle, you are officially a New Orleans Saint (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Tricks like this (pun intended) will get your booth full of prospects, and get your client to see the value that you bring to their trade show marketing effort. If your client doesn’t get good leads, they’re not likely to come back to this show. And if they don’t come back to the show … you’re not working for them.

So …

You step up. You help wherever you can. You do things that might not be part of your job description. You make problems disappear. Then, the morning after the show, you get an email thanking you for the great job you did along with a contract for their next three shows.

Life is Good.


Have any stories about things YOU’VE done that were not part of your job description? Emptying trash at your trade show booth? Vacuuming carpets? Rebuilding a server? We’d love to hear them.

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