Like many in our industry, we do our fair share of trade shows, and as anyone who has ever exhibited will tell you, it’s a lot of work.
In our company, Lu Ann handles all of the arrangements. She books the plane tickets, reserves the rooms, secures the exhibition space, orders the exhibitor badges, organizes and ships the collateral, and coordinates a thousand other details to ensure everything goes smoothly for the team when they arrive.
The sales team does all of the manual labor, including packing and repacking the booth displays and equipment, helping load and unload the heavy boxes onto the shipping company’s truck, and of course setting up and tearing down the booth. Again, so many details to manage to make sure everything is perfect for the opening of the show.
Months in advance, our marketing team is planning giveaways and prizes, updating collateral, and trying to add new ways to catch visitors’ attention.
Throughout the show, we’re working hard to connect, meeting new trade show participants and vendors, and reconnecting with long-time customers and partners. We’re striking up conversations with people who pass our booth, and we’re walking the floor saying hi to old friends and introducing ourselves to new ones. It’s an energizing, exhausting, rewarding process.
And of all of the trade shows that we attend and/or where we exhibit, COMMON holds a special place for us. The COMMON community is tightly knit and loyal, and every show is like a family reunion. New deals are forged, partnerships are discovered, and all the while relationships are built and nurtured. When we reconnect with customers or friends, it’s as if we’re just picking up the conversation right where we left off from last year’s COMMON conference.
As I approach my one-year anniversary as marketing manager at Linoma Software, I’m fortunate to have been invited to attended my first COMMON conference. When our president Bob Luebbe toured me around from booth to booth introducing me to people, I quickly realized the level of connection Linoma has with the IBM i community.
It was wonderful to finally meet in person all of the folks I’d been working with all year: Jennifer and Megan from iPro Developer; Chris, Kara, David and Jeff from MC Press; Tami and Darryl from IBM Systems Magazine; Dan,Timothy, Kim and Jenny with IT Jungle; and Dan Cheney, our most prolific blogger on this and the GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer blog whom I finally got to hug. It was especially amazing to spend quality time with my friend and mentor Bill Rice, with Humanized Communication.
Today, as we’re breaking down the booth, saying goodbye to friends, and anticipating the long flights home, it’s clear that the IBM i community is thriving. We are proud to be a part of it all, and are already planning for next spring’s COMMON conference.