While at VMworld 2012 in San Francisco and walking around the expo floor, something familiar was taking place.
Sure, there were the vendors trying to outdo themselves with give away, magicians and other techniques to draw you into their booths or show areas.
What I also saw and heard were plenty of sales and marketing pitches that seemed more focus on selling and closing a demo, vs. selling the company or product, let alone trying to show a reason for wanting to learn more about the company.
Granted, for some people a good demo is all that is needed to become comfortable with the company or products.
On the other hand, it is nice to have a quick conversation to set up a follow-up to learn more and dig deeper.
What I find interesting is how many organizations are more focused on trying to close on the demo than to spend a minute or two in a quick conversation that could go a lot further. This can be a challenge when somebody asks me about a company or product and my impressions of it. For example, if a vendor is to focused on selling and closing on the GUI demo, when asked I sometimes after to say that company xyz has a great demo, beyond that not much else to recommend at this time. Now if the goal of the company is to sell the demo, then that is what they should be closing on.
On the other hand, if the goal of the company is to sell and close on products, then the demo is just one of many means to the goal as opposed to a singular focus.
Is it just the booth or show crews who are under instructions from the marketing or event staffs who are supposed to be focused? Nope, sales and marketing types, engineers or technical types and even CEOs. In fact, at VMworld I meet a few CEOs or other CxOs who were focused on either closing on their demos, or simply using the demo as an excuse to handoff and be able to go talk to somebody else. Funny thing is that some of those same CxO types complain directly or via their surrogates when they do not get the coverage they wanted or expected for their product, service or company.
Having spent more years than I care to remember at shows and conference events, both as a customer attendee, as a vendor exhibitor, and as an analyst, consult, lets keep in focus the value of time at events. This means realizing that shows or conferences typically mean speed dating or very short windows of opportunities to interact, for both the exhibitors and attendees.
Thus, make the best use of available time. If you are the attendee, tell the exhibitor what you are interested in or need to learn more about. Likewise if you are the exhibitor, do some basic triage and quickly determine what the attendee is looking for, whom they need to talk to, or follow-up with.
This prompts the question(s) of do you make product and services decisions based off G2 (intelligence, information, insight, awareness) or GQ (looks, packaging appeal, style, trendy and hip, how it demos or shows)?
Are you buying a product, service or technology based on likability, popularity, cost, peer pressure, or something else?
Do you buy because of the demo or of its functionality?
Do you buy because of cost or price, or business benefit?
Do you buy because of a vendor, partner or sales person, or because of it?
Do you place more emphasis on looks, appearance or GQ factor including packaging, presentation, images and style?
Alternatively, do you place emphasis on G2 including insight, intelligence, knowledge, comfort and understanding of solution?
As with many things, my assumption that the answer to the above questions is it depends.
Ok, nuff said for now.