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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Construct Canada 2009 Day 1

Daniel Smith with one of our special booth guests handing out papers and calendars.

I flew home yesterday evening, leaving Chase, Daniel Smith, and a group of Hooter Girls from the Niagara region to hand out calendars (with highly gender-specific images) and sample publications, as they met other exhibitors, attended seminars and programs, and generally "connected" on the Construct Canada show floor in Toronto.

This show, at least theoretically, represents a Home Run marketing opportunity. Most of our clients, after all, are businesses seeking to market their products and services to the construction industry in Ontario, the demographic profile of the greatest part of our business. As well, because we can help attract visitors to the show, the co-ordinators are happy to accept trade-outs of booth space for advertising, reducing our costs significantly.

But here is a sobering number. Last year, I asked the sales representatives attending the show to keep close tabs on the leads they acquired and the results they attained. We'll start with the really bad news. Two of the three representatives attending didn't bring in one piece of measurable business in the year following the show (they are no longer employed with us).

The third representative, our most successful salesperson, achieved $4,000 in sales.

If you add up the costs of hotels, food, travel, and time, we easily consumed that much in show costs. In other words, we paid 100 cents on the dollar -- hardly a route to profitability.

In planning this year's show presence, I considered these numbers in assessing our plans, and we devised some changes that should reduce our show-related expenses by about 50 per cent.

Of course, events like Construct Canada have other advantages. They allow us to reconnect with existing clients, scope out the competition, and observe larger trends and issues. So it is still worthwhile attending.

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