For some, attending an expo or trade show is just a couple of days away from the cube they call home for 40 hours a week. For others, it can be the definitive industry event that connects thought leaders, showcases emerging trends, and offers robust educational opportunities known to improve the path of any business. ESX specializes in the latter. The heart and soul of the Electronic Security Expo is innovative technology, vibrant networking events, and meaningful educational sessions.
But…ESX 2016 is also EXHILERATING. From the ‘Welcome Reception’ commencing the activities Tuesday evening to the ‘Closing Keynote Luncheon’ finale, sponsored by NAPCO and SMD, on Friday, this must-see security industry event is non-stop. The ESX team runs this expo like a well-oiled machine, under video surveillance of course, and you should do the same. To get the most out of your experience, preparation will be paramount to everything you do. Follow these tips and tricks for attending the Electronic Security Expo to ensure you take advantage of every aspect while guaranteeing a healthy return on your time invested.
It’s all about Food and Hashtags
First things first, find out where it is at, and I don’t just mean the city and state. If you are traveling, where is the Fort Worth Convention Center in relation to your hotel? All 4 ESX hotel partners are less than 1 mile from the expo, so don’t forget your cowboy boots. If you are lucky enough to live in the host city or driving a rental, look for parking lot information such location in relation to the entrance prior to heading out for the first day. While you have Google Maps open in your browser, go ahead and check out the local cuisine. The last thing you want is to be in an unfamiliar area with no idea where to get a good meal or that completely necessary designer cup of coffee. Hint: Take note of where the ESX Crawl will be moseying through. This area is full of dining and entertainment.
This should go without saying, wear comfy shoes! You will be walking around the Fort Worth Convention Center for three days. This is 253,226 square feet of exhibit space and 51,849 square feet of meeting space, not including the ballroom and events plaza. It’s true when they say ‘everything is bigger in Texas.’ In addition to trading in those brand new shoes for a pair that is broken in, don’t forget to pack plenty of business cards. These will be your quick and easy method of giving and receiving contact information as you network your way through the show floor. It is helpful to prepare a quick, 30-second pitch for the numerous times you will be asked, “Who are you” and “what do you do?”
Because an expo is multi-faceted and equated to a living organism, things can change quickly. Follow the ESX social media pages to stay up to date with the latest news concerning all things #ESX2016. Speaking of hashtags, use’em! As you incorporate your attendance of the expo into your social media marketing plans (and as a business in 2016, I know you are already on top of your social) use the event hashtags. It helps your customers and industry equals know what you are up to, to keep an eye out for you at the expo and you instantly join an online network of search results anytime someone searches that hashtag. It’s SEO for social! Take advantage of what ESX if offering and let your customer base know that bringing them the latest tech and industry knowledge is important to you.
From Wrap-Up to Playbook
It’s advisable to familiarize yourself, and those in your company who are attending, with what to expect. Begin with the ESX 2015 Wrap-Up, which details highlights from the previous year. This will give you a peek into what other attendees thought about the event, top-rated educational sessions, award winners, special guest speakers, and joint social functions. Follow this with a perusal of the 2016 ESX Conference Catalog. This is the expo playbook explaining central event themes, schedules, key individuals, and educational sessions. This is where you, and your team, will determine what you want to see and who you want to meet. If you are looking to add even more to your booming business, attending seminars in the “Grow Your Business” track should be at the top of your list. Do you want to learn about the upcoming changes in the security world and how to hire new talent? Sessions in the “Rethink the Future” track are right up your alley. Establish objectives and goals for what you want to learn and accomplish while at ESX. If you are venturing into new product and solution categories, find out who is exhibiting and make sure you visit the booths of companies who have the new products and solutions you are interested in exploring.
Guest speakers can be found at the ESX Learning Lab in the exhibit hall. The Learning Lab is ideal for attendees to interact with speakers in a smaller setting, broaching subjects in a more in-depth manner. Be familiar with the ESX Central hub, as this will be where many award presentations and appearances take place.
Take advantage of the association meetings! This can be a great way for you to see what it’s like to join ESA and learn about the many values of membership. If you are already a member, never forget the power of networking. Join in the annual meeting and committee meetings to see new faces and introduce yourself. While we are on the subject of people, find out if that person you have been trying to connect with will be at the expo. This could be the perfect icebreaker to launch that discussion on risk management you’ve been obsessing over the past few weeks.
The recurring theme with ESX is to leverage the event to help you take advantage of each and every opportunity that comes your way. ESX 2016 is coming to the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas June 8th through 10th. Be sure to register before April 30th to lock down our SuperSaver rates.
Do you have some great expo strategies of you own? Let us know in the comments below.