In having a strong PR mindset for your business, trade show and event marketing should be near the top of your list.
Want an example to look to for advice on attending and sponsoring conferences? The cannabis industry has a trade show or social event just about every other weekend. Some are opportunities to make yourself known to potential partners and investors, while others are fantastic for getting your brand and product out in front of passionate consumers.
Not every show will be right for your brand, and it’s a good thing, too, because they are expensive to attend and sponsor!
So how, then, does a business owner pick and choose which events to attend? There are a few factors to consider before spending precious capital on travel, tickets and booth materials.
Stay in your ideal target area when it comes to events. You’ll know when you’re ready to be part of the national or global community - until then, focus on becoming a household name in your city and state. If you are looking to expand your company into an emerging market, it may be wise to attend one of their events on an individual pass to network and gauge the business environment.
When checking into conferences and events, cost is always a factor, though you should attempt to keep your event budget high for a few reasons. The first is that you need to network in order to grow your business - it's indisputable. The second is that you never know when a booth or sponsorship opportunity or deal may open up that is the perfect fit for your brand. Lastly, you need to have cash on hand for the travel, drinks, meals, and incidental costs that come with trade show hopping.
In addition to purchasing individual passes, brands should always consider springing for exhibitor booths and sponsorships where it makes sense. They are expensive, but having good, long-standing, PAYING relationships with event organizers can be fruitful in the long term. Hosts may be inclined to offer you discounted booth and sponsorship rates next year, simply because you supported them this time around.
Just as a laid-back cannabis cup event isn’t a great place to market your financial services company, a general business conference may not be the best fit, either. The general consensus is that the very best events are those that cater to a niche market. For example, The 420 Games brings together people and companies who identify strongly with fit, active, and healthy cannabis consumers. Vaporizer and organic edible companies do extremely well at these organized fitness festivals, and gyms, yoga instructors and other wellness-related businesses are also welcome.
One of my very favorite conferences, the New West Summit, takes place in San Francisco next weekend - October 14 & 15. It’s been called the “TechCrunch Disrupt” for the cannabis space, and draws a crowd of Silicon Valley types, as well as the top technology service providers, app builders, investors, and scientific manufacturers in California. Anyone interested in the development of online tools, analytics, laboratory tech, and financial tech for the cannabis industry would be sorry to miss this.
My friends at Direct Cannabis Network are currently offering a 50% discount on passes to the New West Summit for this final week.
This is really a great offer, as Sir Richard Branson and the voice of Siri will be the keynote speakers. The conference is sponsored by Steep Hill Labs, Leafly, New Frontier, Tradiv, and more huge names in the cannabis space. I hope to meet you there!