So, a few weeks back, a number of Product Management bloggers were invited to participate in a “blogfest” (blogapalooza?), responding to Steve Johnson’s post entitled “Why Demo at Tradeshows?”
Having said what I said — give me the opportunity to have a meaningful one-on-one conversation with a valid prospect, and I’ll certainly trade a quick demo for it — I’m a bit surprised that I recently attended a small summit and tradeshow (200 attendees), and in two days, had a number of conversations with a number of individuals at our small “demopod”, and never once did I show running software.
A few key Powerpoint slides and references to the product brochures and data sheets were all that was needed to explain what we did, answer questions and scan their badges.
So, on one level, I admit that Steve (and those who agreed with him) had a point about tradeshow conversations. But on another level, I must also say that the small size of the show was a factor. Many of the people were more interested in the iPod we were giving away versus the software we had to sell.
So, perhaps the attendees read Steve’s article and agreed with him that they didn’t need a demo, or perhaps they were simply preoccupied with the end of the quarter, or maybe they wanted a demo, but because we never offered one, they didn’t muster the courage to ask. Or, maybe there was another reason, but in the end, I noted, somewhat surprisingly that after two days, no demo was presented. A first in my experience.