I haven’t been to the trade show in Salt Lake in a few years due to my school year always beginning at the exact same time of the show. This year was different, the first day of the show was one day before I was to begin teaching, so I went. What does that mean? Why did I go? As an athlete for SCARPA, Arcteryx, Sterling Rope and CAMP, I get to meet with the athlete coordinators and marketing people to talk contracts, planning for next years trips, learn about new products and understand marketing goals for the company. I went this year because I haven’t had face to face contact with many of those people in a while and it is good to have face time with your employer. Also, because I get to reconnect with other climbers in the community, photographers and writers. In the end, I had meetings in 3 hours and drove home. This year really reminded me that I am not too into the trade show or the scene. I enjoy talking to my sponsors and reconnecting with other friends, but I really cant handle the venue. It is too busy for me.
So here are a couple of things to consider if you ever end up attending the Outdoor Retailer trade show:
- Have a plan. Wandering around will overwhelm you with all the products and sales pitches.
- Have your meetings scheduled ahead of time. If you don’t there is a good chance that you will not be able to speak with who you want to.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will do a lot of standing around.
- Carry nothing but a water bottle or tiny pack. You will talk so much that you can loose your voice.
- If you are wanting to gain sponsorship or get advertising money from a company, do your homework. Find out who you need to talk with before and don’t lurk around their booth. Sometimes those people aren’t even around and the last thing they want to hear is someone else asking for something for nothing.
- Make contacts with everyone that you meet. They may know the person that you want to meet, the community is small and many of the people there have worked for multiple companies in the industry.
- Eat and drink because you would be surprised how much energy you expend walking and talking all day long!
- Have fun, the event only happens twice a year!