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Show publicity....a warning


#1

All,

We recently participated in a Gem and Mineral show…the California
Federation show which was held at the Fairgrounds in Paso Robles, CA.
Ostensibly, this is THE major show of the year for the state. Without
knowing the exact criteria for putting on a show of this type, I
would have to say that what transpired suggested that a certain
amount of chaos was a principle ingredient. On the first day of the
three day show, it was apparent that things were getting off to a
very slow start. Attendance was very sparse and sales were
correspondingly sluggish. Add to this the fact that it was nearly one
hundred degrees F. with the principal exhibition hall air
conditioning not functioning and you soon realized an ominous portent
for the remainder of the event. The dealer presence was very
impressive. There were people with selections of goods that would do
credit to any venue in London or Paris…and, they were bombing! No
people…no sales. Furthermore, the people who were in attendance
were essentially older rockhounds…people who seldom make big
purchases. We soon realized that while the show had been widely
publicized amongst the hobby network, the publicity in the local
media was sparse to none. There were no display ads in the
newspapers, no posters in the regional shopping venues and no media
attendance at the event. We were amongst the fortunate few who were
local operators and could cut our losses by going home at night. We
were also lucky in that we could re-organize our inventory and
displays so that we could make a presentation aimed at rockhounds. In
the end, we did well, but, pity those poor victims who drove a
thousand miles, brought million dollar inventories, paid sucker hotel
prices and sat about twiddling their thumbs. The supreme irony of all
this was the fact that there are probably thousands of millionaires +
who live within twenty miles of the show ! On the last day of the
show I queried all of my clientele to determine how they had heard of
the show and only one person said that he had heard about it through
the media…and that medium was a local throw-away rag that has
very poor circulation. The moral of the story is this…if you are
going to do a show for the first time, or, if the show is being
sponsored by an amateur group or if the show is a first time for the
promoter, make sure you nail down what their plans are for publicity
! And, make sure you factor in what your costs are going to be
relative to distance and entrance fees. A show can make or break you
! Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.


#2

Hello Orchidians, Ron Mills makes a good point about show publicity.
The moral of the story is this…if you are going to do a show for
the first time, or, if the show is being sponsored by an amateur group
or if the show is a first time for the promoter, make sure you nail
down what their plans are for publicity

My question is this, if the show is taking place at a distance, how
does one learn what their plans ARE for publicity. Then, can the
report be trusted? Any thoughts from the group?

I try to avoid first-time shows unless I have personal knowledge of
the organizers. Sponsors/organizers that are a charitable
organization, don’t seem to reach for vendors beyond the local region
and their members are usually good supporters of the vendors. It’s
the for-profit organizer that makes me cautious!

Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936