So here’s a question for all you business owners and managers, especially if your company exhibits at trade exhibitions: how do you define a successful trade show?
I reckon there are many metrics. Over the years, I’ve concluded that a show is successful by the number of leads you take. But that can be misleading as leads are not orders. At least, not yet. And who diligently follows an order back to its source?
I’ve defined success by the number of people cramming the aisles. But that’s a vanity thing: it’s good for the show organisers but people in the aisles are not on your stand.
How about by the calibre of the individuals, their job titles and company of origin who stop and engage you on your stand, seeking answers to their questions? That’s more meaningful. Especially if they have technical questions. And you get to zap their badges with your barcode wand to ease future communications!
Well, thanks to exhibiting at the Electronics Design Show, we now have a new success metric for Thermal Issues. It’s this: measure how many competitors happen past your stand with a worried look on their faces? I never realised we were such a threat to the thermal interface materials supply community! But it seems we are, judging by the number of visits and level of interest from ‘competitors’.
I say ‘competitors’ in quotes because, naturally, we don’t have any real competitors. That’s the point. No-one does exactly what we do – you know, things like rapid prototyping that deploys the same manufacturing process that will be used for full production – with that transition completely seamless. (Incidentally, what better way to prove your prototypes?) Or not charging for tooling. So yes, that does make Thermal Issues a threat, and quite rightly so. We’ve introduced a disruptive methodology. And disruptors always break new ground.
Aside from the curious competitive interest, we also saw some really big name prospects. I’d love to tell you who but I daren’t; it’s too ‘out there’! Let’s just say that some were businesses I’ve been unable to gain access to in previous technical and sales roles in my former life – before I established Thermals Issues Ltd. So that’s hugely exciting.
Several need help at their development stages. We can do that. Okay, you’ll know that in our traditional business model we make no charge for tooling. That’s attractive to designers as it lets them stay agile with revisions. But not everybody takes development through to production in the same way. That’s why we have rolled out a Thermal Issues business model that delivers materials and expertise solely for development projects, that permits flexibility to encompass the production run that follows.
So if the Electronics Design Show proved anything, it’s the need to adapt easily to client demands – not just in the responsiveness of our service delivery, but in the way you model those services to suit special requirements. Now that a success metric if ever I saw one!
Best regards – Neil