Interop: Competitive Booth Practices
Interop is in Vegas, so naturally many vendors take advantage of the readily available entertainment resources to deliver an amazing experience that stimulates the memory of participants, long after the shows, jugglers and booth babes are gone. Last year, the cleverest award went to Sendio and their VP of Marketing Tim Lee-Thorp who invited Gary Thuerk, the man who sent the first spam message (actually an email marketing message) in 1978, to pose for photos with show participants. Here's my photo with Gary.
2008 was a bigger show, with more entertaining options than in 2007. Here are a few notes:
BlueCat Networks – which markets DNS servers had showgirls in cute, naughty costumes: thigh-length plaid socks and such. Most exhilarating to walk past let alone pause to let the young woman scan the badge.
Trapeze Networks – the Wi-Fi switching company had a unicyclist (on a 5 foot seat) that needed assistance from the audience and then started juggling plastic bowling pins.
Nokia – had a rock band trivia game that earned participants a T-shirt if they were the first one to get the answer right. The booth theme was something about Hard Rock or Rockin' Hard or something like that.
Foundry – had a lame video – presenter skit that was like a dating service, confessional in between the servers in a data center and insider video (like Blair Witch Project) with overbearing boss. All of the protagonists in the movies were meek and mild-mannered abused network managers so Foundry could offer a way out of the morass.
Cisco – schedule of presentations on IP Video, Branch networks and a few other topics that were pretty serious. It hurt.
Nortel – had a dozen booth pods including the Cisco Energy Tax Calculator, Telepresence, Agile Communications Environment, ICA products, Optical WAN products and others. There was also a presentation booth, but I didn't stay to see the story.
LifeSize – had a half-dozen video pods around the booth where each camera/monitor pair connected the booth to a product manager or sales specialist in headquarters in Austin. The inside sales team (about 8) and marketing professionals were all manning the booth. The large monitors and happy people in Austin was most entertaining, professional and of course it leveraged the product. One station had a clown at a desk in Austin making balloon animals and the like. Way cool. Best use of the product in a booth!
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