The Tech Conference season is upon us and we’ve all been there; stuck at a booth making small talk with the best, worst, and weirdest in the industry. As I was at a booth during one of the more recent tech showcases, I had the opportunity to reflect on the types of characters one meets while working a conference booth. Here’s my top 10:
1) The Outsource Development Firm
Who are they: Likely Ukrainian.
What are they talking about? Pitching your booth on their services.
Why are you talking to them? If you have the most fully complete product spec and have no interest in maintaining your application, they’re your best friend.
2) Free Swag Swipers
Who are they: Freeloaders.
What are they talking about? Candy, bottled water, gum, pens, t-shirts, and thumb drives.
Why are you talking to them? They entered your contest to win an iPad and now they’re on your email marketing list.
3) Foreign Analyst and Investors
Who are they: Bystanders looking for ideas to clone internationally.
What are they talking about? How they’ll bring your product to market in China.
Why are you talking to them? Someone has to take home all those conference brochures you printed.
4) What If Your Company Did X Person
Who are they: Wannabe brainiacs on how to improve your offering if only you did this one feature.
What are they talking about? I’m sure your team has never thought of this idea before…
Why are you talking to them? They’re not here to actually purchase your product or influence purchasing decisions, but it’s an engaging conversion that makes your booth look like it has an interested crowd.
5) Affiliate Marketers
Who are they: People who know too many dark secrets on how the Internet actually monetizes.
What are they talking about? They’re here to help you monetize your app.
Why are you talking to them? They’re major conference exhibitors but won’t be in business the next year.
6) Person Who Knows Your CEO
Who are they: People who almost know the first name of your company’s CEO.
What are they talking about? How they owe your CEO an email from a previous conference panel they were on together.
Why are you talking to them? They probably do know your boss.
7) Person Who Knows Your Company Too Well
Who are they: Someone who actually Liked your company’s Facebook page.
What are they talking about? TechCrunch, Business Insider, and your company’s latest funding raising news.
Why are you talking to them? Because you’re like your social media manager. Give them a t-shirt for being a super fan.
8) Other Exhibitors
Who are they: Previously strangers to the left and right your booth, but now you’re going to spend the next few days side by side.
What are they talking about? Some social app that monetizes photos. It’s probably a total scam compared to your offering.
Why are you talking to them? Because your forgot your iPhone charger.
9) Your Buddies
Who are they: Industry friends, Business partners, & Former coworkers.
What are they talking about? How we should catch up soon and grab coffee next week.
Why are you talking to them? You’re actually excited to see them.
10) Actual Leads
Who are they: Unicorns. Developers. Advertising media planners.
What are they talking about? They’ve surprisingly never heard of your company before, but have the ideal customer background.
Why are you talking to them? To cherry pick their business cards for sales follow ups.
My feet hurt, I need a bathroom break , and I haven’t eaten lunch. When’s the after party?