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10 Types of People You’ll Meet at Your Conference Booth


10 Types of People You’ll Meet at Your Conference Booth

Ben Roodman October 24, 2013

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?

Ben Roodman

Benjamin Roodman
Senior Contributing Editor
Benjamin Roodman is an advocate for getting to the truth of what converts in mobile. Well versed in mobile advertising platforms with a notable aptitude and passion for analytics, he's currently putting deals together as head of partnerships at a mobile data startup. Benjamin has previously held Business Development positions at AOL Advertising and helped establish several funded location-based consumer startups.
Follow me on twitter @BRoodman

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