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My first NAMM Show was in 1993. It honestly doesn’t seem very long ago until I do the math, which tells me that next week’s 2017 NAMM Show will be the 24th consecutive year I’ve attended the winter version of the event (as well as the many Summer NAMMs I’ve done in Nashville, but that’s a different topic). While it’s a little too late to make sure the 2017 NAMM Show all it can be, since it starts in less than five days, you can still put a few of these plans to use at this year’s show and in subsequent years.
• Host booth events. Don’t underestimate the power of having your products endorsed by well-known musicians, engineers, producers, and the like. Even if your products haven’t been adopted by celebrity endorsers that you can get to the show, any talented player can help show off your stuff. Making scheduled booth events of any kind gives people a reason to get to come see you.
• Use NAMM’s exhibitor tools. At the NAMM web site, under the Exhibit menu, visit the Exhibitor Dashboard. You’ll find a list of helpful tools that allow you to better promote your products at the show, like being able to have your booth events be listed in the official NAMM mobile app and getting your press releases out to the media.
• Don’t forget booth signage. At NAMM, you’re in a sea of other exhibitors. Don’t assume that your customers can easily find you, or notice what products you’re promoting at the show. Exciting booth signage both for brand ID and product promotion is an old but good idea.
• Demo, demo, demo. Look, people can see and often hear your products on web sites, on YouTube, and all over the place. What can you give NAMM visitors that they can’t just as easily get form the comfort of their homes? Live demonstrations, showing the unique advantages of your product. NAMM demos can take many forms, from a person performing on an instrument to a huge multimedia demo on a stage, and everything in between. Watch some demos at the show, and think about how your brand can adopt some of the features of the good ones.
• Get press. The media coverage you can get at NAMM can last far longer than the four days of the show, and be much more impactful long-term. Contact magazine editors and writers, as well as popular bloggers. Set up appointments for them to get to your booth to give them the news and a special demo of your new product. Have press releases and product images available to them immediately. Also, be ready to wow them when they arrive; NAMM is a busy time for our industry’s press, and the last thing you want to do is not be prepared if you’re lucky enough to get a visit from them.
• Make your end users feel like part of the show. Not everyone gets to come to NAMM, so you should be prepared to take your NAMM theme and get it out far beyond the walls of the Anaheim Convention Center. Use your web site and social media to pre-promote what will be happening at your booth, and then get the non-attendees involved by posting live video streams, news updates “from the floor”, and more.
• Stay focused. I’ve seen the success of some NAMM exhibitors derailed because they get caught up in the excitement of the show. Your goal there is to do business. Sure, there are great musicians and concerts to see, and often old friends in the industry to greet. But if you’re spending the money to exhibit at NAMM, your reason to stay focused should be clear. Stay healthy going into the show; get plenty of sleep; don’t overindulge in anything that’s going to hamper your ability to be effective at the show.
At this year’s show, I’ll be spending most of my time with my main exhibiting client, ESP Guitars (upstairs in Booth 208A/B), and I’m happy to say that they are fully ready to kick ass at NAMM 2017. Come see for yourself.