Trade shows are great places to find contacts for future interviews.
Which customer job function is usually the most difficult to get into a Discovery interview? Most teams would say it’s the marketing function. The good news is that trade shows and conferences are filled with marketing people. You can locate the trade shows attended by marketing folks in your target market by going to www.blueprintingcenter.com > BlueTools > Market Research Tips Sheet. Near the bottom, you’ll see a directory of trade associations.
Be considerate of the time demands these marketing people face: They’re at the trade show to sell… not be signed up for interviews. Check for natural “lulls” on the trade show floor: There are times when most attendees are attending a major presentation, and the marketing people at the booths have little to do. You may also find the traffic slows down near the end of the show, and they’ll have more time to talk with you. Keep your “pitch” short: You’d like to call them later to discuss ways you can bring exciting innovation to their company… so they’ll have even more exciting products to market at future trade shows.
In addition to marketing people, be on the lookout for management personnel at these shows. Here you might want to have one of your more senior people approach them. Finally, this is a great place to find industry experts and consultants. If you find some you like—especially in a market that you’re not familiar with—you might schedule a one-hour web-conference interview with them (which you’ll pay them for.)
In the next BlueHelp article, How to conduct interviews at trade shows, you'll see how to use trade shows not just to find interview prospects, but to conduct the interviews themselves.
Keywords: trade show, industry fair, trade conference, industry event, trade expo, trade exposition, trade convention, trade association, Market Research Tips Sheet