If you’ve ever attended or been a vendor at an industry conference, you understand that things get hectic. You’re networking with new people, trying to make sure you don’t miss any of the speakers, keeping up with what’s going on back at the office, and advocating for your brand. Since many of our team members have just returned from MJ Biz Con New Orleans, we have compiled a list of 6 helpful tips and tricks to help you navigate your next cannabis convention.
1) Lead Scanning Software
At MJ Biz Con New Orleans, we opted to add-on CompuLead software—the official lead scanning technology at this event. We are not paid to advertise for the program, so we can honestly say it helped the way we organized contacts. From built-in lead scoring to notes, each brand specialist was able to keep important information about their leads without scrambling for pens or losing business cards.
2) Leave-behinds, Leave-behinds, Leave-behinds
Cannabis conventions are the perfect opportunity to network with people in your industry. And, as we are in a new and emerging marketplace, there are even fewer options for professional networking. So, when the opportunity calls, people travel long-distances to ensure they are meeting peers, experts, and up-and-comers. This demand results in cannabis conferences with thousands of attendees—each of which are trying to reach as many people as they can in two days.
So how do you stand out?
As a compliment to your elevator pitch, the next most crucial thing you can do is provide a killer leave-behind—such as brochures, catalogs, business cards, promotional items, samples, or anything else you give someone to remember you. The best leave-behinds achieve these two purposes:
- Educates the recipient about you or your brand
- Provides a call-to-action or way to get in contact with you
3) Promotional Items that Resonate
In the same vein as leave-behinds, promotional items are used to help customers keep a brand top-of-mind. Although you’ll always have standard things like pens, bags, stickers, and shirts, don’t be afraid to branch out. If you do a bag, how can you make it different than anyone else’s? Or, if you’re trying to choose an item, select something that will speak to the target audience. Working in the cannabis industry allows you to order grinders with your company’s logo—how cool is that!?
Before you order, be sure to choose a print partner that understands your market and needs. As an ASI member, we have access to over 15,000 product options. From grinders and rolling trays to portable pipes and concentrate containers, all our smoking accessories are just waiting for your logo.
4) Come with A Game Plan
If you’re an attendee, research the vendors before you arrive. Doing so will help you map out where you want to go and allocate time efficiently—ensuring you don’t miss any session speakers and have more time for intentional conversations.
For vendors, try a shift schedule that will keep your booth adequately staffed and allow team members to walk-around.
5) Don’t Forget About the Basics
Clothing- Wear something business casual (or branded to your company) and comfortable. At MJ Biz Con New Orleans, the Uber drop-off point was mere steps from the entrance. But after hours of walking the isles and to-and-from speaker sessions, even the pros can get tired.
Water- Consider bringing a bottle to refill during downtime—this will keep you from having to seek out water when you could be networking.
Snacks- Be sure to check whether it will be allowed as it varies per venue but bringing a few snacks with you to keep you going throughout the day could be a lifesaver. As a vendor, we found ourselves talking through lunch then getting hangry around 2 PM.
Business Cards- Even with the scanning software, it’s always a good idea to have business cards on you. You never know who (or when) you’ll run into someone.
One-Pager- Informational material is critical for vendors but can also benefit attendees. You never know when you’ll find someone who could benefit from your company’s goods or services. It’s always better to err on the side of being over-prepared.
6) Send Stuff Ahead of Time
This one is specifically for exhibitors, but it’s extremely important. Send stuff ahead of time.
Invitations- If you have a great email list or a dedicated social media following, let your contacts know where they can find you. Shoot out an email (1-2 weeks before the convention) that includes your booth number, a map, or even an invitation to a party your hosting.
Props- The morning of set up is hectic—let alone if you’re trying to unload and transport large (heavy) boxes. Do some research on the conference you’re attending and see when/ where you can ship stuff to ahead of time. If you want, you can ship boxes one-by-one; however, we found it better to put everything on a pallet, so it all arrives at one time and nothing gets lost in the mail.
7) Have Fun!
It might sound cheesy, but it’s true. Although it’s important to keep it professional, it’s also an exciting time to be part of this growing industry. And if you haven’t been to one already, your first cannabis convention will shed light on the kind of energy you can expect to find.
At Gold Leaf Print & Packaging, we help brands create marketing collateral—whether it be business cards, letterhead, promotional items, and booklets or the packaging that consumers find on the store shelves.
If you already have materials, consider elevating your print with raised foil and varnish embellishments. Using our state-of-the-art MGI printer, our team of experts can create products that stand out from the competition.
Don’t know where to start? Let us help. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org, and one of our brand specialists will guide you through best practices and help you get ready for your next cannabis convention.
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