Fish Where the Fish Are

Need to Tell Your Client’s Story to the Media?

Catch Them Where Success is a Virtual Guarantee – at an Industry Trade Show

As communication professionals, we all have come to learn that the basic premise of marketing is to deliver the right message through the proper channels to impact a desired target audience.

Or as legendary advertising icon Earle Palmer Brown once told me, “take the right fishing rod in the best boat you can find and ‘fish where the fish are.’”

While this philosophy certainly holds true for both traditional advertising and social media, those same principles also apply to the world of public relations.  Create the ideal message, deploy the most powerful and effective communication channels you can find and then deliver that message succinctly and directly to your target audience.

Only instead of targeting government officials, industry leaders or the general public, when it comes to media relations our target audience consists of editors, reporters, producers, directors, assignment managers, photojournalists, bureau chiefs, desk editors and bloggers.

And when tasked with the mission of introducing a new, innovative, groundbreaking or game-changing product, where can you find the largest singular gathering or collection of such people?  All together and all in one place?

At an industry trade show, of course.


Because for three, four or five days, anywhere from five hundred to five thousand members of the media gather at some of the world’s leading shows, conventions, expositions and meetings with one singular purpose in mind – to cover the news of that particular industry emerging from this one highly-specialized and finely-focused special event.

In other words, these events spawn an army of journalists – large, small and in between – all of whom are looking for stories.

Fish where the fish are … indeed …

Here in Washington, D.C. the public relations firm of Brotman|Winter|Fried Communications has perfected a trade show public relations strategy and they shared with us their thoughts on how to design a campaign that will maximize client exposure at these events, and in the process take full advantage of every benefit such shows have to offer.  The biggest of them all is, of course, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which attracts more than 5,000 members of the media; but other events – such as CTIA Wireless, South-By-Southwest, Toy Fair, the Home+Housewares Show, Infocomm, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Global Real Estate Convention, the International Association of Assembly Managers (IAAM) Conference & Trade Show, even the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show – all operate under the same principle:  gather the biggest names in their respective field under one roof and then invite, encourage and support the efforts of the media who follow and document that industry.

And while each show offers different opportunities and presents different ways of securing coverage, from a campaign management perspective, the same general philosophy applies to each event.

BWF suggests embracing the following principles when it comes to promoting products at trade shows:

1.     Hopefully you will start with a great product, but even if the product is less than stellar, you need to identify some unique selling propositions.

2.     Learn nuances of each particular show – every show is different.

3.     Compile media lists through various sources including the lists provided by the shows.

4.     Begin the communication phase early.  Send multiple releases over a short period of time.  Remember, you’re competing with thousands of other companies for a journalist’s brief attention span.

5.     Engage in early follow-up efforts, weeks before the show instead of days – and through those follow-ups, build relationships

6.     Take advantage of all free or cost-effective opportunities associated with the show.

7.     Seek out existing media events.  Some shows offer media showcase events to which they invite large numbers of media.  Take advantage of those.

8.     Partner with the show – find features offered by the show and use the ones that are cost-effective and that make sense.

9.     Look for 11th hour opportunities, some of which are offered by organizations outside the scope of the show itself.  Several such opportunities can be extremely cost effective if purchased at the last minute.

10.  Lastly, have a major presence on-site.  Engage in social media activities from your client’s booth, work the show floor and book meetings and interviews.

Follow these rules and you are assured to get produce optimal exposure results from your trade show experience.

-Thanks to Steve Winter (, 703-533-4825) President of Brotman|Winter|Fried, a Sage Communications Company for the incredible information! Is your company ready for tradeshow PR?  Contact BWF!

Why is it so hard to focus?

undercover Printer

How does this happen? We start the year with plans of fabulous marketing, attending events, displaying at trade shows, following up and volunteering on boards & committees. We have great intentions of doing it all and doing it great! Then, a little thing called Time Management steps in and squashes our best laid plans of excellence. I am one of the worst offenders of this. I just keep running out of time!

Can’t wait for February’s extra day this year? Then read on…Some of the most common time crushers I’ve found:

1. Shiny Things: Nothing like ditching your project for something prettier! Whether it is a last minute happy hour with friends or pulling a few weeds from the garden, there is always something more attractive than getting done what we really don’t want to do. Through extensive coaching and practice, I am learning to “eat the frog” and get those painful tasks done first, so I can play without guilt when the occasion arises.

2. Bonfires and S’mores: Nothing gets me off track more than having to put out fires. My dedication to customer service takes precedence over all else and I will drop everything when I hear that something may not be going right with a client’s order. But, once I am off track, then I am off to something sweeter. How easily I forget! I really have no remedy for this, as I cannot say no to a tasty chocolate treat – I just try to get back on track when the last marshmallow is eaten.

3. Staffus Interuptus: Pretty self explanatory and probably the #1 reason I don’t get things done. If your business is in the stage of growing your team and delegating tasks that once were only in your head, your staff is in need of a lot of feedback and direction. Staff training and written policies have helped this a little bit, but I found two things that seem to guarantee my focus: shutting my office door and staying out of the office completely.

Staying on track all comes down having a plan and sticking to it as close as possible. All of the stories I’ve read of successful people have one thing in common – they have a laser focus on their goals that gets them where they want to go. So, avoid the shiny objects and yummy s’mores and ‘focus grasshoppah.’


My Marketing Just Doesn’t Work!

I hear it over and over: “My marketing isn’t working!” Well, sometimes that is true. You’ve spent the time perfectly crafting your message and put it out there, but there is no response!

There could be many reasons for this.

  1. Your message is hitting the wrong target. Did you take the time to research and pinpoint your target market and direct that marketing message to them specifically?
  2. You haven’t hit the target enough times. Experts say your message must hit a prospect anywhere from 5 to 20 times before it registers. How many times did you attack with the same message?
  3. You need professional help. (No, not THAT kind of help – I mean marketing help!). Consult a marketing and design professional about your message. Are you saying the right things and putting together a piece that grabs your prospects attention – and keeps there attention?

Ok, you’ve done all of the above and it’s STILL not working? Change it up! Change the method you are using to target that market, change your message, change your target! Whatever you do – don’t do nothing -that never works!