Essen is coming close and so, many companies are running around like crazy to get everything set for this great convention. There are several things that one has to take care of before attending the Essen SPIEL fair. Booth, advertising, games, people that will be at the booth, appointments, and it all becomes a mess in your head sooner or later.
So this is the guide that we have created to help us be a bit more focused.
One year earlier:
Book the booth. Pretty much right after the fair is over you can just go and book your booth. So that’s what we try to do. The earliest you book the booth, the more the chances to actuallly find the space you are looking for. Things can get tricky here, as negotiations will probably take some time. You want one hall, they can give you the other. In general the staff is very helpful, so you will be able to find a satisfactory solution. Also, book your hotel. Yes now, or it’s going to be too late as rooms disappear from Booking.com in a blink of an eye.
10 months earlier:
It’s December, so it’s probably the time that you are doing your marketing plan for the year to come and your budgeting. So it’s time to allocate some budget for the Conventions in general and for advertising for them. Academics say that the budget allocated to marketing should be about 30% of your overall budget. This is 1/3 of your overall money you have. And it is not too much. So make sure you figure out those numbers. The more you break down the cost the better.
6 months earlier:
You should probably have a clear view of the games you are going to have at Essen. So you should make a list of the stock you are going to bring with you. Figure out the quantities you estimate you are going to sell. If you sell it all it’s all the better as you won’t have to pay for the stock to return to your warehouse. But don’t get trapped into that and not get enough stock with you for the 4 days of the fair.
It is also a great time to start making arrangements on how your booth will look like. Do you need furniture? Are you buying, renting, constructing your own?
4 months earlier:
Start communicating that you will be at Essen. Yes it’s around 2 months before GenCon by now and people will most likely have their eyes set on that. But if you are not visiting GenCon, it is a good opportunity to let people know where they can see you in person.
3 months earlier:
Have the booth details all figured out. This includes: Furniture, ads to be placed around the booth, such as banners, advertising material that you will need at the booth, like promos, pins or flyers, whether you need electicity and internet. If any advertising material needs to be printed you should start printing by now. Also figure out how many people you will need at the booth and what you are going to offer them. It’s a good time to start looking around to see who can work for you at your booth, if you don’t have enough in-house staff. Also, book your flights!
2 months earlier:
Gen Con has finished by now so everybody is taking a break. You should take a break too 🙂
1 month earlier:
That’s September. By now you almost have everything sorted. The only thing that’s missing is the appointments you will do with other publishers, distributors, reviewers, and other players in the industry. Make a list of the people you want to meet and sort them by importance. Send an email to the one’s you don’t want to miss first, especially if they are bigger players in the market who are usually busier, as you have higher chances to actually
schedule a meeting with them. Cross check the stock you will have, as you might have to hand out review copies too.
3 weeks earlier:
We are now in the final chapter and the things you will do now depend on your personal timings. How long does it take for your warehouse to transfer your things to Essen? Are all your meetings scheduled? If not send kind reminders to all you need to meet. Also start sending around press releases to be posted in the media with your Essen SPIEL releases. Make a check list with the things you are going to take with you. Don’t forget basics, such as stationary and business cards!
1 week earlier:
Start packing and off you go! Print all the papers regarding your bookings, get your exhibitor passes and a camera. You are ready to go!