- What mistakes did I make? / What did I learn?
- How can I improve for the next convention?
- What went really well?
What Mistakes Did I Make? / What Did I Learn?
First Mistake: I did not prepare enough for the convention. Since it has been less than 4 months since my last convention, I figured that my team and I were prepared for this. However, it's amazing how rusty people can get in 3-4 months. We should have practiced our pitch and running demos.
Lesson Learned: No matter how prepared you feel, you're not prepared enough.
Second Mistake: I didn't make my booth welcoming enough. Not everyone is comfortable being talked to. They want to walk by your booth a few times before saying anything.
Lesson Learned: Make as much information visible to your passer-bys so that they don't need to talk to you.
Third Mistake: I loved GenreCon, but it may not have been the best convention for us. It was an "Everything Geek" convention, which is awesome. However, when you're at a catch-all convention like that and you have a product with a price point over $30, it's hard for people to justify making a purchase that large (in my opinion). I was pondering over the past conventions and expos I've been to and I don't think I would spend more than $20 at a given booth, nor would I spend more than 10 minutes there.
Lesson Learned: Pick the right conventions for you. If your game has a decent length demo (more than 5 minutes) or the price point is really high, look into a specialty convention. That way you're more likely to meet people in your target audience and you can make more of an impression.
How Can I Improve for the Next Convention?
- Make the prices (and other key information) more visible
We eventually got our booth there, but that wasn't until Sunday. The next convention will be much better.
- Streamline the demo down to 5 minutes or less
I have a lot of ideas for this. If you come and demo the game with us in the future, I'd love you opinions!
- Have my free swag have a call to action
I was thinking of listing out upcoming events, tournaments, and stuff to get people excited about the game. What do you think?
What Went Really Well?
After doing a post-mortem, I love to end off with some good thoughts. I do the same thing for retrospectives. The idea is to end on a high notes to remind yourself that things did go well and there are things to be grateful for. The two things that are huge successes for me were:
1) We did sell some of our product
Even though we were not at the perfect convention for us, we still met people who either bought the game or really wanted to (but couldn't because it wasn't in their budget for this convention). That was really great! Also, since we told a lot of people that Forbes Hobbies carries the game, the store also wanted to buy more copies from us. That was a great feeling.
2) We met amazing people! (Our true measure of success)
Despite being at our booth the whole time, we still got to meet a lot of great people and make a lot of really strong connections. Sometimes you can't measure success by sales or money. Sometimes you need to measure success by metrics like leads, connections, and enjoyment. And in those regards, we were very successful.
I think that's my post-mortem for GenreCon 2018. If you missed us there, then you can meet us at Kitchener Comic Con 2018 on March 3/4. More details here.
What advice do you have for running a vendor booth? What has worked for you? What has failed? Please share!