Now that your company has had it's six minutes of fame and perhaps even walked away with a plaque, cup or certificate atesting to your status as a Demo God, what will you do? What Will you Do?
+First and foremost get back to work, but make sure you take the time to assemble,organize, and deal with all of the contacts you made at Demo 2006. A meeting that includes everyone who attended Demo is entirely appropriate. Preparing for that meeting means your coworkers should organize the stack of business cards they collected at Demo and take time to physically note what they remember about the contact. That information can be the foundation of a strategically important knowledge base that helps your company benefit from its Demo experience and expenditures in the coming months.
+ Assign one person to followup on press contacts from the show. Make sure you've reserved your handouts from the show and don't assume that the reporter who met with your company for six minutes in the Demo Pavilion still has the press kit you stuffed in his hand. Over the years I've been astounded by the sheer number of companies who don't assemble and distribute electronic versions of the Demo press kits on their websites. Your web site should be a nexus where the press can find cu rent information on your company and as important, contact information for press inquiries.
+part of evaluating your press contacts from Demo is trying to understand what interests an individual reporter or what their primary beat assignments are. If it doesn't seem like a good fit with your technology, don't hesitate to call or email the reporter and find out the contact details of the reporter covering the appropriate beat.
+Take the time to learn what analysts are being quoted about products,companies and technologies that are similar to yours. Get information on your company in front of those analysts, but be prepared for sales pitches from "business development managers" and other sales types who want you to become a client of the "research company." (note, one of the sad facts of life about the research business is the concept of "pay for play." Unfortunately too few reporters take the time to ask analysts if the company they are talking about is a "client." It's a cold day in Hell when a pay-for-play analyst slams a paying client or notes that your new product may be better than that produced by a company's subscriber list.)
+Comb your Demo contact lists for the names of bloggers who understand your market segment and who may be able to use and write about your product. (Note, a good blogger will cover your technology warts and all, so don't expect them to blindly write only good things)
+Expand your list of potential bloggers by coming through trade weeklies such as PCWeek, InfoWorld and ComputerWorld, or Network World and note the names of relevant columnists/bloggers and task one person within your organization to make contact with media contacts that write hands-on stories. It's very important to make sure that contact understands what kind of environment is required to exercise your product, don't assume that every reporter or blogger has a gigabit Ethernet connection to a backbone network, a UPS, or a graphics card with 1.5 gbytes of memory. Based on what i read, I'm beginning to think that technical bloggers are becoming much more important than pay-for-play bloggers.
+Be prepared to compile, write and make publicly available lists of users who have tested your products. Make sure you get permission from the users for the press to contact them and make sure you supply the press with valid, current, contact information. Word of mouth endorsements are priceless in a crowded market, particularly when those recommendations are tied to quantifiable numbers ( including financial information)
For a good Post Demo evaluation of what a small start-up is doing to take advantage of its DEMO experience go to: http://saunderslog.com/2006/02/10/demo-two-days-later/. It's great advice for a small company returning from an exhausting show.
written from my outside office at 0900 on 2/13/2006 on a 72 degree sunny morning. 8-P to all you snow dogs.