May 9, 2019

Guerrilla marketing at an industry conference?


I'll be attending a highly relevant industry conference for my niche. I don't have the budget for a booth or sponsorship for my free and open source project which I'd love to promote.

I have some laptop stickers and flyers I could drop onto attendee seats between sessions. I wouldn't be the first risking getting kicked out by security for a promotional stunt.

Any other suggestions for how to take advantage of this event?

  1. 5

    I have seen companies use the entry and exit spaces.

    Park a car at the entrance with your sign, chalk a public sidewalk etc.

    If there is an attendee list, just manually reach out with a cold contact 'hey I'm going to be at this conference, would love to meet you' etc. Good luck!

    1. 1

      Didn't think of that...will check if you can get one without being a sponsor.

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        A lot of time they will provide a list in an app, or for attendees with just names and faces. But you can google to find info for those you want to reach out to.

  2. 4

    As a conference organiser that would really piss me off if someone did that. (Sorry!) Attendees might not like it either. And it could end up having a negative effect on you.

    Does the conference have pre-events? or an online channel? or a Twitter hashtag? Why not make use of those?

    1. 1

      Rosie, I absolutely understand your sentiment and thanks for the alternate suggestions. I'll definitely try to beef up my twitter game and am thinking of swapping out the flyers for some swag to wear. I'll also be on the lookout for some public meeting spaces for conference goers.

  3. 2

    Do not drop stickers and flyers around, but use this time to approach people in person.

    I did just that. I was promised a booth for free but a few days before the event they started asking an extra $ for it, so I told them to piss off. I still went to that conference because I had a ticket already. I ended up casually pitching visitors in person (not overselling it, but simply striking spontaneous conversations here and there), and thoroughly enjoyed my time being there.

    The funniest part was that the booth hall turned out to be super cramped, poorly lit and poorly ventilated. And since I had no booth, I didn’t have to stay there — I was free to roam around the venue!

    Also research if any tech bloggers or media will be there and try to get a bit of their attention. A friend of mine successfully pitched to a tech vlogger and managed to get into the final cut (I didn’t).

    1. 1

      Thanks Paul, have never attempted at schmoozing media before but there is a first for everything and if it works, the payoff could be huge. Thanks.

  4. 1

    I thought that would be a great idea too but it’s really hit and miss.

    Much better to take the time validating and networking then make an ‘ask’ in the follow up

  5. 1

    Prep is key for events. Find out who is going, memorize faces, find out what people have been up to lately and reach out. You can also set yourself a target for the number of people you want to meet.