Trade Show Crashers – Lack of Ethics or Creative Thinkers?

The #expochat archive is now available as a PDF – Trade-show-crashers

Lately it seems crashing a trade show will get a company a lot of attention. Good attention in the media that is.

On December 12, 2012 INC. Online published “How To Commandeer a Trade Show: 4 Tips” by Don Rainey. He starts the article admitting he sees value in a trade show for marketing…

“You want to raise awareness of your company at an upcoming industry trade show, but you don’t have much money to spend. You know that participating in the tradeshow is the most effective option, but you can afford neither the high cost of booth space nor the booth needed to fill it.”

Then he goes on to outline some guerrilla marketing tactics that push the boundaries of ethical behavior. He goes on to say, “As part of the action phase, expect some backlash.  If someone gets mad, apologize and move on. Expect some losses.”

That article raised the ire of many in the industry, but it was nothing compared to this fella’ in “Confessions of a Conference Crasher” published online by Fast Company on February 25th. This guy actually stole a conference attendee’s identity. He is lauded by many commenters on this article as a “hustler” but they mean it in a good way…sigh.

This week on #expochat we’ll discuss this topic. Are they brilliant hustlers or unethical scourges…or are they in fact something in-between. Do shows have a responsibility to accommodate everyone regardless of their ability to afford the price or is this capitalism and you’re going to have to pay to play.

Are shows missing out on exposing their attendees to some awesome startups because they just can’t afford to exhibit? Are their creative ways we can help get them there at legitimate attendees?

Here are some other types of crashes for your entertainment…warning…there may be some foul language…not knowing Russian though I cannot be certain.

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About Traci Browne

Trade Show Consultant and Freelance Writer
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