In the words of Jim Anchower, one of my favorite all time Onion columnists, I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya, but the pedal is to the metal right now, if you know what I mean.

Alongside progressing a host of exciting content and platform partnerships that I’d love to tell you about (but should wait for the ink to dry first or the lawyers will send in the big dogs) we’ve been trying to get ready for our first BETT.

For those of you who don’t know about it or have never been BETT is THE elearning industry trade show in the UK. It’s run over 4 days and held in Kensington Olympia in London. I’ve been many times, occasionally manning a stand (tough, tough work), most times as a visitor and last January as a one man band bugging whoever would listen that ode was coming.

This time we have our own stand: N30 on the upper balcony. It’s 4m x 2m (about the same size as a walk in wardrobe) and will be our first outing in the glare of the public. Up until now other people have always set stands up for me but going through it this year for the first time I have a new found respect for those people who organise these trade show events.

Trust me, it’s a labour of love and frustration. And the whole time you cannot shake the feeling that it’s a lot of money with a questionable return on investment. So you have to know why you are going and how to measure success. These are some of the major questions we have had to ask ourselves…

  1. Why are you going? Strangely enough, the answer to this is usually because everyone else is so you should too. But it’s always a good idea to have a secondary interest and know what you want to get out of it before you go. We want to meet any content/platform companies interested in ode and get them on board. And if any educators want to join in as beta users even better. We will have a little postcard thing to fill out just for that purpose.
  2. Who is going to run your stand? This is important – remember these folks will be meeting your customers and clients face to face, perhaps for the first time. Can they sell your idea? Are they all aware of what to say and how to get value from visitors to your stand? You may also have to have a thick skin as people may knock or not be impressed by your product. You must certainly have a strong bladder. Then you have to rota everyone, organise the hotel, sort out stand food, a place to hang your coats…
  3. How do you want your stand to look? We’ve employed a proper agency to design it for us. Left to our own devices it would have been a cardboard box with a laptop on it.
  4. What do you want people to wear? Suits? T-shirts and jeans? Some sort of all in one star trek type velor jump suit?
  5. Who will come to your stand? It’s worth analysing who is likely to be interested in your product. Obviously we are brand new so no one has heard of us. Ultimately we want to engage with potential content suppliers who are also exhibiting at BETT and hopefully sign up a handful of interested teachers to contribute to how ode works. With all the huge educational suppliers dominating the show it’s unlikely we will register on most visitors radars but some may stumble on us – you are very welcome.
  6. Should you give something away? I cannot believe some of the pointless freebies I have picked up over the years – branded pens, fluffy gonks, lightbulb erasers, highlighters, paper weights, mousemats and the current freebie du jour, the USB memory stick. So, to save some money, we thought we’d look more original by NOT giving any freebies out. There will be minicards though.
  7. What’s your contingency plan? Something will go wrong I promise. Someone could go sick, the internet connection could drop out, the product could crash in front of an important customer or client, meetings could be missed, your logo might be misspelled on your stand banner, your stand could be right next door to Loud-House-Music-And-Shouty-Salesperson-Software-Company, someone could trip on a loose carpet tile and douse one of your monitors in coffee and so on. Have a selection of back up steps to cater for Muphy’s law.

Dealing with all this will cost you a fortune but you can make some brilliant contacts at events like this.

We’re not selling anything except the opportunity to collaborate with us. Even if it all goes wrong and we’re reduced to the cardboardbox/laptop scenario we’d still love to speak to you. So if you are interested in ode in any way please book an appointment with us by emailing support@odeworld.co.uk .

See you there!

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