October 2009


I’ve only got two more minutes on my time here at the Internet cafe – Thanks to my computer powercord dying – so here’s the quick update.

We sold over 100 cot covers.  Our way-crazy goal for this show was 100 and we’re at 114, if we count the two I just got from a guy who couldn’t make it back to our booth before the show closed.

We also shot some good video that I’ll share here and we took some cool pictures of the show floor.

We fly home tomorrow early, so I can get started on getting cot covers ready.

More tomorrow.

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We arrived in Boston yesterday (Saturday, October 24th) just after 1:00 pm.  We took a taxi directly to the convention center and found our booth.

We had until 4:00 pm to work on the expo floor, so we started right away.

We laid out all four pieces of our recycled flooring and, using carpet tape, secured it to the concrete floor.  The flooring is made from scraps of our most popular cot cover fabric.  I originally made two 5’x10′ sections for the Ohio FDA show in May.  They worked great (and saved us money on carpet rental) so I made an additional section to fit our 10’x15′ booth for the Kentucky FDA Expo in June.

Since our NFDA booth is 10’x20′ again this year, I made another piece of flooring so we’d have four 5’x10′ sections.  They travel well – we fold them along the sewing lines and they stack great – and are easy to put down quickly.

We’ve gotten pretty quick with the rest of our setup, so putting up the rack, organizing our product and dressing the cot and table took less than 30 minutes.

The only major difference for this show is that we didn’t bring our fake dressing table, so we used the boxes that we shipped our product in to create the table.  I also ordered 25 extra boxes so we can ship product right from the show after the expo ends.

We were finished by 4:00 pm and here’s the result:

KFDA Convention 007

Our friends at Failblog call this a “breaking news fail”:

epic fail pictures

Wanna waste a few hours of your time?  Check out all the hilarious stuff at www.failblog.org.

HERE’S SOMETHING I WROTE AND PUT ASIDE ABOUT A MONTH AGO:

Many of you have enjoyed the video interviews I’ve done at other conventions, including the 2009 Ohio and IFDF shows, and the 2008 NFDA Expo in Orlando.

Here are a few examples, to jog your memory:

Seems my ‘amazing’ interview skills and my casual style has caught the eye of my friends at NFDA, who called to discuss a joint project to give their exhibitors greater web-exposure at the next expo.

Basically, we’re talking about doing 1-2 minute interviews with exhibitors at the show and posting them on the web.  As the interviewer, I can impart a sense of “objectivity” so that it doesn’t look like an NFDA endorsement.  NFDA brings their considerable network and industry “bandwidth”, which means, in effect, eyeballs.

Since there are only so many interviews we can do without overwhelming viewers, we’re probably going to limit this to 25 participants and charge a fee for the service.  We are talking about enhancing an advertising opportunity that NFDA already offers on their website, the Featured Exhibitor listing on the Biz Exchange, by adding the video. 

The Featured Exhibitor listing currently costs less than $500 a year, so this new video function will probably add a few hundred bucks to the total, but that means having a “video demonstration” of your product online for at least a year (until the next expo) for all NFDA site visitors to check out.

Why video?  It’s a completely tangental answer, but I can offer these three dreaded words:  long car trip.

Here’s an experiment:  put a child in a car seat and drive 6 hours with nothing to occupy them but the scenery.  Recipe for disaster, right?  But something magical happens with video:  children (all people, for that matter) are placated by moving pictures and sounds.  Heck, some people can be mesmerized by the dumbest things.

Not that the interviews we shoot will be dumb, but the video component turns a static NFDA website into a multimedia experience, creating a desire to “drill down” into more content and encouraging repeat visits.

Plus, it makes NFDA’s site look that much more professional.  And it gives great exposure to companies trying to cut through the noise of 400+ exhibitors.

We’re still working out the details, but I expect that we’ll sell 25 of these things in no time.  I’ll get to make contacts with great people, my company and this blog will get awesome exposure on the NFDA site and NFDA members will have one more reason to check out the Biz Exchange, a great place for suppliers and funeral professionals to talk about their current needs and offerings.

Is it a win-win?  I’m hopeful about this one.

NOW FOR THE UPDATE:

We’ve labeled these our “Man On The Street” videos and we’re now offering them to vendors at the 2009 NFDA show.  For my part, I’m hoping to meet up with at least 10 exhibitors and shoot some great interviews that can go out on the NFDA website and be listed on Youtube for anyone searching for funeral-merchandise-related content.

Interested in more info?  Call Andy Werner with NFDA at 800-228-6332.  There are limited spots available.

As part of my work as a consultant to other funeral industry vendors, I often spend several hours discussing the specifics of how they will set up their booth, interact with prospective customers and act during the show.

In fact, I’ve written several articles about this, most of which boil down to “wake up and realize how important your trade show hours can be!”

I started out on the blog writing about Common Convention Mistakes.  Then I talked specifically about booth setup in Convention Tip: Get Away From the Table.

Having trouble getting people to stop at your booth?  Maybe you need to read my post,  2008 NFDA Convention: The Tired, The Hungry and The Bored, to see if your attitude needs an adjustment.

Finally, I cautioned exhibitors not to stuff their face, in the post, Hey, Vendors. Stop Telling Me How Hungry You Are.

Want to know how we make our conventions successful?  Read 2008 NFDA Convention: How Final Embrace Averaged 36 Sales a Day.

Other good reading?  Try these:
How Many People Will you Meet at the NFDA Convention?
NFDA Is Making Changes for 2009 Convention (And I’m Concerned)

Next week, I’ll talk about some specifics for the upcoming NFDA convention.  And I’ll tell you about a few opportunities for vendors to interact with Final Embrace and maybe, just maybe, improve your visibility to funeral directors all across the country.

Starting with covers sold at the 2009 NFDA Convention in Boston, all of our product will be made with a recycled quilt batting.  Until now, we’ve been using a batting made from polyester that had not been recyled.  To be fair, that was the only batting we had available.

But now, we can get our hands on Wellspring batting, which is spun out of the plastic that makes up 2-liter soda bottles.

Basically, they get a shipment of these from a recycler:

They melt it down, spin the plastic on a batting machine and produce this:

And it’s a recycled product!  Which means that instead of those soda bottles going into a landfill, they’re going into the cot covers we make.

The batting costs about 25% more than the old version, but we think it’s worth it to bring you a better product that respects our resources and reduces waste that would otherwise go to the dump.  But you won’t see your prices go up, since the batting is a small portion of the overall materials costs for our covers.

You know what’s even better?  This batting is actually softer than the old stuff and washes better too!