Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lost Opportunity

The second annual Expat Show was on this weekend at the China World
Trade Center. And as I went last year the organizers had my email
address and bombarded me with emails in the last few weeks, promoting
the event and announcing which companies would be there.

I've been on both sides of the fence at these kinds of things. As a
visitor you're interested in knowing what's new or at least have some
kind of scoop on a deal that can only be had at the show. And as a
promoter, it's important to look energetic and eager to meet people so
that they have a good impression of your company and remember you.

But the problem is that at many of the booths today, the big cheese
marketing and sales guys didn't want to waste their time on these
events and sent their underlings instead, who didn't care or
understand the significance of these shows.

The Marriott group of hotels had at least six people manning its booth
-- and five men in suits sat down chatting amongst themselves while
one woman also in business attire smiled and handed out cards
promoting a newly-opened hotel in Beijing.

I told her that I would be staying at their Tianjin property later
this week for the Dragonboat Festival holiday, thinking this might
entice her to do a promotional sales pitch on me, but she didn't seem
to care at all.

If senior managers were there and smart enough, they would have taken
down my reservation details and make sure I will have a good time in
their Tianjin hotel, or in any of their Beijing hotels. That's how you
build brand loyalty, but it wasn't on their radars.

The same was with both English-language papers, China Daily and Global Times.

They basically hired students to man their booths and hand out free
papers, hoping for the odd subscription. Again senior managers should
be there chatting people up and encouraging them to subscribe. And why
not have laptops showing the news website as well? Lost opportunity.

Meanwhile Time Out magazine got its act together.

The editor and another staff member were sitting at the booth which is
appealing because when you meet people directly involved with the
product or service, you are more interested in talking to them,
especially with a magazine you read regularly -- and they appreciate
the instant feedback they get from people too.

They were trying to encourage people to sign up for a year's
subscription for 100RMB ($14.65) and have a chance to spin a
multi-coloured wheel for a prize, including an iPod or a one night's
stay at the Hilton Wangfujing.

I thought the subscription price was a deal and signed up right away,
and then I was invited to spin the wheel.

It was covered in blues and reds and yellows, but only two thin slices
were in green which were for the top prize.

I spun the wheel and for a moment felt like I was on The Price is Right.

And it landed... on green.

Not having caught on the iPod craze yet, I will probably become an
addict very soon.

While I already like Time Out as a product, I definitely like it much,
much more.

1 comment:

ks said...

congrat. i like my i-pod touch. i can send e -mail at yvr airport or any spot with wi-fi. it is fun to use. also i have tracks of my favorite music stored , and pictures too.