If you are the marketing manager of a company and you are getting ready for a trade show, or rather, to be more precise, you are getting ready to THE FAIR, the most important one in the industry, internationally. The one that takes place every two years, which is a stage and an international showcase, an opportunity not to be missed. An investment of time, resources (human and economic), an important deadline within which to display one’s products, showing the completed news brochure (formatted, polished and scanned). And, maybe, getting there…. Alive.
If you face that, you know that the approach path is not easy. You have learned it personally after several years of experience. The path is steep, full of surprises, setbacks and difficulties. The approach period is long (the red date has been flashing on the calendar of your iPhone for months) and starts much before the first day of the fair but, at the same time, it seems very short, with the day of the debut approaching at gallop, and things yet to complete that seem to be one million.
You get to the day before the debut, when you are already at the stand. That lamp still seems to be hung crooked. The other one has not been assembled yet. There are no stools at the reception. Where did we put the USB pens we have to give customers tomorrow? Those bulbs do not fit that glass sphere. Did we really forget the biscuits we should give along with the coffee? The fair is all that. It’s light, it’s product. It’s about lamps, LEDs, but it is also about gadgets, sweets, vacuum-sealed Grana Padano cheese and salami packs coming from Italy (of course, you cannot show German food at a stand characterized by the made in Italy). The fair is composed of men, arms, hands that weave cables and hang wires.
The day before the beginning, everything seems to be in the weeds around your stand. Only late in the afternoon, they start laying the carpet in the common areas of the fair. You still see papers and cartons all around there. Then, as if by magic, the next day everything is shining. At 9 a.m., everything is clean and in order for the opening. The stand is perfect (and if there is still something wrong, you are probably the only one who knows). Your sales representatives are so quiet and smiling, ready to welcome prospects with a bright smile (despite they made efforts the day before and worked as much as you did). You are there, enjoying the show. Who cares if the red fingernails are already damaged and the hair set by the hairdresser is already floppy. It doesn’t matter if it is still 9 a.m. on the first day and you are already tired as if it were the last day. It doesn’t matter if something went wrong (is there anything going the right way??). All that – and much more – is the fair of light, is Light+Building 2016. And it was great to be part of it.