GEN CON BOOTH – $1,000
INSURANCE & POWER – $250
BANNERS & FURNITURE – $190
PROTOTYPES – $380
SHIRTS (STAFF & VOLUNTEERS) – $250
SWAG – $110
EXPERIENCING GEN CON FROM THE EXHIBITOR SIDE – PRICELESS
Happy Labor Day!! It is good to be back home from Gen Con and at another con this weekend.
This was the first year that Cosmic Wombat Games purchased an exhibitor booth at Gen Con. It was a great experience and one I am glad we had. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Of course, I did make some observations along the way and I am happy to share them with you here.
1. BE PREPARED FOR CONVENTIONS TO BE WORK AND NOT PLAY
As an exhibitor, you have committed to working the convention. You no longer get to be casual and play games the whole time. Of course this isn’t bad. I actually enjoyed meeting all the people that came by our booth and getting to interact in person with some of our Kickstarter backers. It’s just something you should be aware of if you decide to get a booth. You will spend the hours of 9am to 6pm stuck in that booth and then after that it’s off to meet with other publishers and designers, network with people from the industry, and generally work to build your brand.
2. THE MINDSET OF DOLLARS GAINED VS DOLLARS SPENT ONLY SERVES TO DERAIL GROWTH
I have heard so many times, “Is getting a booth worth it?”, “I don’t have product to sell”, etc. As you saw above, we spent over $2,000 on Gen Con and didn’t sell a single product. Was this worth it? Absolutely YES!! Exhibiting is more than about how much you take in versus how much you give out. For that matter building a business is more than that as well. We were there to build our brand. As a new company just starting out, the intangible benefits are far greater than just turning a profit. The profits will come, but only if we work to build our brand and to connect personally with our customer base. Having a booth enabled us to do this in ways that any other presence at Gen Con would not.
3. THAT HOUR AFTER 6PM WHEN YOU GET TO HANG OUT IN A QUIET, EMPTY EXHIBIT HALL IS THE BEST
There is no feeling quite like the feeling you get when the loudspeaker comes on and announces, “Attention Gen Con attendees, the time is now 6pm and the exhibit hall is now closed. Please make your final purchases and head toward the exit.” It’s not that we didn’t enjoy interacting with our customers. We very much did. But that down time, that time where you can relax and take in all you accomplished that day is vital to good mental health throughout the convention.
4. HAVING AN EXHIBITOR BADGE IS KIND OF AWESOME
There was that one night, late at night, when I actually had an opportunity to go to the game library. I had forgotten to buy any generic tickets and I was fully expecting for them to not let me in. I was pleasantly surprised when they saw my exhibitor badge and said, “exhibitors get in free.” Wow, that was kind of awesome. It was also a rush to walk past the throngs of people waiting to get into the exhibit hall in the morning and just flash my badge and walk right in. I know, little things impress me.
5. HAVING A TEAM OF EXCELLENT PEOPLE IS ESSENTIAL
Our team of designers and our team of volunteers are amazing people. Every time we needed them to demo a game or work in the booth, they were there – ready, willing, and able. The volunteers took the time to learn our games and showed up on time (even at 8 in the morning) to show those games to our customers. I cannot recommend enough (if you are going to exhibit) getting yourself a good team that you trust. Make sure everyone that will be demoing your games at events or will be working in your booth knows every game in your catalog. They may be asked to demo anything at a moment’s notice. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to make a connection because someone didn’t know a particular game.
Overall, it was a great experience and one I would highly recommend if you are a publisher (or self-publisher) and have the means to do it. Entrepreneur’s Avenue is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door.
We are excited to exhibit again next year (this time with product to sell)! So, look for Cosmic Wombat Games again in the exhibit hall. If any of you were exhibitors please share your experiences in the comments. Also, if you would like to see us do something new and unique with our booth, let us know in the comments. We are always open for suggestions.