Trade Shows


This summer a good friend of mine — Brian Honigman, digital marketing manager at Marc Ecko Enterprises — felt like a fish out of water running his own exhibition booth for the first time at the 2012 Ultimate Fighting Championship Fan Expo.

The expo — an event designed for UFC fans to mingle with fighters and fellow fanatics — attracted about 10,000 attendees each day. Roughly a few thousand visited Brian’s booth daily.

Originally tasked with managing the social media marketing for the event, Brian was thrust into a leadership role on the last day, Saturday, when his superior — an orthodox Jew observing the Sabbath — had to refrain from working or using technology. This meant full expo exposure for Brian. He was charged with running all aspects of the booth, including making sure the sponsored fighters who were there to autograph merchandise arrived on time, were fed, and left the booth on schedule to make their next commitment. This was in addition to managing Ecko employees from local retail stores who were selling merchandise at the booth.

“The most difficult aspect of running an expo booth would have to be managing expectations without understanding my own expectations for how the event was supposed to be executed,” Brian explained. “As a digital marketer, I have little experience when it comes to event marketing and with this minimal understanding I had to take on more than I was comfortable with.”

Ecko Unlimited booth after the rake blending.

For his next show, he says, he’ll have an hour-by-hour itinerary. Despite forgetting a few “necessary items” like affordable food and water at the booth and a portable credit card machine, the expo was a success. Teaming up with a blender distributor for the expo, Ecko had MMA fighters grinding gardening rakes in the appliances in order to demonstrate the blenders’ power and draw attendees to the company’s booth — a noisy, eye-catching, and effective method.

“I was happy once the expo was over,” Brian said. “But it was important to go through that experience and learn another side of the marketing world. As well as what it’s like to fall on your face and then push forward.”

Sarah Beauchamp

Sarah Beauchamp was formerly assistant editor of Convene.