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Trade Show Perseverance

April 25th, 2011 · 6 Comments · Trade Show Marketing

perseverance –noun 1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

trade show perseverance – noun 1. a quality, trait, or attribute required for trade show marketing success. 2. a post by the trade show guru.

I ran across a fascinating story the other day about the Legend of the Leatherman, the dapper gentleman shown on the left [image removed], which is the inspiration for this post. The amazing thing to me was that the “legend” is actually a true story. It took place back east (Connecticut) in the 1800’s.

In a nutshell: In Connecticut, shortly before the Civil War began, an odd vagabond dressed from head-to-toe all in leather appeared out of nowhere and started walking the same 360-mile circuit over and over again for almost 30 years. It was always the same clockwise route — starting in Danbury and heading east through Watertown to Middletown, then south down along the Connecticut River before turning west along the Connecticut coast to New Caanan, then back north into Westchester County, New York, before turning east again to Danbury. In all his travels he never engaged in conversation with anyone beyond monosyllabic phrases like “Eat” or “Yes,” nor did he ever stay inside, always choosing to spend the nights and winters alone in the great outdoors. His possessions included a walking staff, a leather satchel and the leather on his back. He also never worked nor accepted money, and would’ve made a terrific postman as neither rain, nor sleet nor snow nor dark of night could deter him from his self-appointed rounds. People could almost set their calendars by him as it took him exactly 34 days to complete a lap (depending on the weather).
I encourage you to click through and read the whole story here.

I can’t think of a better example of perseverance than the Leatherman (and it’s an amazing story). So what does the Leatherman have to do with trade shows? Well, if you want to be successful at trade show marketing, you need to have trade show perseverance. You shouldn’t dress like the Leatherman at your trade show booth (or smell like he must have), but you’ve got to show the same determination of purpose and have stick-to-it-ness. Your first trade show may not be a smashing success, but you need to keep at it. Learn from your mistakes, and go on. Of course, you need to remember that with trade show marketing, mistakes can add up quickly and cost a lot of money, so it’s important to plan ahead, prepare, have a clear plan and a clear marketing message, and go all out at the show.

Perseverance applies not only to trade show marketing, but to marketing, to business, to life in general, and even to blogging too. Based on the paucity of posts lately, you may have thought the trade show guru walked off into the sunset to join the Leatherman in the neatherworld, but I’m still here. I’m just busy with a lot of other things, but I’ll still pop in to post on occasion. Have no fear, the young lady below won’t be showing up on my home page any time soon.

But back to perseverance, and especially trade show perseverance in particular. Trade show perseverance is a critical element for trade show success. If your next trade show doesn’t go so well, figure out what went wrong and how you can improve, and then keep going (and maybe take the time to go through and read some posts on this blog!). Think like the Leatherman. Act like the Leatherman. Live like the Leatherman (metaphorically speaking, not literally). Be the Leatherman! Understand the importance of trade show perseverance and practice it, and be a trade show success.

And for you bloggers reading this, you want to succeed at blogging, you need to have blogging perseverance. You don’t necessarily need to be a regular and/or prolific blogger, but be sure to post at least every once and a while. Instead of watching another rerun of Seinfeld for the hundredth time, take the time to write a blog post. Just make sure it is worth writing and that you’re not contributing to the incredible amount of internet sewage out there (the subject of an upcoming post, perhaps). Whatever you do, keep your blog alive and don’t let your blog get taken over by the young lady shown here [image removed]… Speaking of this young lady, does anyone recognize her and know who she is, or what she has in her backpack, and why she is smiling (or is that smirking)? If you spend as much time surfing the internet as I do, I’m sure you’ve seen her before, and probably many times, though again, I have no idea who she is or if she has ever even been compensated for her “fame”.

But back to the inspiration behind this post. If you haven’t yet clicked through on the link above to read more about the Leatherman, let me give you another taste of the legend…

The Old Leather Man was found dead in March of 1889 in one of the many hovels he had built along his route, near Scarborough, New York. According to coroner’s inquest, he died from blood poisoning due to cancer which had ravaged his face and mouth — sounds like a fairly painful and nasty end, but as his whole existence seems to have been some sort of bizarre penitence, suffering terribly and alone may have been how he wanted to die.

Now go back up and click through and read more about the Leatherman. Also, don’t forget to let me know if you recognize the woman above and if you know who she is. And finally, remember, if you’re going to exhibit at a trade show, don’t forget to bring your trade show perseverance!


6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mitch Mitchell // Apr 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I’ve always wanted to know who that young lady is as well; I don’t think we’ll ever find out.

    As you stated, perseverance is a big deal, but so is flexibility. I use both for blogging, but I have to say that the last trade show I went to has given me pause and thought that maybe it’s not worth going to any more. I can only think of one table where the people had put any creativity into it, using technology to help, but most booths had no energy and nothing compelling me to even want to stop and talk to anyone. That’s a shame, especially as I also didn’t stop all that often to grab my share of candy. lol

    Glad to see a new post from you; keep it going.

  • 2 The Trade Show Guru // May 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    hi Mitch,
    Thanks for stopping by! It sounds like you recognize the young lady too. It amazes me how many websites she is on… 🙂 I just wonder if she is being compensated for her “fame”.
    Your point about some people that exhibit at trade show is spot on. It takes a lot more than just showing up to be successful. Steve

  • 3 Trade Show Magician // May 5, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Keep on keeping on. That’s a great message to share especially when the industry is going through some challenges. It’s a cliché I know but it all reminds me of Edison and the thousands of different materials he tried while inventing the light bulb. If we learn nothing else from him it’s perseverance. A nice reminder for us all.

  • 4 The Trade Show Guru // May 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    hey Anders,
    Edison is a perfect example of “smart” perseverance. He kept trying and trying, but he was also smart to not keep try the same thing over and over again, but instead kept trying different things until he learned what worked.
    Thank for dropping by. Steve

  • 5 Will // May 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Hey Steve – Great to see a new post! I had not ever heard of the Leatherman. I think I have said this before, but even though I have no interaction with the trade show industry I still find your posts on it fun to read.

    Just goes to show how many people will visit if you have great writing for them to read…. Oh, and pretty pictures for them to look at. Though as you say I have seen this one so often, it gets a bit old. The one on your 1-19-2010 post though. That on always leave me gasping for air!

  • 6 The Trade Show Guru // May 20, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Hi Will,
    I hadn’t heard of the Leatherman either, and found his story fascinating. I have know other people that are a little like him, who seem to march to their own drum no matter what others think. There’s something to be said for that philosophy. 🙂
    Thanks for the comment! Good to hear that one of the blog photos here left you gasping for air! 🙂 A nice photo of juicy red tomatoes will do that for me. Steve

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