The majority of what gets written about after a conference closes is often limited to what was presented on the keynote stage. Make no mistake, SAP CEO Bill McDermott and co-founder Hasso Plattner shared plenty worth writing about at SAPPHIRE NOW 2018. But sometimes, there is plenty happening outside of the keynotes—even on the expo floor—that warrants attention.
Creating a buzz when you’re one of 226 exhibitors and you don’t have a two-story booth the size of a penthouse apartment is no small feat. Tricentis posted up against some absolute giants in the enterprise software technology space and hosted standing-room-only crowds all week long that often dwarfed those of our neighbors with far larger real estate.
It’s really not a secret how we did it, and we’re happy to reveal the “trick” we used. While some would say, “It was the guitars,” (more on those below) they would be mistaken. Just as SAP had to deliver a lot more than product news to attract 20,000+ attendees to SAPPHIRE NOW, Tricentis had to offer a lot more than our own product news and electric guitars to attract crowds like in the picture above.
Our secret was showing up to SAPPHIRE NOW knowing we wouldn’t have the biggest booth, or even the most expensive giveaway—but also ready to tell 13 impossible-to-ignore stories around what’s now required to maintain high software quality in business-critical SAP applications.
It also doesn’t hurt to have received Gartner’s highest score for enterprise end-to-end testing in their Critical Capabilities for Software Test Automation 2018 report in case anyone asks you to prove on the spot that you can do what you claim.
Highly-Valuable Lighting Talks
Too often, the lighting talks featured in conference vendor booths are nothing more than far-from-cleverly-masked product demos. And there is nothing wrong with product demos. We were thrilled to have been able to give so many demos all week long at SAPPHIRE NOW, and then schedule even more to be given after returning home. But if you bait and switch people in a lightning talk by giving the audience a couple of intriguing sentences at the start, and then launch into a completely generic demo that your audience could’ve just seen on your website, you’re going to lose.
We built an agenda of 13 stories that covered serious shifts in the demands, regulations, and expectations being put on enterprises today that affect testers, CIOs and everyone in between. We put some of Tricentis’ brightest product managers, solution architects, and directors on stage to deliver these talks, but we also brought in partners, customers, and former CEOs.
Our experts presented talks like:
To go along with our theme of creating “test automation rockstars” we gave away 12 Gibson Les Paul electric guitars over the course of the week. We also featured two local professional musicians who were thrilled to play for the thousands who strolled past our booth, and who posed for a pic with each excited winner.
The guitars were not only a hit with those lucky enough to take one home, numerous vendors wanted to know if we’d be bringing them back next year. And to other vendors’ credit, nearly every booth gives away something cool at this conference. However, a creative contest is far from enough to stand out among 200+ others who are each offering their own unique promotion.
Don’t get me wrong, fun giveaways are a great way to get people into your booth. But, it takes a lot more to keep attendees there, or, like we were able to do, to keep them coming back. “Hey, it’s you again!” I said to I said to a woman before we began our final talk and guitar giveaway. “I really hope you win this time, this has to be the third time I’ve seen you here.”
“Oh, I don’t care about the guitar,” she replied. “I’ve been waiting for this talk all week.”
I’d always thought our Tricentis booth staff was full of test automation rockstars; that line made it official.