Thoughts of a First-Time VMX-er
It’s a Sunday morning that feels suspiciously like a Monday as we descend the escalator to the lower level of the Orange County Convention Center. We flash our badges to the staff members standing guard in front of the door and they nod as they see the “E” for exhibitor nestled in the lower-left corner.
It’s the first official day of VMX (Veterinary Meeting & Expo) and two out of three of us in our trio have never been to a veterinary convention of any size before. As soon as we see the ever-expanding convention floor, we realize this is a massive one.
Luckily, the Beyond Indigo Pets booth is pretty close to the door, and we are soon setting up for Day One. We plug in the iPad so it displays website examples across the flat-screen tv, organize the new white ottomans in a pattern that is both comfortable and inviting, and set out our flyers on the tall table that rests in the front left corner of the booth.
And then we wait.
Hannah and I (Beth), the two convention newbies, fidget nervously. The sheer amount of people and noise is much more than we were expecting. Within the first twenty minutes of the show, someone walks by with a cute dog on a leash and we both inhale excitedly.
Before we know it, people come up to the booth to start conversations. We chat with current clients and people who are interested in learning more about our services. After each conversation, we pick up the Samsung smartphone we checked out from the convention center and scan the barcode on the person’s badge. This little device allows us to keep detailed notes of all of our conversations so we do not forget. You have no idea just how many people you will chat with over the course of the four-day convention, and we want to make sure to follow up on all of our great conversations.
From our spot in our corner booth, we witnessed a lot at VMX (and cultivated a few new inside jokes like Sad Siri, who earned her name for giving us driving directions to streets that sounded suspiciously like Violent Avenue and Sad Lake Road).
Here are a few of our favorites observations:
The Veterinary Industry is Huge
Like, huge. 15,000 people and 10,000 steps a day big. We spent four days at this convention and didn’t come close to seeing every booth. There is a product or service for any veterinary need you can imagine. From apps to cleaning products, there is something for everyone. This is true for veterinary services as well. Whether you are the owner of a small, specialized clinic or run a big emergency hospital, there is always a client who could benefit from your services. The trick is to send your message to the right people at the right time so they know you are there.
Cute Animals Are Great Conversation Starters
As mentioned above, the members of the Beyond Indigo Pets team are suckers for a cute animal. We got excited each and every time we saw a dog or a cat at VMX and waited in long lines to spend some time playing with puppies and kittens. Judging on the crowds around the animals, we are not the only ones who feel this way. Animal pictures and videos are great marketing tools for anyone in the veterinary industry. When you know how to use them the right way, they can instantly generate buzz for your business.
The booths that really stood out amongst the sea of banners and gimmicks were the ones that felt like they stayed truest to their core values. When you are trying to set yourself apart from competitors, people can sense if your message is something you actually believe or if you are just saying what you think they want to hear. Every single business has something that makes them unique, and it is those small details that can really attract new clients and tails through your door.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
The entire convention was something new, which was a little scary at first. Especially for our team who is used to working remotely and “meeting” virtually. Overall, it was a great experience that reminded me how much you can gain from simply trying something new. Whether you are thinking about adding a new service to your repertoire, or you are considering adding Call Tracking to your phone systems, don’t let the fear of something new keep you from making the next step forward for your business.
If you are ready to take your business up a notch but need help getting started, Beyond Indigo Pets is here for you. As experts in the veterinary digital marketing field, we know exactly what it takes to get new tails through your door. Contact us today to learn more about our services and what they can do for your business.