Last month we attended the annual retail supershow known as NRF. (Officially it’s the “National Retail Federation’s Big Show” but everyone just uses the acronym.) Held in Manhattan, it is indeed big – with more than 600 exhibitors vying for the attention of some 35,000 attendees.
It’s tough to stand out, particularly if you’re not a top sponsor or aren’t dropping big bucks on a huge booth. But this year, we cracked the code and found our groove, generating a lot of attention (both on site and online) and walking away with two new deals.
How did we do it? Here are five takeaways.
1. Go Simple
Simplicity cuts through the clutter. While every other booth was crammed with buzzwords, we kept our messaging simple: “The Best CMS for eCommerce.” Anyone walking by had just a few words to read and a straightforward claim to consider. And this led to people asking us, “So what makes you guys the best?” – a question we love to answer.
We also went with a simple booth design, featuring the largest screen we could get. That made it easier for people to see our demos from across the hall. Attendees appreciated that we put our product front and center, available for all to see. In software, transparency counts.
2. Be Bold
To stand out, you also have to be memorable – and that means taking risks. Our new corporate identity is all about bold colors, meant to illustrate the idea that CoreMedia has employees with “unique talents” working on “vibrant concepts.” It’s a playful way to show our creative side, and people at NRF had fun snapping photos with us and sharing them on social media.
The Javits Center is a noisy place. But rather than trying to be louder than everyone, we went the other way. For our demo, we handed out “silent disco” wireless headphones so people could watch our presentations in peace. It was a nice way to create curiosity by doing something unexpected yet powerful, which is one of our hallmarks.
3. Have Fun
Retail is serious business and enterprise software is a serious investment. But everyone appreciates a little playfulness. Our new series of viral videos – “Americans Try to Decipher German Technical Terms” – are exactly that. These amusing shorts show Americans trying to figure out long and complicated German words, only to discover that the translation is simple.
The analogy is that CoreMedia simplifies complicated retail challenges. But rather than just say it, we decided to show it in a fun way. (Plus we invited a few attendees to shoot videos for this campaign, which was a blast! You can see the whole series here.)
4. Team Up
Smart companies know you’re only as good as your team. We had a great group of folks on the ground running our demos, meeting with prospects, and handling on-site logistics. We had numerous staff members providing support remotely, particularly with social media. And we teamed up with our partners to drive additional awareness – specifically Astound Commerce, who sponsored a very successful nightly happy hour with us.
We were also excited to see many of our clients – including Tommy Hilfiger – giving keynotes about the future of retail. We love working with luxury brands to help them make the most of their content, and it’s great to see them sharing their success in settings like NRF.
5. Provide a Vision
At a big trade show, it’s not enough to talk about your solution today. Retailers want to know what you can do for them tomorrow. Because, as hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, you don’t skate to where the puck is, you skate to where it’s going to be.
So we set up a tech talk with our charismatic CEO Sören Stamer, who spoke about the emerging need for “online flagship stores.” His argument is that retailers need to merge their separate brand and commerce sites or risk leaving money on the table. And he makes a very solid business case for it. Get more information here.
The overall feedback? As our good friend Bob Balfe from IBM said, “Nailed it.” Doesn’t get any better than that.
And as a bonus, here's our highlights reel: