How conventions can change businesses

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MIGGY CASTAÑEDA

Getting a product out there on the market tends to pose the biggest challenge for businesses. For some of them, the thought of attending a convention to network or introduce a new product could be daunting, sometimes even dreadfully boring.

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Conventions can be outrageous, days-long events that end up with people taking home very little in the way of knowledge, though more in terms of company-banded freebies. This shouldn’t always be the case.

Taking a deeper look into the entertainment side of the manufacturing business, companies can take advantage of conventions to market upcoming products and give people a foretaste of what’s to come.

You’ve probably never thought of something like the Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, or ComicCon as something that involves business. The thing is that it does, and it’s all shrouded in the haze of marketing materials, people in costumes, and the energy of fans who attend these events.

After this year’s E3, major game developers, console makers and sellers saw a rise in the stock prices of, for example, BestBuy – a retailer of consoles and games – which hit an all-time high following the announcements made at this year’s E3. From its April performance, it drove E3 up +20.98 percent on the back of a combination of pre-orders and purchases.

A perspective to take into account is that of Sony. Prior to the company’s ascent to being one of the top console makers in the world, it mostly dealt with other electronics, leaving the gaming market to the likes of Nintendo, Sega, and Microsoft. All that changed in 1994 with the release of the Sony PlayStation and the expansion of Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Over two decades later, more than 20 percent of Sony’s annual revenue comes from the exceptional sales of their PlayStation 4 and their investment in virtual reality/augmented reality tech.

In his Inc.com column, entrepreneur James Parsons encourages people to relish the ridiculous when it comes to conventions, because conventions are all about sharing ideas and a whole community coming together in order to piece together what the future of a particular niche of business could be like.

At a convention, business owners should make time to attend workshops, seminars, even parties in order to meet the right connections, establish rapport, and maybe to learn something completely new.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that your business should send attendees to every single conference remotely related to your field. Consider the biggest ones you can attend, as well as the more specialized ones available. Conventions are how the next big business trends are discovered, especially when a meeting of like-minded individuals happens.

Conventions are as much a strategy as they are a way to expand your company’s horizons, which is why attending them should be within any company’s list of things to do.

Regardless of the size of a business, one way to see whether or not your product works in the market is to attend events like these. They’re great ways to learn how other companies do business, and the perfect opportunity to meet people. Afterwards, you get to take your knowledge, the connections you’ve made and make more out of it when it’s all over.

Miggy Castañeda writes about personal finance for MoneyMax.ph, a financial comparison website aiming to help Filipinos save money through diligent comparisons of financial products.

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