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SXSW 2019 Post Mortem

March 19, 2019

 

 

Another convention has come and gone, and it’s time for another post mortem. This time I’m going to avoid repeating the same points made in the PAX South Post Mortem (video) which was more about general convention exhibiting know how, and woes. This will be kind of an addendum to that with improvements and other challenges. Starting with the good stuff.

 

PROS

 

Anti Fatigue Mat

 

What a freaking life saver. Makes convention life so much easier, if the convention staff doesn’t give away chairs or if chair rental is pricy (which it is), just spend thirty bucks to make standing much easier. Highly recommended.

 

Booth Placement

 

 

 

Granted this is luck more than anything or connections if you got them (luck in my case), but is super important for getting people to play game at a booth. People wait at the entrance of the expo hall most of the time, at least I assume because I can’t remember the last time I was an attendee (but that’s beside the point). Having a spot close to one of the entrances is very beneficial.

 

Better Prepared

 

During PAX I had a paper sign up for my email list last time with two signatures and little to show for it, now I have it on a tablet (that went to sleep every 30 min, but still) and got much more signatures than last time. Pins were still as successful as ever,  gotta restock soon.

           I imagine that this aspect exhibiting will be iterated and improved on over time.

 

Smaller Convention

 

After the madness that was PAX, it was actually less stress inducing to show at a mid sized show. Gives me more opportunity to experiment and try new ways to phrase/sell the game and even test the limits on how to get people to play it. Learning to be a salesperson is probably what I’m trying to say.

 

More Convenient Cards

 

I said that fliers don’t work in the last post mortem? This time I made them business cards. Much more compact, easier to carry, and has all the games information right there, plus it gives me a chance to milk all the negative space for all it’s worth (thank you vistaprint).

 

 

 

Alright, now onto the negatives

 

CONS

 

Standing up still hurts

 

Though the mat really does help with exhibiting at the convention, standing still does hurt (just not as much), and even though SXSW provided chairs it still helps to stand up and engage with players when exhibiting.

           I forget where I heard about this, but psychologically speaking, when people see exhibitors standing at their booth their more likely to check it out than if they were sitting down which registers as “low energy” even if they don’t know it.

           I hate to think what my legs will feel like if I keep doing this up to the age of 40.

 

Smaller attendance

 

I know I just said that it’s nice to be at a smaller convention for experimentation purposes, but there are some effects on the flipside. There’s only so many people, so some salesperson strategies are probably going to get repetitive and obvious to repeated onlookers and players.

 

Same People Playing the Game

 

While we’re on the topic of smaller crowds this was another one that became obvious to me (granted it’s mostly on the last day). Due to the speedrunning competition I got a lot of the same people playing the game to beat each others records, many of them staying at the booth for over an hour strategizing, and helping each other out.

           Admittedly this’s a decent problem to have, building a fanbase and all of that, they did go out of their way to let new people play the game (thank you for all of that everybody). I can’t help but worry about problems that may or may not be there. Development does things like that to a person.

 

Lack of New Discord Members

 

At the time of writing, only two new members from the convention has joined the server (Discord Link: discord.gg/ZDXSgv6). I had two new members after PAX South. I originally thought the problem was that link was on the postcard fliers from PAX South. I put the link on the business cards this time. Thinking that it’d be easier to hold.

           If the new members are reading this, thank you for joining in and playing the game by the way. I’m still learning as I go when it comes to marketing discord servers. Currently I’m in the process of getting my server verified, so maybe that’s it.

 

Average Salesmanship

 

Speaking of learning as I go. I try to just leave potential players to their own choices, but that usually leads them to looking at it for a few seconds, and moving on. I give the usual spiel of what the game’s about, how it plays and all of that. Most would look at it more, but some would just move one, “Oh cool” they would say.

            Sometimes I would tell them where to get it, or even grabbing a pin too early meaning before they decide if they like it or not. I honestly hate in person marketing, trying to read people and their facial expressions, it’s a whole other puzzle onto itself.

 

CONCLUSION

 

In terms of boothing I think I’ve improved in since PAX South earlier this year, marketing is more mixed, got more signatures, but less new discord members. Living and learning I guess, it’s not the last convention I’ll be at (PAX East), and I need to get going to GDC now. Let me know if you have any questions or feedback and have a good week.

 

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