Board Members Do Not Attend Tradeshows

What is the quickest and most effective way to get your destination product before top decision makers?

Some would argue for Tradeshows, Sales Calls, Email, Phone Calls, Advertising, or Social Media.

The problem with each of these methods is that the top decision makers of the organization are usually not the ones attending the trade shows or receiving the communication.

After three decades of working the association market, I have learned the quickest and most effective way to present your destination to an association is…

Have a local person, who serves on the association board, present your destination in your behalf.

Backyard Marketing regularly calls board members on behalf of our clients.  Consider the following comments by board members after receiving just one phone call from Backyard Marketing asking them to bring their respective association meeting to their hometown:

(Mike) said he would be very enthusiastic about presenting Reno as a future meeting site to the Steering Committee and Site Selection Committee.  He said the annual meeting takes place the third weekend of September and involves about 150 attendees.Please call or email him.

Please email (Tom) ASAP.  He has a Steering Committee on Monday, August 6 (5 days from now).  He would be glad to bring up Buffalo as a future Region II Fall Meeting destination.

(William) said (Association name) has met in Pittsburgh in the past, but it has been a while.  He is also on the board of (association name) and said he could bring up Pittsburgh at that group’s next board meeting.   Please email (William).

(Susan) indicates that (association name) rotates its annual conference between the East Coast, West Coast, and then Central in that order.  She said the meeting has about 1,000 attendees.  She will be attending an Executive Council meeting in mid-April and would be happy to promote Biloxi for a future conference.  Please call or email her; Susan leaves April 11 for the Executive Council meeting.

 Here are 3 reasons why this marketing strategy produces results so quickly:

  1. Board Members attend multiple board meetings each year: We have often spoken with board members who requested information for a board meeting taking place in the next few days.
  2. Same-day delivery: You can meet with local people, drop off information, or help a local person with his or her destination pitch the same day if necessary.
  3. Destination information can be emailed immediately: Board members of associations are busy people, and they often just request destination information by email.

Here are 5 reasons why this marketing strategy is so effective:

  1. Board members, and the message they bring, are usually respected by the other board members.
  2. Board members are usually enthusiastic when talking about their hometown.
  3. Board members are indirectly committing themselves to hosting a meeting by simply bringing up their hometown as a future meeting destination.
  4. Board members are good at networking within an association; they understand the association’s political structure.
  5. Other board members often feel obligated to reward a fellow board member with the opportunity to host a meeting sometime in the future.

What does this strategy mean for you as a destination marketing organization?

  1. Do you know who in your hometown currently serves on state, regional, national, and international association boards? If not, contact Michael Still at
  2. Do you have a destination packet specifically designed for a local person to use when attending a board meeting?
  3. Do you have some key talking points you can give a local person when promoting your destination to his or her fellow board members?
  4. Do you have a standard email specifically designed to send a local person attending a board meeting—even if the person is leaving today?

ONE MORE THING:  Association board meetings often rotate city to city.  What about asking your local person to invite his or her fellow board members to hold a future board meeting in your city?  You might  be able to make a presentation and do a site-visit to the board while they are in town.

For more information on ordering a list of Association Board Members in Your City—please visit

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