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State of Engagement: RSA 2019

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State of Engagement: RSA 2019

San Francisco, CA- RSA! They call it “the world’s leading information security event,” and I tend to believe them. The packed North and South Halls of Moscone Center are pretty overwhelming! In this edition of my ongoing series of post-show tactical analyses I offer up a brief overview of the new and old engagement techniques I observed at RSA 2019. I observed these tactics at multiple times of day, during both busy and heavy traffic times. Of course, best booth tactics always depend on marketing objectives, but here, I focus on a blend of volume of qualified conversations with total badge scans. With this info, I hope you can increase your booth effectiveness while saving the money and time wasted on unsuccessful tactics.


Carnival Games

carnival games

I saw quite a few booths utilizing rented and custom skinned classic carnival games like Skee-Ball, Whack-a-Mole and Giant Operation. While seemingly a fun idea, I noticed very few lines forming, and if attendees did participate, they were generally alone and would quickly move on without engaging in a conversation. Games like this seem to work better when hosted by the conference itself in a common area as a way to blow off steam, rather than in a booth for generating brand awareness and conversation. At the very least, the game should be augmented with a charismatic staffer trained to encourage the prospect to share their specific business problems.

Rating: D


Video Games

space invaders

Retro was very “in” at RSA, probably due to the Stranger Things 80’s phenomena, and the perfect alignment with the childhood demographics of many Infosec attendees. Many booths had versions of video game classics in both large, multi-player and standard single-player versions. Again, a fun idea (I love video games!), but they seemed to not attract the crowds for which they were designed. Perhaps prospects don’t want to lose or look silly in front of a crowd? Again, the game needs to be augmented with a charismatic staffer to make the messaging connection and encourage the prospect to share their specific business problems.

Rating: C


Book Signings

Celebrity author signings were indisputably the biggest crowd draw I saw at RSA 2019. Lines stretched around booths, down aisles and then around yet more booths. These successful tactics offered a huge opportunity for direct prospect engagement as long as booth staff had been properly trained to elicit conversations rather than simply scanning badges. Utilizing pre-show outreach and conference sponsor publicity options are a requirement here, as relying solely on booth signage to draw attendees is a risky proposition for a relatively brief signing event.

Rating: B


The Charismatic Sales Engineer/ Moderator

Ah yes, the sweet spot! The holy grail of booth engagement! The epitome of qualified lead gathering! I saw a few of these rare animals on the RSA floor: highly knowledgeable, funny and engaging. These folks would gather a crowd, provide valuable, take-away information that wasn’t a sales pitch, and then truly engage the group in a back and forth discussion of the various attendees’ real business problems. Consider adding a professional moderator to gather and energize the crowd and encourage conversations with multiple SE’s on mic for a booth busting conversation. This is how its done, folks!

Rating: A



RSA provided a great overview of the current state of tech trade show engagement. While there were plenty of nostalgia-driven trends, the best option I saw for engaging prospects in qualifying conversations was a highly knowledgeable contractor or Sales Technician who could lead a group conversation, rather than a presentation. This allowed solutions to be presented specifically to prospect titles and problems.

Until next time, best of luck planning your next event marketing initiative. We’ll see you on the show floor!

RSA logo trade show presentation emcee.png

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Starting Qualified Conversations as Trade Show Emcee at RSA 2019

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Starting Qualified Conversations as Trade Show Emcee at RSA 2019

Las Vegas, NV- Professional trade show emcee Don Colliver returned to once again host the exciting "SolveIT" Trivia Game Show for Trustwave at the 2019 RSA Conference in San Francisco, CA. Every hour, Don gathered crowds, energized the 15-minute games and prize giveaways, and then delivered packed and primed booth audiences to Trustwave presenters for their expert presentations.

RSA occurred from March 4th through 7th, 2018 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.

RSA logo trade show presentation emcee.png

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Captivating Prospects as Trade Show Presentation Writer at RSA 2019

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Captivating Prospects as Trade Show Presentation Writer at RSA 2019

San Francisco, CA- Professional trade show presentation writer Don Colliver created the trade show presentation for ObserveIT’s retro 80’s themed booth at the 2019 RSA Trade Show in San Francisco, CA. Don wrote the fun, effective 8-minute presentation and developed the PowerPoint deck which was presented by professional trade show presenter Jennifer Canale. ObserveIT booked Don in partnership with Magnet Presentations, a trade show presenter agency.

Carey Thiels, Director of Marketing at ObserveIT said, “Hire this guy to write your trade show presentations! For RSA, Don took our marketing and sales materials and efficiently created a prospect-engagement focused booth presentation with a generous dose of humor. Don really made my part of the script writing process effortless. With a very small marketing team, it really counts when you have vendors who can make your life easier. Hire Don! “

RSA 2019 occurred from March 4th through March 7th, 2019 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA.

Photo credit to Magnet Productions.

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