Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Southern Illinois Business Conference Expo at the Williamson County Convention Center Pavilion

What's this doing in a technology and culture blog? Well, tech and culture need a healthy environment for sustainable growth. And communicating to and from markets, partners and customers feeds that growth.

A dance, if you will.

That's why I attended the Business Expo at the Williamson County Pavilion Friday 7 October 2005.

All in all, a good idea and interesting experience. I will do it again.



As far as I can tell, the search engines could not find it. Why?

My guess:

I was searching "williamson county business conference october", and the engine wanted "expo" as a search term."Expo" did work. Methinks "META TAGS" did wound; they help drive traffic to a website. Not a major problem but someone needs to vet web copy for "searchability".

NB: And if the "Williamson County Pavilion" has its own site, I am a mooncalf lost in the Internet. It has no website, as far as I can tell.


I spoke with a number of enthusiastic and informed booth folk (many of them the Business owner or a principal, major PLUS there!). They had a general complaint of lack of traffic; particularly the lack of consumer traffic.

One problem:Vote Suppressed
  • The September 18 Southern Illinoisan Article (click fast before the link expires) stated "The expo is designed for business owners and not open to the general public" which may have, erm, rather cooled the avid civilian crowds.

  • Second problem(and this could be me):
  • I found the Southern Business Journal website difficult to navigate/cluttered. And when I did find the Events link (subtle graphics, in my opinion) it dumped me to a registration form.

  • I only wanted to know what was going on.

    Name: I Want To See
    Employer: The Schedule
    Address: Not A Form, IL 62911
    Phone: 867-5309


    There were a lot of full page trees who died in service to this event. The SI had several full page ads; however, as I enter my.... not golden, more rusty than golden.... rusty years, the message (who's really wanted here at this event) and the clarity of the font listing seminars.... dicey, that.

    So for example: List the Day's Seminars then List Seminars in Larger Font Underneath so geezers can read it.

    Oct 6 Something Interesting
    Oct 6 Something Else
    Oct 6 Something Else

    Suggested form:
    Something Interesting
    Something Else
    Something Else


    There was a mix of content; but it appeared (this is a survey, not a census) at about 1pm on Friday that there were a lot of chairs and not enough people. And some seminars with near identical topics ran concurrently.

    Perhaps develop thematic "tracks" like:

    • business marketing and promotion,
    • employee benefits,
    • government resources,
    • company stories

    Even large established trade shows (in my addled recollection) tend to run only a couple of concurrent seminars, until things get VERY BIG.

    For the keynote, if all else fails (meaning this kindly) get a politician or a head of the organizing group(s). Hizzonor or even a TV anchor (ok, stretching it here).


    Did I miss the Southern Illinois Tourism Presence? Maybe.

    How about Wine Trail representation?

    Food services/catering? Could have had more representation, as well as some just plain restaurant folks who want to promote meeting business on site.

    Marion Main Street? I wish I had seen them; the area needs balanced growth.

    I drove over there and registered at the door. Well worth the trip, and I hope that everyone involved understands that repetition will increase participation.

    That, and a clearer message delivered in a convenient form.

    From The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy
    Prosser: But the plans were on display.
    Arthur Dent: On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar.
    Prosser: That's the display department.
    Arthur Dent: With a torch.
    Prosser: The lights had probably gone.
    Arthur Dent: So had the stairs.
    Prosser: But you did see the notice, didn't you?
    Arthur Dent: Oh, yes. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign outside the door saying "Beware of the Leopard." Ever thought of going into advertising?

    Not that anyone asked: My qualifications for hand-waving about this include being "the customer" (weight gain & water retention) at a number of trade shows over the last 20 years, and being "the vendor" (thankless job, shin splints and boredom) at many others. And its easy to criticize the work of others; trade shows involve cat herding. And I think the organizers did a solid job; I just want the bar raised for next time.

    Image: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, LC-USF34- 026826-D "Interior of Oke-Doke dance hall. Williamson County, Illinois", 1939, Arthur Rothstein. American Library Of Congress, American Memory

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