Outdoor Retailer

Top Tips for an Effective OR

The Outdoor Retailer tradeshow is big, and so is MOB’s series of OR tips. As you prepare for the summer show in Denver, here are some final thoughts from MOB members on making the show a success for your brand.

Thanks to the following MOB members for contributing:

James Morin, Flowfold 

Alicia MacLeay, Trailspace 

Cathy Streifel, Pyxie 

Scot Bahr, Cairn Consulting 

Nancy Fendler, Fendler PR

Make Meetings

James: Set up as many meetings as possible before the show. If you are just expecting to run into the decision makers for your target accounts, you are more than likely going to be disappointed. It’s a very busy show and many people are booked straight through. Getting people to notice you is a challenge. It’s a noisy show in that regard.

Know Why You’re Going

Alicia: What are your objectives? How will you measure this show as a success? Who is instrumental for you to meet? Have a plan, but be flexible.

Reach Out

Alicia: Reach out via email to the people with whom you want to connect. Make your email personal, direct, and on-target. It’s OK to send a second email if you don’t get a reply, but keep it short and relevant to that contact. Don’t spam people.

No-Shows Happen

James: Be prepared for no-shows and media showing up late. This is just the nature of this well-attended show, as there is so much to see and everyone is very busy. Follow up after the show with info.

Build Relationships

James: I no longer view the show as a buying show and brands shouldn’t expect to get a huge ROI on orders alone. But they might set the groundwork for a relationship that will later lead to a big deal. Relationships still happen primarily face-to-face. 

Alicia: While the show is huge and not every attendee is relevant to your brand, don’t assume someone is irrelevant to you. You’re building industry relationships. Jobs change and connections can lead to other connections.

Be Prepared

Gear up for long days on the convention center floor with the following:

  • plenty of business cards
  • pen and paper
  • comfortable shoes
  • backpack or bag
  • water bottle
  • OR app on your phone https://www.outdoorretailer.com/attend/show-tools/
  • paper backup of your schedule
  • paper map of the show (in case you get lost and you can’t get on WiFi)
  • Also, study the floor plan beforehand and locate booths that are hard to find. It will not be easier when you’re rushing to a meeting.

Be a Brand Ambassador

Alicia: Be welcoming to all booth visitors and passersby. You might meet an editor who takes a picture or a future retail buyer. Even if your booth needs gatekeepers for scheduling, ensure that they are friendly brand ambassadors to everyone who stops by.

Collect Business Cards

Cathy: Collect business cards from people and offer a follow up when the crazy frenzy of the show dies down. With all of the education, entertainment, and general party atmosphere around the show people are tired.

Prep Booth Staff

Alicia: Be prepared to pass out appropriate business cards and press info at the booth. Make sure booth staff understands the basics of your brand, who is allowed to take pictures, and who an attendee can contact for more info during or after the show.

Manage Your Time

Cathy: For somebody who wants to attend educational sessions and be a lot of places on several days, time management and scheduling yourself really well is key.

Know What’s Happening

Since the show is packed with events and distractions, find the ones of interest to you:


Meet People

Scott: Happy hours and other social events were the times when I made the most connections and had the best conversations. I would hit as many of those as possible, figure out the crowd quickly, and then decide whether to stay or go to another. 

Be Kind

Alicia: It may sound corny for a business convention, but being a friendly, considerate person to everyone you meet matters.

Book Your Winter Room

Nancy: Visit the housing booth in the convention center while at the show to book your hotel for Winter Market. Hotels get booked up fast.

Follow Up

James: Follow up after the show! Done right, OR is a chance to connect with industry contacts in person and lay the groundwork for new relationships and deals.

Thanks to all the MOB members who shared their OR insights. See you in Denver!