Have you ever gone to a conference and seen folks handing out brochures, flyers, and swag while standing in hallways or outside of session rooms? Do you wonder why they’re not on the Expo floor showcasing in a booth? It’s because what they’re doing is unethical. They’re suitcasing.
As the name indicates, suitcasing is when someone presents their business from a bag or suitcase so that it’s easier for them to zip up and run if they spot conference organizers. Suitcasing is also the practice of putting flyers, cards, business cards and promotional material on all available surfaces without the blessing of the conference organizers. In essence, it’s stealing. You see, there are people who pay good money to exhibit and sponsor to share with our community. People who are suitcasing are bypassing this fee to present on the sly. Our exhibitors and sponsors enable us to put on our conference, so the people who are suitcasing are also stealing from attendees. The less money we make, the less money we can spend on food, parties and bells and whistles. Moreover, the less money we make, the more we have to charge.
What happens if you’re caught suitcasing
If you’re coming to NMX as a sponsored content creator, the brand you’re representing may ask you to hand out flyers or t-shirts. Please know that this is considered suitcasing. It’s one thing to chat with others about what you do, that’s why we go to conferences, right? It’s a whole other story to walk the aisles and hallways giving out promotional items without permission. If you’re caught you’ll, at the very least, be asked to put your materials away. However, the most likely scenario is that you’ll be booted out of the show.
If you’re planning on bringing promotional materials to NMX and you’re not sure if it’s considered suitcasing, don’t be afraid to ask us. We’d rather chat with you about what you’re doing than have to ask you to leave. We’re nice people, really, we just don’t want anyone stealing from our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and the team that works so hard to bring you the best possible conference.
How can you represent your brand without suitcasing
If your brand isn’t into a booth (but we encourage them to get one – there’s still time!) there are ways to represent them without suitcasing:
- Wear branded clothing. Wearing a t-shirt with a brand logo isn’t suitcasing, and everyone does it. In fact, it’s a great conversation starter.
- Collect business cards: As you talk to attendees, collect business cards to bring back to the brand. Please explain why you’re doing so, however, so no one receives unwanted promotional material.
- Blog: Live blog from the event and mention your sponsor. Let folks know that they sent you to the conference so you can learn, and also let folks know what your sponsor does and why they might want to follow them. You don’t have to be spammy about it, but most folks understand sponsors require promotional posts and tweets.
- Tweet: Thank your sponsor on Twitter for sending you to the conference.
At NMX we want our attendees to have the best experience possible. We want them to be able to walk our hallways or hang out in the New Media Lounge without being bombarded with unwanted sales pitches. Please think before suitcasing.