How to Plan Your ISC West Trip as Told by a Trade Show Pro

As a 20-year veteran of ISCWs, Scott Goldfine can tell you a thing or two about mapping out your experience at this year’s show.

How to Plan Your ISC West Trip as Told by a Trade Show Pro

Trade shows and other events continue to rank near the top of information sources security dealers and integrators rely upon to keep pace with the latest developments in industry technology and business operations.

Typically the top five sources are trade publications/websites like Security Sales & Integration, far and away the No. 1 category, with events, professional organizations, suppliers and newsletters or social media rounding it out.

When it comes to North American dealer/integrator-oriented tradeshows, in the vernacular of late great college football commentator Keith Jackson, the granddaddy of them all is ISC West in Las Vegas.

Regardless of the size of your security company, at least one person from your organization (quite possibly yourself ) needs to be among ISCW’s 25,000 or so attendees. If your business can only manage to be represented at a single event during the entire year, this is the one.

The massive exposition featuring some 1,000 vendors that target ISCW for most of their 2018 product launches is a leading reason, but just as essential is the networking component, followed by the many presentations and educational sessions. There is so much to cover that, if at all possible, I recommend firms send at least two associates.

While the old saying that showing up is half the battle rings true here, far more is required to make the most of your ISCW time/money investment. Take the bull by the horns and be a proactive participant.

Showing up without having scouted the offerings and agenda beforehand and absent an action plan with at least a rough schedule in hand is akin to running your company without a business plan or even a budget. As a 20-year veteran of ISCWs, my first recommendation to come into the event as organized and purposeful as possible is to use the custom show app available at

Following are my other tips to ensure your Vegas trip comes up aces . . .

■Book hotel six months in advance to get afford-able rates situated close to the Sands Convention Center. Otherwise, stay off the Strip. Look for a facility that caters to business guests.

■Contact key vendors and colleagues to set up meetings ahead of time, and coordinate according to hall layout proximity. Be sure to leave time for walking the expo aisles, education and information sessions, networking and events.

■ Comb through educational offerings and presentations; if you are your firm’s lone rep limit to two to three, picking very carefully with keen attention to topic, target audience and presenter.

■ See what mixers, awards, parties, etc. are being staged before/after show hours; choose wisely.

■ Divide and conquer: unless your company has more than three people attending, maximize coverage by scheduling meetings, booth visits, sessions, networking and events separately.

■ Arrive in time for the many activities the day before the expo, including education, vendor events and SSI’s SAMMY Awards.

■ Avoid opening rush on Day 1 by cruising in 10 minutes later and proceeding to the farthest corner of the hall. Work your way back toward the entrance as most people dive in with whatever is closest.

■Split time evenly between your existing and prospective vendors, and use balance to see what else is out there and innovative. One idea is designate Day 1 for existing, Day 2 for prospective and Day 3 (when most larger vendor executives have already left) for the newbies and fringe-dwellers. Limit booth visits to 15 minutes. Don’t spend too much time lollygagging in the aisles kibitzing with friends.

■ Avoid things that take you too far off the show floor or for too long, which means being mindful of meetings in adjacent rooms and lengthy lunches (try to use all meals for meetings/networking).

■ Some basics: bring backpack or bag that includes business cards, notepad and pens, water, snacks and breath mints; wear appropriate but comfortable shoes and attire; avoid print literature, instead keeping your load light by getting materials on CDs or thumb drives or making notes on business cards for follow-up; to the extent possible, put the office and work on hold; eat smartly, get as much rest as possible, don’t sweat missing workouts and do try to have some fun; check out the morning of Day 3, check bags at the show and leave a little early or a little late to avoid the closing rush, or stay until Saturday.

■ Follow up after — compare notes with fellow attendees from your organization and review information/knowledge gained from vendors, networking and sessions, then share with all relevant parties in your firm.

Check out the next page for the 10 things I am most excited about for ISC West 2018!

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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