In the exhilarating realm of startups, reaching milestones becomes a testament to hard work, innovation, and teamwork.
For us, last month, one such milestone was being full-fledged exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors at National Parking Association‘s Conference & Expo 2023 in New Orleans!
Exhibiting at an event can signal several exciting things for a start-up:
- You’re in the financial position to invest in event marketing.
You’ve fed your marketing wallet enough tinder to fire up a new channel for building trust and credibility within the industry through event-oriented brand and demand tactics.
- You’ve cracked how to track ROI on event dollars.
Though you’re early on in your exhibitor journey, you’ve attended events previously and can therefore reasonably extrapolate cost-per-meeting, average deal value, and customer acquisition cost using historicals.
- The entire team is in a growth mindset.
Your team is ready to receive and retain pre-event prep, training, and talking points because it’s universally recognized that being prepared and all on the same page ahead of an event pays off in big ROI.
- Your non-salespeople are operating at a level of excellence.
Team members in roles that don’t necessarily have events in their job description (like engineers and ops folks) can keep the engine running without customers experiencing a dip in service quality.
And right now, this is all true for Ocra!
Coming off a very successful oversubscribed fundraise in Q2, we were in a prime position to debut as a full exhibitor at National Parking Association Expo 2023 in September as well as draw up plans for attending several regional shows in Q4 through next year.
Here are the four things that we were most excited for & ended up being big wins:
#1 Preparing & aligning as a team
#2 Sharing the stage with industry experts
#3 Establishing our footprint in the expo hall
#4 Creating community & conversation with events
Read on to learn more.
Conference Win #1:
Preparing & Aligning As A Team
Ocra believes in the power of unity and meticulous preparation.
Before each conference, we take the time as a team in a special “conference kick-off” meeting to define and align on messaging and expectations.
The result? A team who confidently navigated every interaction and made lasting impressions.
Conference Win #2:
Sharing the Stage With Industry Experts
Programming for NPA Convention & Expo 2023 was truly excellent, and we were over the moon to have multiple opportunities to contribute this year.
We were energized by the dynamic exchange of ideas diversity of perspectives from both the other panelists and members of the audience, many of whom actively weighed in.
Contributing to conference programming is also a great way to align with an organization we support and whose partnership we value immensely.
To learn more about the session topics and takeaways, as well as the industry luminaries who we joined on stage, check out this post.
Conference Win #3:
Establishing Our Footprint in the Expo Hall
Sarah managed all things event for a parking company for three years prior to Ocra*, so she’s felt pretty confident about hitting all of the deadlines and getting our marketing ducks in a row.
(*Shout-out to Nicole Wylie, VP of Customer Success @ FLASH, for being Sarah’s co-pilot in SpotHero conference planning back in the day!)
Having a successful booth requires three things:
- Bold, eye-catching brand presence
- Lead generation processes and ROI calculation
- Exceptional time management to ensure aircover
For our bold, eye-catching brand presence, we designed and printed our first ever 10×10 booth backdrop and podium after soliciting recommendations for a high-quality, cost-effective company.
For our lead generation processes and ROI calculation, we leveraged HubSpot, our CRM, to create a lightweight form displayed on an iPad so that folks could schedule a follow-up meeting with a click. These folks were automatically entered into a campaign that allows us to track sales activity and attribute ROI to our booth.
To ensure exceptional time management and aircover, we built a booth schedule with clear time slots for coverage that leveraged the strengths of our attendees and also took into account time for meetings and personal work.
As a result, our booth was a hub of activity.
We were everywhere, ensuring no opportunity was missed, all while managing our resources effectively.
Conference Win #4:
Creating Conversation & Community With Events
Partnerships are at the heart of Ocra. This year, we were lucky enough to team up with our friends at Parker Technology to host a fun and festive happy hour on the first night of NPA 2023.
In our collective experience, the environment of a social event facilitates new and different types of connections than those experienced in the convention center.
Our goal was to create avenues for making meaningful conversations, fostering new connections, and celebrating the industry’s rising stars.
We also were a sponsor of the Women in Parking & National Parking Association 40 Under 40 social, where we celebrated WIP members and supporters as well as the 40U40 Class of ‘23 (which includes our college, Leo Connelly!).
At Ocra, we don’t just attend events; we actively engage, learn, and contribute.
Here’s to more successes, more collaborations, and more opportunities to shine. Thank you to our incredible team and partners for making NPA Expo 2023 an unforgettable experience! 🚀