I heard back from an SE staff member about getting some swag to hand out at INFORMS. (See OR.SE presence at INFORMS?)

In a nutshell:

  • There's a chance we can get some StackExchange-branded swag—probably stickers.
  • Most likely, though, we'd be getting StackOverflow-branded swag, not SE. Not ideal, but might be the best we can do, and it's better than nothing.
  • SE never provides customized marketing for beta sites, so definitely no OR.SE-branded stuff; however:
  • She offered to print some OR.SE business cards, with a QR code linking to OR.SE on one side and a description of the site on the other side. We could hand those out at the conference to spread the word.

I definitely think we should ask for the business cards; what's the harm? and it could be very helpful.

Q1: How many business cards should we ask them to print?

INFORMS is usually attended by ~5000 people, so maybe...1000?

Next, we need to think about:

Q2: How should we distribute the cards and (I hope) other swag?

It was a bit too much to hope that SE might sponsor a table/booth at the exhibit hall—that's a non-starter. Maybe we can ask another exhibitor to let us join their booth, give out stuff, and talk to people about OR.SE? One natural fit might be COIN-OR, but I don't think any of the COIN-OR leadership is active on OR.SE, although some of the members are. Maybe there's a general INFORMS table/booth that we could use?

What do you think? INFORMS is right around the corner...

Also: Please see this question about the content of the cards, and provide your feedback.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm checking on the COIN-OR booth idea, and will update when I have an answer. $\endgroup$ – prubin Sep 26 '19 at 20:19
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    $\begingroup$ No joy on the COIN-OR booth. They're not exhibiting this year (which means, more importantly, no free chocolates). $\endgroup$ – prubin Sep 26 '19 at 22:25
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    $\begingroup$ OK, that's too bad. I appreciate you looking into it. There is a possibility we will have an OR.SE booth. I should know in a few days, and will post about it once I do. $\endgroup$ – LarrySnyder610 Sep 27 '19 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ We (as in litic.com) will have booth. It's not related to OR.SE at all, but if you just need a place to store the cards, I can ask. I will not be at the conference myself. $\endgroup$ – Robert Schwarz Oct 4 '19 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ Was there any statistically significant bump in OR SE membership in conjunction with the INFORMS meeting? $\endgroup$ – Mark L. Stone Dec 15 '19 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkL.Stone Unfortunately not. By just about every metric (new users, page views, posts), we have been pretty flat, with lots of noise. There isn't even a discernible spike/outlier around INFORMS. :/ $\endgroup$ – LarrySnyder610 Dec 15 '19 at 13:41

I mentioned this to a (non-OR) friend, and he suggested asking INFORMS to stick a card in each registration packet. That would require a pretty big print run, and of course INFORMS would have to agree to do it, but it would maximize dispersion.

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    $\begingroup$ That's an interesting idea. Not sure SE would approve such a big print run though. (They are thinking in the 500 range.) $\endgroup$ – LarrySnyder610 Sep 4 '19 at 2:53
  • $\begingroup$ I wondered the same thing. Assuming INFORMS would do it at all, I suspect they would be okay with doing it "while supplies last". $\endgroup$ – prubin Sep 4 '19 at 14:15

One place, I think, to have the business cards is in the registration area. Because:

  • Everyone needs to go there for registration.
  • That's where brochures for any event (or even companies' brochures) are distributed.
  • I remember there was a place for various ribbons which was quite a hit! (ribbons like session chair, presenting, tweeting, going green, and many more). That means, if those ribbons are still a thing, maybe there can be one for OR.SE
  • If the business cards are placed there, those who are active on OR.SE, can take some and distribute them during the sessions they present (or at least place them at the front door)
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    $\begingroup$ I think we could leave some cards there, but I think it would be much better if we can have someone at a booth or table handing them out and talking to people. I would assume most people ignore the brochures near the registration area. (I do.) $\endgroup$ – LarrySnyder610 Aug 30 '19 at 1:44
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    $\begingroup$ For sure, OR.SEers who want to should have a stack of cards so they can hand them out to people throughout the conference. Maybe the spot near registration is the right place for folks to pick them up. $\endgroup$ – LarrySnyder610 Aug 30 '19 at 1:45
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    $\begingroup$ As for ribbons, I like that idea. Maybe we can look into that. $\endgroup$ – LarrySnyder610 Aug 30 '19 at 1:46
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    $\begingroup$ I wish I could come. I would have gladly volunteered to be one of the people to hand them out and talk to people. I don't know if possible, but how about around all those coffee break areas? That can be another potential place $\endgroup$ – EhsanK Aug 30 '19 at 2:00
  • $\begingroup$ Not sure we're allowed to just plop materials there. And I still think it's better to hand them out in person. $\endgroup$ – LarrySnyder610 Aug 30 '19 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ I'm pro-ribbon! I think they'd be a great walking advertisement. Maybe too late though for INFORMS to order them. (But if so, could SE sponsor a custom order? It's not too expensive to print 25-50 of them ourselves... :) $\endgroup$ – E. Tucker Sep 4 '19 at 20:28
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    $\begingroup$ @E.Tucker Ribbons are a great idea. I will look into it. And yes -- if INFORMS won't order it and SE won't order it, we can just order some ourselves. $\endgroup$ – LarrySnyder610 Sep 6 '19 at 1:41

The business cards sound like the best option, you don't want to lug around a bunch of stuff for Stack Overflow and not have a booth.

There is a chance to guerilla your cards near the entrance (even outside in the line), if you get some business card holders it's more professional as there's nothing worse than a pile that has gone askew. If you have holders some booths (such as INFORMS) might give you a corner of their table.

Don't forget to get a Digital Business Card APP, that way you can distribute electronic cards easily and store electronic cards that you are offered. Three other choices are: Camcard, Worldcard, and Abbyy. Choose, test and learn to use before you go so you're not fumbling with the APP when trying to trade cards.

Tell everyone: "Rob says: Hi.".


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