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Yes, awesome truly happened at DevLearn 2013! If you went to DevLearn you probably saw the rolling Orange Tide as the team flooded the Expo and streamed through the halls of the Aria in bright orange long sleeve shirts. So, let me take you on a journey how awesome happened at DevLearn.

Journey to Devlearn 2013

We started our journey in the wee hours of the morning on Oct 21st in the moonlit parking lot of the eLearning Brothers offices. It wasn’t long before Brother Andrew rolled up in his 12 seater Love-Wagon. This vehicle started as a regular people-carrier but was transformed by it’s previous owner into the Love-Wagon. It truly is one to behold. It has custom rims, a lift kit, tinted windows, three 15” displays mounted to the ceiling, an in-dash TV, inputs to connect any media player or gaming console, and a sound system that rivals the fiercest L.A. gang members. The sub woofer that is installed in the back door is the size of Brother Andrew himself. The humor in the situation is that Andrew’s personality is exactly the opposite of what you would expect in the owner of this gangster-mobile. We finished loading into the vehicles and headed six hours south to sunny Las Vegas.


The Purpose of DevLearn 2013

There were several things on the agenda for the next several days but, only one purpose. The sole purpose was to sign up at least 80 eLearning template library customers and at least 500 free library subscriptions to the freebie section of the eLearning template library. It was decided earlier that the best way for people to experience our brand was to have them using the product. We had a goal. We had a solid plan. We had determination to achieve that goal.


The Zappos Tour

Upon arriving in the 80° Vegas sunshine we explored the Fremont Street Experience where we were made fun of by a ventriloquist before heading over to the famed Zappos tour. It was a really cool tour that included a dance-off. The biggest takeaway was what the eLearning Brothers employees said afterward. They said things like, “I didn’t see anything that eLearning Brothers is missing culturally” and “I like our culture even more” and “If I had to choose between working at eLearning Brothers or Zappos, I would choose eLearning Brothers.” One of the great things about eLearning Brothers is that we are a family and it really is reflected in the everyday interactions around the office. There is none of the usual ladder climbing, corporate politics, or perfidy that usually accompanies organizations of our size and larger.


Day 1: Release the Kraken

We were ready to release the Kraken and work toward the goal ahead of us. Keep in mind that prior to DevLearn 2013 the largest number of registrants garnered at any show was 12. Now we were shooting for 80 paid and 500 free.

You may be wondering at this point how were we going to register 48.3 times more people than we had ever done before. The answer is through a multifaceted strategy with a singular focus. The strategy included these elements:

  • Bag stuffers

  • Bro bands

  • $2 Bills

  • Brother Jared (our amazing sales Bro)

  • Brother Jeff (popular session speaker who sent people back to the booth)

  • Social Media (Brother Parker)

  • A giveaway of a free 5 Year Subscription to the eLearning template library

  • A ton of energy

  • The slow clap (for every sale)

  • Orange shirts a-plenty

  • 20 Bros and 1 Sister

Photo Oct 24, 11 24 42 AMIn every bag was a flier. It talked about the booth, the golden ticket, and the 5 Year Membership giveaway to the eLearning Template Library. People were drawn to the booth from the flier and naturally wandered by. At booth 513 they were introduced to the tens of thousands of cutout people images, games, quizzes, layoutsPlayer Skins, graphics, and many other assets specifically designed to help create awesome eLearning. After being introduced to the library they had their badge scanned to enter the drawing for the free 5 Year Subscription and introduced into the family by donning them with a “Bro band.”


The fun didn’t stop there. If any of “The Brothers” caught  a DevLearn 2013 attendee proudly wearing the Bro Band they would walk up to them with a big greeting and give them a $2 bill. The $2 bills represented our two founders, brothers Shawn and Andrew. Distributing the cash happened over and over again throughout the next two days. The Orange Tide distributed hundreds of $2 bills. We called it the Two-Dolla-Holla.

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As you can imagine this generated a lot more buzz and attendees started coming to the booth in droves. Several times throughout the show people crowded the booth so much so that it was near impossible to walk by. If anyone met Jared at the booth then there was a good chance that they would sign up on the spot. It could have been his dashing good looks or charming personality but for whatever reason he was wonderfully persuasive in getting people to pull out their credit cards to buy a $249 yearly license. Each time someone purchased the slow-clap would begin. The slow clap begins with a slow and steady cadence and progressively grew quicker and louder until there is a raucous level of applause.


Another “Buzz” generator was the great social media push lead by Parker Donat whom we affectionately called hashtag smurf (properly used as #HashTagSmurf) Each time a Bro Band was spotted and $2 Bill was given out it immediately went to several social media channels. See our Facebook page to see all the images from the conference.

In spite of all the buzz, the clapping, and number of Bro Bands slid onto wrists, the first day of the show only produced a little less than 30 library subscriptions. A historical record but, still well below our goal. It wasn’t even the pace we needed to achieve the goal. Although short, we didn’t let this dissuade us from pressing forward toward the single focus of why we were there—80 new library subscriptions.

Day 2: The Challenge

The next day we had a challenge because of fewer hours at the expo. Still we believed in the goal. The brand was out there and conference attendees were starting to bring their friends and even people they just met back to the booth for us. One of the crowning moments was when Sara (Name kept the same because she was so awesome) came back to the booth and brought three friends. She not only brought them back but took the brochure out of my hand and started extolling the virtues of eLearning Brothers and the amazing eLearning library herself.


Winner of the 5 Year Free Subscription to the eLearning Template Library

By the time we were ready to announce the winner of the 5 Year Give-Away the aisles were packed as far as the eye could see. But we were still short of our goal by about 30 subscribers. The crowd was so large though that we had to station people every 10 feet to repeat the names down the aisles so everyone would be able to hear. Brother Shawn was crowned the ‘Town Barker’ and pulled several names out of our name bucket until we found our winner, Julie Ann Tarbuck.


We supposed that after the drawing everyone would leave and we would be short of our goal but unexpected awesome happened! After the drawing a line formed. People wanted a subscription even more than ever. Not only did we hit our goal but nearly doubled the desired subscribers and over 500 free eLearning Template registrants. It was awesome! But awesome didn’t stop there.

Winning an eLearning DemoFest Award


The custom eLearning Development team also walked away from show with stronger relationships with clients and several large projects signed. Congrats to the custom eLearning team on the “Best Soft Skills Solution” award  in the DevLearn DemoFest.

custom elearning development


Final Thoughts

I am convinced more than ever that the key to a successful trade show strategy is to have a single message and single purpose. With these two things any trade show can be a huge success.

Thanks to DevLearn and the amazing organizers for putting this show together. And thanks to all of our neighbors (Lectora, Goto Webinar, Adobe, iSpring etc..) that put up with the raucous environment for two days). Most of all thanks to all the amazing supporters of eLearning Brothers. Welcome to the family.

Extra Bonus Video: The DevLearn Shake

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