I noticed there have been rumblings on the message board about the National this year involving it's marriage with econ and the etopps booth at the National.
For this post, I want to steer clear of the econ and focus more on the etopps booth at the National. Without a doubt, it's going to be interesting what etopps will decide to do.
Everyone knows that this industry starts and ends with consumers' disposable income. Considering what we know already - the worst economy since the Depression, record-high unemployment, record-high foreclosures, and not that many signs of an economic recovery happening around the corner: will people fork over their saved money at the National this year?
If there is a booth at this summer's National in Cleveland, it will be their third appearance at the National in Cleveland. Their third time. Who will want to buy etopps cards if they have attended the previous two shows in Cleveland? What will be the incentive(s) at the etopps booth to attract traffic (and hopefully) sales?
Unless attending the National is the vacation that a person is saving for as I write this, I can't see more traffic at the etopps booth than the Cleveland National traffic two years ago (with my own eyes). My guess is those who will be going to their first National this summer may show up at the booth to check out what's the deal with etopps. I can't see veteran National attendees doing anything but slowing down while passing the etopps booth, thinking "been there, done that."
While the only thing worse than having a booth at the National is not having a booth at the National, what if it was a different booth, an informational booth that had laptops and showed what the website looked like in addition to a few other things: displays of etopps cards from 2000 to 2009, a drawing to give away an in-hand each hour or a grab-bag give-away for those who sign up for an account.
Another possibility is to use the money that would be spent on the etopps booth and use it on a consultant who could market etopps on facebook, myspace and twitter, giving away in-hand cards every few days, announcing the etopps IPOs and revamping the website to make it more compatible with the above mentioned websites. And with today's economy, Topps may not even realize there are probably people who will do this consultation work for free to develop their portfolio.