I first encountered GoPro at the 2009 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market show in Salt Lake City. Nick Woodman was making a spectacle of himself. About once an hour, he would get on top of a platform and start yelling at the top of his lungs. He would exhort visitors to check out the brand-new product – a small HD camera that captured crazy video with a wideangle lens. It was small enough to strap to a helmet, chest, end of a ski pole, wherever.
During these hourly exhortation’s Nick would regale his audience with examples of how great his product, the GoPro camera – and how it captures extreme sports videos – is. It also engaged eager visitors with the chance of winning one.
The story of GoPro is one that happened very quickly. It didn’t take long for the combination of trade shows, social media, and virtually giving away the store every single day to create a rabid following.
If you follow GoPro on Facebook, you’ll notice that they give away everything they make to one person every single day. I’ve signed up hundreds of times and never won. But it doesn’t keep me from signing up again and again and again. That’s how much I’d like to get my hands on their latest and great HD sports-action toy.
Early in 2013, Nick Woodman, the CEO and main figurehead of GoPro was featured on the cover of Inc. magazine. The story was about how he had grown the company to a multi-million dollar enterprise and created a new camera niche virtually out of nothing. The company had done it with a great product that is groundbreaking, and the combination of tradeshow marketing, social media and pure moxie.
Since I saw them at the 2009 outdoor retailer when a market in salt Lake city, I’ve been a big fan of GoPro. They offered $100 off of a camera if you purchased at that time and a coupon for discount on a future purchase when their new HD camera came out. I bought one of their early cameras and have had fun with it ever since.
In January 2013 I attended Outdoor Retailer Winter Market and it didn’t take me long to find the GoPro trade show booth. It wasn’t large compared to many other booths at the show, about 30 x 30, but it was plastered with a dozen or so large screen video monitors. As you enter the booth you were given a chance to sign up and possibly win a new HD camera. They also indicated that with the sign up, you would be emailed a coupon for a $100 discount on their new HD camera. So in effect, they’re giving you a chance to win something and they’re capturing your information so they can stay in contact with you.
I talked to one of the girls working the booth and discovered that Nick was not there, but it didn’t matter by this point because the company was too big for Nick to go to every tradeshow. GoPro has quickly proven itself to be a serious player in the camera industry, and has been called ‘the fastest growing company in the world.’
Several times a day a GoPro booth staffer stands up to give away T-shirts, swag and of course that coveted GoPro HD model camera. Hundreds of people yelled, screamed, waved arms and otherwise made fools of themselves hoping their name would get called.
Go Pro’s custom tradeshow booth matched their brand’s look, feel and style. It looked a bit brash and with the multiple video screens your eyes were drawn to action, action, action as the sports action videos played in an endless loop.
Suffice it to say that with the combination of savvy social media, aggressive trade show marketing and a groundbreaking product, GoPro dominates their niche. They certainly have new competitors – with any new product that carves out a big share of the market, someone will come in and try to catch to the leader. And someone may yet catch up with GoPro. But GoPro’s excellent marketing – including tradeshow marketing – is proving to be all they need right now to be the leader of the pack.