Of the thousands of attendees this year at InfoComm, be on the lookout for nametags with a church name where the company name usually resides. If you pay attention, you’ll see that what was once considered a niche market is really a nascent AV market.
With over 330,000 churches in the United States alone, this under-served vertical is sending more of their congregants and staff to industry trade shows than ever before. In fact, InfoComm has quietly been adding exhibit and demonstration space for this portion of the industry for years by partnering with House of Worship market trade magazines and organizations. As you stroll down the aisles on the way to your favorite booths, take note of the number of firms that specialize or put a focus on the church market.
When talking with these church attendees, ask questions that demonstrate you have a working knowledge of the vertical by qualifying them. Are they a part of a denomination or non-denominational? How many Tech Arts staff do they employ? How many services and venues or satellite campuses do they have? What solutions did they come to find at InfoComm? Are they in a new building campaign or are they doing an upgrade or retrofit? Have they standardized on certain manufacturers for mixing and lighting consoles across their venues for easier volunteer training?
Chances are, you are likely to find a more sophisticated client than you expect. As managers of technology in churches, they have the responsibility of making sure services are consistent and that the solutions are easy for volunteers to utilize. More and more churches are expanding their use of technology as a force multiplier in lieu of hiring staff. They have a large volunteer force that is motivated and willing to give of their time, so these church leaders are on the hunt for manufacturers and systems integrators ready to help them with their week-in, week-out technology demands.
During this InfoComm, keep a tally in your mind of the number of churches that you see on the show floor or in the educational classes. Chances are you’re rubbing shoulders with potential clients who are looking for what you have to offer.