What Christmas is to elves at the North Pole, NBAA is to Greteman Group. As the days tick off, the activity in our agency continues with a focused intensity. Deadlines that must be hit. Last-minute client requests that need to be worked in. Production files to check and check again.

But I’m really proud to say, we’re not working around the clock. After two-plus decades in the business, we know the drill. And burning out your team accomplishes little. In fact, it’s counterproductive. The cockpit isn’t the only place where mistakes can be tracked to exhaustion. Crew resource management and human factors come into play at a marketing agency, too.

If you plan to be an exhibitor at the 64th annual NBAA convention, I thought you might appreciate a simple listing that has helped us keep our sanity. And, if you see we’ve missed something, I hope you’ll share pointers that have helped you.

NBAA One-Week–Out Checklist

 The Nitty-Gritty

  • Ads in show dailies – Printer proofs and digital files turned over to the respective publications by or in advance of their due dates.
  • Announcements and press releases – Routed and approved through senior management. Ready to release at the show or have already sent embargoed releases to key reporters and editors so they can be working ahead. Online newsroom updated and maximized for reporters to easily find and secure what they need (including photography and video).
  • Booth graphics/giveaways/collateral – All double-checked and to the respective vendors with clear shipping/delivery instructions.
  • Booth staffing – Everyone briefed about show objectives and expectations. Any special apparel secured and badges/buttons produced.
  • Invites/events – Invitations should go out at least three weeks prior to your event. Follow up with a reminder to those who have not yet RSVP’d. If speeches are part of the event, introductions and talking points for each person should be written, routed and approved.
  • Social media – Make sure you’ve downloaded the new NBAA2011 app. Clearly lay out your strategy for what/when you will share through your blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter (#NBAA11), YouTube and who on your team is primarily responsible for writing, taking photos/video and posting. Give special attention to mobile as show attendees will be checking you out from their smartphones and tablets as well as at your booth.
  • Technology – Trust no one. Build in redundant systems and IT support to ensure all that everything from video displays to Internet connections operate without a hitch.

Your People

  • Remember please and thank you. Being on deadline makes it more important than ever to maintain common courtesy. You’re in this together.
  • Keep it professional and solutions-oriented. If upper management starts dictating last-minute changes, breathe deep and plan how you will address them. Can you negotiate for keeping to the previously approved game plan? If not, can you tap into outside manpower to protect your team from massive overtime? Is there middle ground? It’s too late to change your advertising, but new messages can be communicated through the media.
  • Maintain the relationship. You win the battle but lose the war, if you meet your immediate need but lose your team member’s heart. The show is all about building relationships and selling your product/service through face-to-face interaction. Your team is equally important to your success.

Your Feet

  • I want to close with probably the most important advice of all. When show day arrives, forget wearing new shoes. Go with the tried and true. And comfy. (No bunny slippers, please.)
  • If you simply can’t resist wearing your never-been-worn Manolos or Mephistos, be sure you have the coordinates of the nearest foot massage. Or bar.