Archive | January, 2014

Creating Trade Show Giveaways That Actually Work

success-giveaway-300x300Trade show giveaways have become an ever-present component of the event marketing landscape. In recent years they’ve also been a hot topic of conversation among marketing experts, some of whom question their value to the businesses that hand them out by the tote bag-full at every show. For marketers, free promotional items have always had a clear and simple goal — to put a branded item into the hands of attendees in the hopes that it reminds or informs them about a given company or product.

But the world of promotional items is no longer just a sea of pens, pencils and key chains. Modern marketing tools, including detailed studies and analytics involving how giveaways are viewed and used by attendees, have made choosing and implementing promo items serious business that trade show presenters can’t afford to take lightly.

Choosing strategic giveaways for your business involves a host of variables, but there are some key aspects of this important decision that many marketers may overlook. Keeping these factors in mind can make the difference between realizing a significant return on your investment and supplying your guests with an item that will get lost in their goodie bag, never to be thought of again.

Presenting The Right Message

The most important step to creating a successful promotional item is determining exactly what you want to say to your perspective clients and how you’ll say it. Sure, it’s important to include your business name and contact information, but there are plenty of other messages your handouts can deliver.

Think about the overall goals of your presence at a given event and ensure that you’re reinforcing them every step of the way. If you’re at an event to promote a particular product create a giveaway that ties into that effort.

If you’re trying to establish your company’s place in the industry, let your freebees tell your guests you were ranked number one amongst your peers, or were recently the recipient of an award. As important as it is for your overall presentation to stand out from the crowd, it’s equally important that your marketing giveaways establish what makes you special.

Building A Better Giveaway

Trade show giveaways have never been known for their quality. Because many businesses give them out without even asking for any information in return (which you should avoid doing by the way), the focus is most often exclusively on quantity rather than quality. But take a step back and consider this — would you rather have 1000 items to giveaway that are immediately discarded, broken or ignored, or 500 items that recipients will be more motivated to hold onto?

Providing higher quality giveaways doesn’t have to be more expensive, it simply involves taking the time to consider all of your options and working with a supplier that you trust. Always ask for samples of any product you’re considering using and choose the one that you yourself would be more likely to keep or use.

Considering All Your Options

If you’ve shopped for trade show promotional items recently you’ve likely felt a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available. While there’s no silver bullet in terms of the perfect giveaway for every situation, it pays to keep an open mind and mix up your offerings. Think about all the factors that can contribute to your items being valued and used by attendees.

Factors like the location of the show, the time of year and the demographic of your audience can all play a key role in the success of a given promotion. Don’t be afraid to mix up your materials and tailor your handouts to the given show.

Present A Unified Brand

Consistency is key to a lasting impression and your promotional items should always tie-in to the overarching theme of your presentation, either in theme, colors or branding. Once again, consider the message that you’re hoping to convey and make sure to incorporate it into your choice of marketing freebees. Consider how your staff will interact with and present the items as well. Apparel items are a popular giveaway choice as booth attendants can wear them as well.

Put Your Items On Display

In the end many marketers use handouts and giveaways to draw attention and build a buzz, so it should go without saying that you want your audience to be able to see what you have to offer. When choosing your promotional items, think about how they might be displayed or used in your booth. The best items will be able to pull double duty as static advertisements as they wait to be distributed to guests.

When it comes down to it, only you will be able to determine the best trade show giveaways for your particular business. Don’t be afraid to test out all of your options and be sure to consistently update your selection to keep things fresh. With a bit of forethought and planning, these items that your guests receive for free can continue to work for you well after the show is over.

Guest Blog Post by Brian Burr:
Brian Burr is the Chief Operating Officer of Burr has been involved in every aspect of the embroidery business for more than 18 years. Before becoming the COO of, Burr was a Lead Machine Operator for six years, a Chief Mechanic for an embroidery manufacturer for three years, and the Production Manager for a custom embroidery factory for five years. He received his B.S from the University of Utah.


5 Trade Show Marketing Solutions to Solve Social Media and “Face to Face” Challenges

non-social-generationHow many times do you encounter these selling challenges?

• Getting a “face to face” meeting with prospects;
• Presenting “your product advantages” to a client who currently deals with a competitor;
• Getting through to decision makers and even clients who are increasingly hard-to-reach?

Fortunately, and unlike social media, trade shows provide an immediate and effective solution to these challenges.
Trade shows are attended by decision makers who come specifically to see a wide range of solutions, new products as well as those being offered by companies they don’t currently deal with. A trade show allows you to physically demonstrate solutions and advantages that prospects may not be receiving from their current supplier.

Use the following five trade show marketing keys to increase your exhibiting success:

1. Let People Know You Are Attending and Book Appointments.

Only 20% of companies participating in trade show have a pre-show marketing program. List the shows you’re attending on your company web site, as well as in your signature line at the bottom of all outgoing emails. At a trade show make it a policy to never eat alone. Before the show, make sure you invite key clients to every meal of the day so you get  the “face to face” time to deepen relationships, and gain insights into their business.

2. Know What Your Client’s Are Looking For

Clients within a particular industry are likely to have similar requirements. Your exhibit should focus on these common challenges and illustrate how your company has a strategy or product to answer their concerns. At some shows having technical staff or senior management on the floor can help attract serious buyers.

3. Qualify Quickly.

According to the Center for Exhibit Industry Research (CEIR) the average trade show booth visitor will spend three minutes or less in your exhibit. This means that you should develop a specific set of questions to qualify a visitor to explore their need for your products/services. Once qualified, you then need to collect their contact information and create a plan for future interaction.

4. A Better Approach to Brochures.

According to trade show research, 72% of literature received at a show is discarded before leaving the building, or while packing bags for home. A better approach is to offer a “green alternative” by emailing brochures to a clients inbox. Along with being good for the environment, it allows you to collect their contact information, and further qualify their interest in your products.

5. Post Show Follow-Up.

Undoubtedly, when you return to the office after a show you have work that has “piled up” in your absence. Despite this, it’s critical you schedule a time to follow-up on those hard earned show leads before they turn cold, or are contacted by your competitors who also attended the show.

Implementing these five strategies will definitely help increase your exhibiting success.

Guest post blog by Brian Keobke, an expert on Exhibit Marketing, who has earned the CME designation, one of the highest level of professional achievement available in the exhibit industry. To schedule a review of your exhibit marketing or discuss trade show marketing solutions contact Brian by phone 604-276-2366 or 1-800-663-1737 email.


Do New Shiny Objects Excuse Bad Old Trade Show Exhibiting Behavior?

CES Numbers-sm When new shiny objects take center stage does it matter how well trade show exhibitors behave?

Did exhibitors at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014), one of the largest shows in the world, make the same old exhibiting mistakes they commit at every show they attend?

According to an infographic of CES 2014 by Numbers, the social buzz from this mammoth show reached the equivalent of 40 percent of the world’s population – quite impressive to say the least. But how impressive were the more than 3,000 exhibitors? Did attendees walk away from the booths they visited wowed by people rather than shiny new objects?

Chances are that many of the exhibitors were less than well-prepared for their extremely stressful and demanding time on the show floor.

Wander the show floor at any major event and you are sure to come across numerous exhibitors who don’t have any idea of the right way to connect with their booth visitors, or precisely what they should be doing to optimize their show investment.

Regrettably, a lot of the giants in the industry are amongst the worst offenders. Company sales reps, and managers often stand about chitchatting with their co-workers, completely disregarding booth visitors. Alternatively, when they do interact, they’re more concerned about giving their sales spiel rather than taking time to ask questions to uncover exactly what their visitor is interested in.

This just shows an apparent lack of trade show training, as well as the basics smart exhibitors must have to take full advantage of their time on the trade show floorEffective trade show selling relies, not just on innovative products and services, but most of all, on the way booth staffers present them, and their company

Working a trade show demands a specific combination of expertise. Smart, experienced exhibitors recognize they need to ask questions and listen to their prospects. People attend shows looking for solutions to specific business challenges. If you’re more interested in getting your message out, you’ll never even uncover what’s going on in your prospect’s environment, much less be in a position to provide a possible solution.

The marketplace is full of competitive new shiny objects, so if your visitors don’t feel you’re interested in helping them, they’ll not tolerate bad old trade show exhibiting behavior, and just move on to track down someone who is more customer-centric.

With the new trade show season about to kick into gear, it’s time to ramp up your exhibiting skills.