Thursday, January 8, 2015

Creative promotions foster tradeshow ROI

We just read this piece by sales and marketing consultant Cliff Quicksell, MAS:

With 300,000-plus promotional items to choose from, picking the right thing is nothing more than a crapshootâ€" unless the person in charge of your tradeshow presence asks questions like these:

What is your objective by exhibiting?
What do you hope to accomplish with the promotional products you select?
Do you evaluate your return on investment (ROI) from your shows?
How many people will be attending?
How many of those are your prospects or clients?

Several years ago, while attending an apparel show, I watched as two women stood at the end of a booth stuffing shirts into a bag and handing them out to a long line of people. I stood there in amazement because their sales pitch was nothing more than a smile and "there you go, see ya." No attendees ever stepped foot into the booth. A business card wasn't even requested in exchange for the shirt sample. Yet when the shirt stock was depleted I heard one of the women say to the other, "Wow! That was a great show; we gave out over 1,000 T-shirts." ...WHAT?

A fairly expensive item was given away to mostly non-prospects
They learned nothing about their audience
They qualified zero prospects
There is no ROI

It is your imperative to find the right provider, one that knows what questions to ask in order to build the very best program to maximize the success of your show. Start with what you know:

Does the show management have an overall theme?
Do you have a theme that coincides with the overall show theme?
What are your specific objectives for doing the show? (Just need to be there because the competition is there? Launching a new product? Increase sales? Develop leads?)
Who is your target audience, specifically?
What is the demographic profile of your ideal client?
How many of your target audience will be there?

Not everyone who attends a tradeshow is your prospect. Expo statistics state that roughly 12 percent of show attendees are your potential buyer. So, let's look at a scenario: Assume that your company sells electronic scissor-lifts to the construction trade, you are exhibiting at a show, and you need "stuff" to give away. Show management has informed you that the projected attendance for this show will be 2,000 buyers. You've budgeted $2,000 worth of custom logo merchandise to hand out at the show. Now, when doing the math, that means you need something around one dollar. Do you honestly think that you’ll attract your key buyers with a dollar item?

Sometimes the solution is two levels of giveaways. If you want something for all attendees, try logo imprinted wrapped mints. In addition, a higher-level item, such as leather business card cases, can be ordered in smaller quantities and placed under the table for prospects who spent the time to hear the sales pitch. In this case, the exhibitor spent only 75 percent of its budgetâ€" but had experienced a 60-percent greater success rate at this particular show.

Some giveaways are not even given at the show. At one particular expo, this exhibitor's target audience had a liking for Chinese food, so they had 5,000 branded chopsticks made with their name and booth number imprinted on them. They were given to every Chinese restaurant in the area free to use during the week-long show. In addition, thousands of taxi-cab receipts were printed with the company name and number along with booth information. These were handed out free to all of the taxi companies to use during the same period. Granted, this is blanketing a larger audience. However, the impact on the target audience was greater due to the context and originality.

Imagine if you could drive a more profitable and productive show. Go beyond the product, think outside the box and experience the best show ever.


What are YOUR thoughts on all this? We'd like to hear your comments!

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