You Don't REALLY want more trade show traffic, do you?

Typically when I'm called by somebody who is planning to occupy a booth at a Trade Show, their biggest need is to increase traffic to their booth.

Or so they believe.

My question is, invariably, "Why?!"

I'll grant you that many trade show booth dwellers sit in relative obscurity during their stay on the floor. But this is not the norm. More often than not the booth jockeys are overwhelmed with lookers and lurkers, pen-grabbers and card-eaters.

Unless the vendor has truly organized and prepared to efficiently process the waves of overwhelming foot-traffic, they will fail at the one thing they have set out to do: Create a new relationship.

Instead they stand pitifully at the waterfall trying to fill their Dixie Cups.

Let's say, instead, that what you really want from a Trade Show is
BETTER traffic,
more qualified traffic,
more responsive traffic.

You want to filter out your true prospects, you want them to quickly get a valuable nugget of information from you, while you in turn get their contact information, and in the process you both get a commitment to another meeting, a meeting that can take place via phone, email, or in person.

This kind of interaction should take seconds. There should be a recognition by the both of you that you will be speaking again shortly. There should be an exchange of value.

There are a number of things you need to try to get at your trade show. Tons of traffic, is not one of those things. Certainly, if you get tons of trade show traffic, you want to be able to process the hordes to your best advantage. Presumably you will distribute something to get them all to followup later, register at your site perhaps, request more information. When you are all a little less busy.

In any case what you want, ideally, is this:
You want contacts to leave you information.
You want contacts to have a compelling reason to come to your website or call your office as soon as they get back.
You want to answer any pressing questions and find out how you can be of value to your prospect.
You want to thank them.

I'll discuss more about how you might do these things next time.
Thus ends part one, where I tell you to stop wishing for things that will do you absolutely no good.

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About my LogoBlog

Promotional Products, at their core, are really just what they look like: STUFF.

Stuff with messages. Things you get at the trade shows and street fairs like candy and pens. Bears and baubles from Banks and Real Estate Agents. Lots of stuff.

But Promotional Marketing is Magic.

Creating a High-Impact Incentive, that works, is tingle-inducing.
Coming up with a Moving and Memorable Executive Gift, not easy, but worth it.
Developing a Brand Awareness Program with a measurable return on investment. THAT'S a trick.

Listen, you can put a logo on anything. Really. If it exists, someone has invented a way to brand it. And show it in catalogs, pamphlets, fliers, emails, online stores, ad infinitum. But that's all easy.

Typically the logo people in my industry will simply let you know that we're "here".
And you the consumers are supposed to flip through the catalogs, troll the online search engines, pick out a nice pen or a tote bag, and go about ordering it. Yay, you found the lowest price on something that you don't even know why you're buying.

What, you want,,, guidance? Ideas? Huh?! You mean that's not why they pay you, the VP of Marketing? You say the HR Director isn't supposed to be driving shirts from Costco over to the local low-bid embroiderer??? The PR department doesn't have time to look through Don't you people work?!

This Blog might be fun. It's FREE, in any case. I'm just thinking out loud, tossing ideas around that you really ought to be charged for. If I didn't already enjoy this so much.

So come into the mind of a Promotional Marketing Professional. A Branding Guru. The Logo guy. You might be surprised at what you find there (( ,, hurry hurry ,, cleaning out porn site cache, putting away book reviews, baseball cards, e-solitaire, cake - where'd that come from? ,, ,, OK, you can look now)).

Well, alright, this isn't a formal meeting. You will not be tested on best practices for non-inventoried fulfilment programs or technology tips for e-catalogs. Unless I'm in a mood.

Really, this is my career.

If this is what I think about all day, if this is why I go to conventions and regional meetings
- heck if this is why I'm licensed to have an acronym after my name! -
wouldn't you think I have a thing or two that I can impart? OK, Maybe. We'll see.

You don't have to buy anything.

Just steal ideas, take the credit. It's what I'm here for.
I might even answer questions.

Don Sheffler, CAS

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