Making the Most of Your Tradeshow Booth

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It’s a sad, sad story and one that I have heard many times: A company spends anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a local tabletop show to tens of thousands of dollars for a national trade show and ends up with little or nothing to show for it – not even a breakeven on their expenses. Of course, the business owner or marketing director for the company usually blames outside influences: attendance was off, the weather was bad, the quality of attendees was poor, not enough publicity for the show, the economy is down, a bad booth location, the sales team was off their game, etc….

In reality, most businesses don’t reap the rewards from their participation in a trade show because they failed to:

  • have a system in place for attracting potential customers to their exhibit.
  • qualify those people who visited their booth.
  • follow up with those visitors who left contact information.

With the next trade show season kicking off January 3rd, now is the time to plan for a successful showing at a trade show in 2011.

In order to make the most of the time, effort and money spent on a trade show exhibit, we must approach each individual show as a complete marketing campaign in and of itself with a preparation segment, an exhibit segment and a follow-up segment. By doing this, we maximize the ability to reach our actual target market so that we can qualify those individuals who are prepared to do business with us now and to prime the pipeline for those who would consider doing business with us in the future.

The Power of Personalized Products

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I often speak about the power of promotional products as extremely effective marketing tool. Of course, the advertising power lies in the fact that your logo and/or message is imprinted on an item that someone is using on a regular basis, therefore keeping your branding front and center.

Of course, with holiday business gift season upon us, a logo’d product is not always the best way to go, as I mentioned in a previous entry. In fact, as much of a marketing tool as the business gift is, it should still be approached as a gift and not an advertisement. In light of this, I often recommend no imprint, a subtle tone-on-tone imprint, or a hidden imprint. Best of all, however, is a personalized imprint.

Let’s face it, an item that has your name printed on it is not likely to get thrown out. In fact, you are more likely to use that item, and maybe even show it off, then an item imprinted with someone’s logo. Not only that, but you will probably not forget who gave you that item; that means that each time you use it, you think of that person or organization!

How can I prove this? Well, I recently started a campaign where I give or send out personalized pens to clients and prospects. The only imprint on the pen is their name. Some of these people I see once a week and others I have never even met in person. The response is the same. For those that I see, regularly or occasionally, they always pull out their pen to show me that it is in their pocket, purse, or padfolio and that they use it. Others start off their e-mails to me with, “Thank you for the pen with my name on it. I use it every day.” I’ve gotten calls from associates of people who received my pens asking how they qualify to receive a personalized pen.

Now, before you wonder if I’m sending name-brand expensive pens, I am not. I am sending out pens that retail for between about $2.00 and $4.00 per pen at the lowest quantity minimum purchase. That’s not to say that they are not good quality pens, because they are. It’s just that, between the quality of the pen at that price point and the added wow factor of the pens being personalized, the perceived value is probably at least two to three times what the pen actually cost. I’ve made a not-soon-to-be forgotten impact.

So, whether it’s a $2 pen or a $20 wine glass set or a $150 silverplate frame, consider putting their name on it instead of yours. You will show your appreciation with no taint of advertising involved.

Defining a Target Market

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One of the keys to successful marketing is defining a target market, yet it is one of the marketing aspects many small business owners and/or sales people don’t take the time and effort to narrow down. A common misconception is that “everyone,” or “anyone who (owns a computer/drives a car/owns a business/eats/etc….) is a defined target market.

Let’s take me, for example: in theory, anyone who owns a business could be my target market. Is that really true, though? Absolutely not! First of all, I am a bit particular in that I like to get paid; that means that a business with no money to spend on marketing is certainly not in my target market. Then, there are those large corporations that I could not possibly service in a way that meets my quality standards because Lev Promotions is simply too small at this point to meet their multi-national, multi-project needs – again, not in my target market.

To truly define a target market, you need to understand your abilities and limitations (strengths and weaknesses), as well as the identifying factors of who your best customers are. Those factors could be demographic (age, gender, income level, nationality, etc….) , psychographic (approach to various life issues), or physical (proximity, energy expenditure, etc….). 

Once you’ve put together a profile of who your best customer type is, you can craft a marketing program that is tailored to this group. By doing this, you maximize the time, effort and money you put into your marketing campaigns by ensuring that the message has meaning and an appealing call to action to the group of people most likely to buy from you or utilize your services. Your return on investment will be higher than in a non-targeted campaign, your revenues will grow, and you will be building relationships with your “ideal” client.

Are Food Gifts a Good Idea for Business Purposes?

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Business gifts of food are, without a doubt, popular; maybe even the most popular, holiday gift item. The question remains, “As a business gift, do I get the desired marketing results with a food gift that doesn’t last longer than it takes to eat it?” The answer depends on a number of things:

 

1) Does your gift have the “wow” factor? Are you choosing a gift basket from the same big box store that four other people will pick out to send to your recipients? If so, then the only “wow” factor will go to the company that gets their basket there first.

 

2) Did you choose a food gift that has a permanent component to it? A container (basket, bowl, tin, mug, etc…) will stay around after the food has been enjoyed. When your recipients look at that container, they will remember the delicious gifts that were inside and the company/person who sent it. If you can imprint the container, you have additional options to make your gift stand out.

 

3) Are you choosing quality food products to send? If the fruit arrives spoiled, the effect of the gift is spoiled. If no one wants to eat your food gift, then you will either not be remembered, or worse, be remembered in a bad light. Choose products that you would want to receive and to eat. But, if you’re like that guy on the Travel Channel that eats bizarre foods, keep it more mainstream. Finally, remember, there are some good fruit cakes out there, but most people do not appreciate receiving one.
 
Need ideas to make this year’s business gift giving so successful that your recipients will work for your continued success because they will be looking forward to what you come up with next year? Give us a call at 619-697-2045 or send an e-mail to info@levpromotions.com to set an appointment with a Marketing Solutions Specialist, or check out our Product Catalogs for some ideas at www.levpromotions.com.

With Business Gifts, What’s Inside Is Not the Only That Counts

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When it comes to business gifts, what’s outside can be at least as important as what is inside the package. By making the packaging and/or presentation of a business gift creative, we can make the initial impact and resulting memories of the gift that much more powerful.  

Although gift cards are a popular choice, statistics show that fully 25% of gift cards are never redeemed. And when they are, they are usually used to purchase necessities, or even a gift for someone else. What if you were to enclose that gift card in a wallet? Certainly the wow factor has just increased tremendously and you’ve given an additional item that will be used and enjoyed long after the gift card is gone.

Do you like to give a more “crafty” type of gift? Maybe creating a cookie recipe and packaging the dry ingredients so that it’s practically ready to bake? What if you dropped that ingredients package into a cookie jar, or a mug? Your presentation impression just went way up and, again, the packaging will stay behind and be used long after the cookies are enjoyed. 

Need ideas to make this year’s business gift giving so successful that your recipients will work for your continued success because they will be looking forward to what you come up with next year? Give us a call at 619-697-2045 or e-mail us at info@levpromotions.com to set an appointment with a Marketing Solutions Specialist.