For many companies, brand promotion at a trade show is no more than putting a logo on a pen or a pad of paper. Maybe you buy a banner with your company name on it and hang it at your booth. Its minimal expense delivering minimal benefit – purchased from a low-cost supplier and quickly forgotten.
This is an opportunity lost. It can even be a mistake costing you money and business. In today’s marketplace, with more competition than ever, businesses are constantly looking for an edge. Everyone’s looking for a better way to find prospects and connect with customers. They are adapting to be heard above the swamp of clamoring marketing voices. A lost opportunity is lost business.
In this article, we’ll be looking at five of the most creative, most innovative and most effective ways businesses are leveraging their brand promotion strategy to find success at trade shows.
What is Brand Promotion
The goal of Brand Promotion is simple – to inform, communicate, influence, and remind customers and prospects of your brand promise. Done correctly and effectively, when it comes time to purchase, the prospect will remember your brand and contact you with their business.
A few of the way’s businesses use brand promotion include:
- Communicating information about a product, or a specific feature of a product that differentiates it from similar products;
- Informing prospects about a special or a deal related to a product or service;
- Increasing brand awareness;
- Increasing sales, creating demand, or countering negative influencers in the market that could impact sales;
- Countering or reacting to competition or competing messaging in the marketplace.
Before setting your brand promotion strategy, consider your business and marketing goals. Rather than creating disconnected silos for your marketing effort, look to create synergies between your efforts with a focus on meeting the overall business goals.
How to Use Brand Promotion at Trade Shows
A trade show is a powerful opportunity for any business looking to optimize their efforts in brand promotion.
Think about it… you have a convention hall filled with bored prospects and potential customers looking for something to pique their interest. These are people searching for the right message. You can be that message. That’s where brand promotion can help.
Start by understanding your audience – all those people wandering the halls of the trade show. Rather than making assumptions or using past strategies, look at creating a buyer persona specific to the trade show. This will provide unique insight into their needs and your potential strategy for the show.
Once you have a good idea about your goals for the show, and understand your audience and what motivates them, it’s time to develop your brand promotion strategy.
Top Ideas for Brand Promotion at Trade Shows
You have plenty of options when it comes to brand promotion… which is why it is so frustrating to see companies turn to a pen with a logo again and again.
Let’s look at a few of the ways leading companies are using brand promotion at trade shows.
New Product or Service Messaging
A trade show is a great place to announce a new product or service.
You have an industry audience and a window of time where you can discuss your new product and how it can help. You have prospects and customers ready and willing to give you their time to learn about a product that can help them meet their needs and requirements.
The problem is, a trade show is a chaotic event with a cacophony of marketing and messaging, and it’s easy for your product or service to get lost in the noise. That’s where brand promotion can help. Look at linking your brand promotion – the show giveaway, the incentive programs, or promotional gift, for example – to the product or service. For example, if your new product is a barcode label for extreme temperatures, look at providing a lighter with your logo and contact number for ordering the labels.
A promotional gift is one of the best ways to reach and influence an audience. A recent study reported that 82% of prospects had a more favorable view of a brand after receiving a promotional product, 79% reported they were more likely to do business with the brand and 83% did research about the brand or product. In fact, promotional products were identified as the most effective advertising across generations.
That’s the kind of power you want promoting a new product or service at a tradeshow.
Branding and Advertising using Apparel
Apparel can be an incredibly powerful tool for branding or advertising, especially at a trade show. It’s an opportunity to turn a prospect into an influencer and generate free publicity.
Consider how much you might spend for a billboard or an advertisement. Then consider how much you will spend for a few shirts or other pieces of apparel that can be handed out to influencers or prospects at a trade show. This is the perfect opportunity to grow your brand by getting your logo and name in front of your target audience.
Take a moment to also consider how you want to influence the audience and look at how your choice in apparel or design can also make an influence. For example, if you are selling a service that offers protection (software perhaps), then maybe an umbrella or a rain slick. Look at a t-shirt as an opportunity to showcase more than your logo and use it to highlight new features or a promotion.
Many businesses go to a trade show and measure success by a spreadsheet of new contacts. Little to no business is generated from the list. The company lacks follow-up and wonders why they aren’t making the most of their trade show attendance.
Brand promotion can change that. Rather than sending out an email or asking for a follow-up meeting, look at sending a promotional item that not only catches attention, but also helps sell your product or service. Maybe send a sample or your product with ordering information, or a useful bit of tech like a thumb drive that includes your catalog.
After a tradeshow, it’s become commonplace for your inbox to fill with marketing from the companies you meet. If you can send a physical object to that prospect, your business is sure to stand out from the inbox.
Inspire Action and Loyalty
The goal of any brand promotion campaign (or even marketing in general) is to influence a consumer and inspire action. Why not use your brand promotion campaign to motivate action? Get the prospect moving in the right direction from the beginning.
Many companies will offer a simple “show special” discount for guests of a show. A show special turns a sale into a numbers game – who can offer the biggest discount. There’s also a chance you’ll never see another sale from it. So, why not offer something that inspires action rather than just a sale.
For example, offer a free workflow analysis on-site for certain customers, or a consultation. Use the analysis to show your unique brand promise. Set-up a special incentive or reward program specifically for people who purchase at the show. Look at your show special as an opportunity to inspire loyalty in customers.
Product Service or Sample
A trade show is a great way to get your product and service in front of your prospects, letting them experience how it works. The problem is the limits of the show make it difficult to really see your product or service in action.
Get your product off the show floor and in the hands of a customer with a pilot program or sample package. Design a sample program for the show that prospects can sign up for. If you sell a SAAS system, give them a free month pilot program with a special code. If you sell cleaning materials, then offer a special package of materials you can only receive if you went to the show.
With the right service or product, one that really targets a key need in your buyer persona, the sample is the best marketing you can do. Create exclusivity with show attendees with the special. Getting the service or sample in the hands of a prospect as quickly and easily as possible is the best way to increase sales.
Take your Promotional Marketing to the Next Level
Sure, the pen has become a staple of businesses at trade shows, but with a little planning and insight you can do so much more with your brand promotion.
Today, promotional materials are considered some of the most effective advertising you can do. If you aren’t using the best tool in your advertising tool kit, you are missing out, losing sales and struggling to meet goals.
We suggest working with a specialty vendor with access to a wide variety of promotional items. Not only will they have easy access to the brand promotion materials and resources you need, they will have the relationships with vendors you need to reduce costs. In addition, they can bring best practices and insights you may not find anywhere else.
Want to learn more, or see other opportunities to improve your marketing? Contact GO2 Partners and ask about the 2020 Marketing program. 2020 Marketing is a marketing execution program designed to provide the flexible resources and expertise modern businesses need to capitalize on opportunities. Set up an appointment with a marketing leader at GO2 and see what 2020 Marketing can do for you.