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Smart Planning for Trade Show Promotions

Christine O'Kelly
Dec 7, 2007
Trade shows are terrific opportunities to reach new customers but everyone else there is trying to do the same thing. Business promotion in this type of high-competition environment requires special planning to be sure you get your message to the crowd.

What is special about your product?

What makes your product better than the competition? It might be price, quality, unique benefits, or something else. Think about how your product differs from other similar products.

The difference must be meaningful. Saying that you offer blue widgets when everyone else offers red ones isn't going to interest most customers. Saying you offer the same product for a lower price is going to get more people's attention.

Focus on the target buyer

Each venue is different and potential customers are dictated by the type and location of the trade show. Promotions should vary based on age, income, and other characteristics of the crowd. Marketing for trade shows in Miami might require different techniques than shows in Denver or Seattle. Sales promotions that work at a health fair might flop at a baby expo.

Every venue is different and by customizing your trade show promotions you realize greater marketing success.

Create the right message

With a product focus and a target buyer in mind, create a message that synthesizes these ideas. For example if your product's best features is its budget price, it might be attractive to both college students and retirees. Yet it's going to be difficult to find a message that appeals to both groups.

Instead, customize the message in your trade show promotions to appeal to the particular demographic of this show to grab their attention and bring in more customers.

Find the best entertainment ideas for your budget

The best trade show promotions are fun. Now that you have a clear message, consider your budget for the show and make a list of entertaining promotional options.

One popular choice is the cash cube. Contestants step inside the booth and have a certain time to grab as much cash or as many store vouchers as they can. It creates excitement which attracts people who wander over to see what all the yelling is about. You can find a variety of models to fit your budget, from high-end hardcase money machines to less expensive inflatable money machines to small table top cash cubes that contestants reach into rather than entering.

Sometimes that money machine might not be the best choice. It might be inappropriate to the venue or outside your budget. For that matter, it might be the wrong choice because it is so popular. You don't stand out if you offer the same thing everyone else does.

Maybe consider one of countless other options from the old standby, the pen with your company name on it, to digital portrait painters to entertaining robots. By considering your product, your customer, and your budget you can find the ideal trade show marketing idea that gets the most attention.
About the Author
Christine OKelly is an author for Trade Show Attractions, a trade show promotions and business promotions company providing business marketing tools designed to drive trade show traffic and increase conversions.
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