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Archive for December, 2006

A Lamb Amongst the Wolves

Posted by poorrichardspromos on December 28, 2006

This entry is from Part #3 of the 7 Deadly Mistakes Exhibitors Make When Purchasing Promotional Products For Trade Shows –
“Forgetting Existing Customers”

Here’s something to keep in mind. If you are at the show – odds are, so is your competition. And here’s the real kicker… Do you know who most of the new customers you picked up at the last couple of shows are? The unappreciated ex-clients of your competition!

Nothing beats trade shows for meeting clients and prospects face to face. But consider this, your competition has the same advantage. Listen, I’m not kidding around, it is imperative you let your customers know you appreciate them or our competitors will.

Here Is My Horror Story

It was my first trade show. I was a young businessman who had landed a huge account. Now, the year before we had purchased about $250,000 worth of T-shirts from our primary supplier (which was respectable) and $50,000 from our secondary supplier. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I started in this industry as a T-shirt printer!)

I decided to take a walk over to my primary T-Shirt supplier’s booth. (Who we had bought about $250,000 worth from during the course of the year)  What happened? I stood for about 10 minutes and was completely ignored. (Keep in mind, the average attendee will wait only 3 to 5 minutes without being attended to.)

Ok, so I left and came back a few hours later. Sure enough, there I was in the booth again for about another 10 minutes – completely ignored. Man, I thought I was a big fish to these guys, but they didn’t know or even care who I was.

So here’s what happened next. I went two isles over to my secondary supplier (who I ordered a small amount from during the year). They came up to me immediately and spoke with me as if I was the biggest customer they ever had!

To this day, I remember our conversation. They gave me a nice promotional pen, thanked me a million times and asked what they could do better.

The following year I bought $1,000,000 worth of T-shirts from them and only $50,000 from the other guys.

But it didn’t stop there either. 12 months later the rep from my old supplier showed up at my plant. He was completely blown away by the expansion.  He was eager to know why our sales with them had dropped so dramatically. My response? “We got a better deal from the other guys.” He still thinks he lost the business because of pricing.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. I decided that when I started exhibiting at shows I would do everything I could to avoid this ever happening to me.  Like many other businesses, I have many customers who I’ve never met face to face. Keep this in mind… trade shows are a great opportunity to either build on our relationship, or destroy it.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Promotional Products, Trade Show Articles, Trade Show Giveaways, Trade Show Tips | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Forget About Your Existing Customers!

Posted by poorrichardspromos on December 21, 2006

This entry is from Part #3 of the 7 Deadly Mistakes Exhibitors Make When Purchasing Promotional Products For Trade Shows –
“Forgetting Existing Customers”

When most exhibitors think of trade show promotional products, they think of using them for one reason – Using them to drive booth traffic. But I must let you in on a secret, most are overlooking one of the most powerful uses of promotional items, building customer loyalty through appreciation gifts. The bottom line is this… Some of your budget must be used for customer retention.


It Costs 7 Times As Much To Get A New Customer As It Does To Retain An Old One

What do you think is the number one reason customers leave their current supplier? Price? Nope. Service? Nope. It is the feeling that their business is no longer appreciated.

Fortunately, the #1 use of promotional items is in fact – for customer gifts. These gifts foster goodwill and customer retention. Although there are a number of ways to show you appreciate your client’s business, very few of them have the residual impact of re-usable gifts.

You see…not only do promotional customer gifts have the effect of the initial “thank you,” but also the product itself has staying power and reminds them of your appreciation over and over. Picture it like this. Your gift subconsciously says “thank you” every time it is used. That is the power of re-useable promotional items.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Promotional Products, Trade Show Articles, Trade Show Giveaways, Trade Show Tips | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Promotional Products Can Drive OUT Disqualified Trade Show Traffic

Posted by poorrichardspromos on December 20, 2006

This entry is from Part #2 of the 7 Deadly Mistakes Exhibitors Make When Purchasing Promotional Products For Trade Shows – “Not Qualifying Recipients”

Promotional Products Can Drive OUT Disqualified Traffic. Ok, you might be thinking, “What’s this guy talking about? He just got finished telling me how great promotional items were for drawing traffic TO my booth.”

Truth is, if you are prospecting for qualified leads, you can also use promotional items to quickly get unqualified traffic OUT OF YOUR BOOTH. It all comes down to this. If everyone at the show is not a potential buyer it is just as important to disqualify people as it is to qualify them.

If an attendee is not qualified he or she is not a prospect. What’s more, they will cost you money by taking time away from prospecting good leads. Your show time is finite and must be managed to maximize results.

Here’s an Example: A True Story

The first thing I did before I ever exhibited at a trade show was learn everything I could about exhibiting. The one thing that stuck in my head was Time Management.

One particular show comes to mind. There were thousands of attendees, but only a limited amount of potential buyers of my product. So, it was important for me to set a goal of getting as many qualified leads as I could, and then market to them after the show.

Here’s what I did. I bought a putter, a portable putting green, 300 globe stress balls, and T-Shirts. I drew traffic by offering a free t-shirt to anyone who could make a putt.

Now here was the kicker… They had to make the putt with a globe stress ball – not a golf ball! Trade shows are fun and most people enjoyed taking putts and watching others putt. It was always funny for the non golfers to see their golfer co-workers
put on an even playing field.

So here was the plan. While people were waiting their turn to putt, we made sure to ask them what they did, and if they ever bought trade show giveaways.

Now, everyone who made the putt got a free T-Shirt, but if we found out that they were not qualified and they missed the putt, we didn’t want to spend too much time with them. We simply gave them the stress ball and some literature to pass along to
the decision maker. We moved them in and out of the booth in 3 minutes.

If we felt they were qualified, after the putt we would take them through our sales pitch. Whether they made the putt or not, we made sure to give them an assortment of samples, company literature, and a T-Shirt.

What makes this so special? The T-Shirt was not only an item with more perceived valuable, but as I mentioned yesterday WEARABLES have a huge retention and re-use rate. So we made sure to get repeated exposure to a qualified prospect who had the need for our service.

But you know what else? We took their business card or information and asked permission to follow up after the show. We DID NOT TAKE INFO ON NON QUALIFIED BUYERS.

Why is this important? Because if they are not a qualified prospect, you don’t want to spend time and money marketing to them after the show. I never rented a lead system because I did not want a bunch of non qualified leads in my database.

The business cards we collected were stapled to a lead sheet where we wrote notes to use in our follow up. All of our marketing after the show was focused on buyers. Needless to say we had a great conversion rate.

Let me just quickly reiterate. The product we used to move them along was the stress ball. Everybody left the booth happy and we kept the lead machine moving.

Keep in mind…Unqualified leads cheering in your booth is a good thing too. People were drawn to the “buzz” in our booth. Remember, TRAFFIC DRAWS TRAFFIC. Slow days and slow hours were always busier for us than the booths around us.

There are a lot of different things you can do with promotional products at trade shows but as you can see from my example you should probably have a disqualifier (inexpensive) and a qualifier item. Both will serve you well and it sure beats giving stuff away and not knowing what you spent the money on.

Posted in Advertising, Blogroll, Branding, Marketing, Promotional Products, Trade Show Articles, Trade Show Giveaways, Trade Show Tips | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Trick or Treat

Posted by poorrichardspromos on December 19, 2006

This entry is from Part #2 of the 7 Deadly Mistakes Exhibitors Make When Purchasing Promotional Products For Trade Shows – “Not Qualifying Recipients”

It would be a simple world for you as an exhibitor if every person walking the show floor was a buyer of your product or service. The unfortunate reality is that this is not the case.

Here’s a common scene at trade shows. Companies simply put out their custom promotional products for everyone to stop by and pick up. The result? They waste a ton of money that will never bring them a return.

There’s a saying… “The guy with a big bag of tchotchke ain’t buyin.” You know the type, right? The attendee who goes from booth to booth to gather as much “free stuff” as possible. Yup, that guy… he’s not buyin’.

So do yourself a favor, do not wasting valuable time talking to unqualified leads who are talking to you solely to add to their overflowing bag of “free stuff.”

Posted in Advertising, Blogroll, Branding, Marketing, Promotional Products, Trade Show Articles, Trade Show Giveaways, Trade Show Tips | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Promotional Products Will Drive Traffic to Your Booth

Posted by poorrichardspromos on December 18, 2006

This entry is from Part #2 of the 7 Deadly Mistakes Exhibitors Make When Purchasing Promotional Products For Trade Shows – “Not Qualifying Recipients”

OK, so you’re looking for hoards of people to gather to your booth for your next trade show and looking to brand your product /service. Well, here’s how to do it. Studies show 71.6% of attendees can recall the name of the company they received a
trade show promotional item from.

Unfortunately you are not going to be able to speak to every attendee walking the show floor. Many people are going to slip through the cracks during peak exhibit times.

There’s no denying it. Promotional products will draw traffic to your
booth
. But what items should you be looking for? Well if you’ve read Mistake #1, you should know that you want inexpensive items that have
high retention rates, are re-useable and that work.

Here’s another tip. Make your promotional items available and make sure your contact info is on the product and any message you are focusing on at the show. You would be surprised at the amount of promotional items given out WITHOUT contact information… what a waste!!

The fact is, promotional items are great for getting a targeted message to a designated recipient on a repetitive
basis
. If nothing else, the exposure will help brand these attendees for future shows. And that’s not all. Studies show people receiving promotional items think favorably of the companies that gave them to them.

Keep in mind; this is great if EVERYONE at your next show is a potential buyer or prospect. But what if they are not?
Who is a Qualified Recipient?

Sure, you may want hoards of people to your booth to get some exposure, but remember this…When talking about
trade show giveaways one thing is clear. You need to know WHO your targeted prospects are… your QUALIFIED recipients.

So WHO should you be looking for out of the masses? The obvious answer is that you want the decision maker, right! Well consider this… How about other people who may be exposed to the decision maker? What about people who can influence the decision maker?

Picture this. If my assistant was wearing your logo’ed baseball hat everyday, chances are I would take notice. The reason you should include those around the decision maker is to take advantage of the opportunity to influence them with your brand exposure on that promotional item. In the case of the logo’ed hat – Don’t you think that continued exposure would be worth the $5 investment!

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Deadly Mistakes To Avoid While Buying Trade Show Giveaways

Posted by poorrichardspromos on December 15, 2006

This entry is from Part #1 of the 7 Deadly Mistakes Exhibitors Make When Purchasing Promotional Products For Trade Shows –
“Buying Throwaways vs. Giveaways”

Nothing beats promotional products for getting a targeted message to a designated recipient on a repetitive basis. The key part of this statement is “on a repetitive basis.” This fundamental benefit of promotional items is probably the most overlooked and misunderstood factor in the promotional product buying decision.

Here’s a typical call I get, “I need some trade show giveaways for my next show. Do you have blah blah blah? They are really cute and I saw an exhibitor giving them away last year.”

Just imagine… billions of dollars are wasted every year – Most exhibitors only get a fraction of the return on investment on their trade show promotional products. Why? Because they spend their money on giveaways and not repetitive message senders.

Promotional Products Work

Studies show that 7 out of 10 people who receive promotional gifts at trade shows can recall the name of the company that gave them the product. Sounds great, but that’s not all – not even close. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. While most people would be thrilled at these results, they are missing one simple fact. If your prospect has a “RE-USABLE” product, your company gets seen over, and over and over again. The result? Your cost per impression goes down and your return on investment goes up. Retention is the key to maximizing effectiveness.

Maximizing Your Trade Show Budget

Think about this. Say you spend $1 on 1000 items. If 9 out of 10 get thrown away, only 1 in 10 is reused. Your cost per retention is $10 each and your $1000 got your message re-used by 100 people. But if that $1 item is kept and reused by 5 out of 10 people, your cost per retention is $2 each and you have exposed 500 people on a repetitive basis for $1000. Hmmm, for $1000 if you had the choice of being seen by either 100 people or by 500 people over and over, what would you do?

What’s New?

I love this one. 99% of the time “What’s new?” is code for “What can I buy that no one will ever use.”

Remember the “Carabineer” craze? For 5 years everyone under the sun was selling these things. (You know, the clips that rock climbers use.) Not only was everyone selling them, but then they made 500 variations of the product.

They had Carabineers with compasses, Carabineers with flashlights, with key chains, and clocks built in. They came in plastic, aluminum and steel. And they became available in 90 colors!

Now tell me this. How many people do you know that carry one around on a daily basis? I bet the industry sold 5 billion dollars worth of them. 2 billion at trade shows. Why? Because it was new. The colors were cute. They matched the booth. “Oh it has a compass, this will come in handy if I get lost on my way to the office!”

Let’s face it. How many of us have used a compass in our life after boy scouts and girl scouts? The landfills are full of them. My point is this: There are items that have a high retention rate that have been around a long time and there is a reason they are the top items bought and sold. They simply WORK.

Let me be a bit more specific. Here are the top selling categories of trade show promotional items and percentage of overall sales.

1) Wearables 29.98%
2) Promotional Pen 10.61%
3) Calendars 7.64%
4) Drink Ware 6.25%
5) Desk/Business accessories 5.69%
6) Trade Show Plastic Bags 5.46%

I have probably sold 5 million promotional T shirts in my career. They are the highest retained item in the industry and there is no greater value.

Look around your desk: Mouse pad, paper cube, pens, highlighter, letter opener, carabineer (I’m joking), coffee mug, calendar, ruler.

Look in your house: bag clip, jar opener, refrigerator magnet, coffee mugs, tee shirts, hats.

 

Get in your prospect’s house, on their desk, in their briefcase, on their backs, and in their drawers. Every day items have the greatest return. Remind them of you products and services and you’ll micro brand them. You’ll never buy a throwaway again and you’ll no longer see the promotional product budget as an expense. You’ll know what the Wise Buyer knows, you bought an asset.

Posted in Advertising, Blogroll, Branding, business, Marketing, Promotional Products, Trade Show Articles, Trade Show Giveaways, Trade Show Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »