You have almost completed your business plan, but you are still developing the marketing activities component. One great avenue to include in your planning and to get exposure to your products and services is at a trade show event.
Trade Show Events
Trade show events give you the ability to showcase products and services to masses of potential customers, with colourful, interactive displays manned by representatives promoting the business. Since the marketing product industry is so competitive, banner and pop-up displays are cost-effective and can be user-friendly in the set-up and take-down. If designed right, your display can last for years and be used over and over again at trade show events.
If you have chosen the right trade show and right target participants, you may be able to convert a high rate of participants at a trade show event into buying customers. You must consider that participants are there for a reason, and the fact that most pay to attend is a great sign that they are interested in the commercial aspects of the event. Ensure you have the ability to track leads and to follow up on those leads.
Key factors you should be aware of when considering trade show events:
- Ensure you target the appropriate venues and trade shows that will result in the highest volume of interested participants
- Be prepared – design the layout of your trade show space and pick the appropriate spot in the trade show event
- Design your trade show booth and display, interactive with models, samples, videos, and take home products
- Make sure you staff you booth appropriately and that at least 1 person is there at all times; an unmanned booth is a waste of money at an expensive trade show, and opportunities for new customers will be lost
- Interact with customers stopping by the booth but also with the pedestrians who are walking the aisles by invite them in with offers
- Make sure you have freebies and give-aways with branded logos and contact information for the potential customers; there needs to be a way for potential customers to contact you
- Track revenue and expenditures from trade show activities, and analyze the return on investment
Your marketing budget for a trade show event must include:
- Cost of trade show attendance and appropriate booth space
- Any advertising that will promote your attendance at the event
- Banners and printed materials
- Give-aways, samples and contest expenditures
- Human resource staffing costs
- Costs of transportation
- Any additional insurance costs
- The post event costs associated with customer and lead follow up
Consider trade show events as one of those key marketing, outreach activities for your business. With added attention to your trade show participation, your booth will be the showcase of the trade show event, and will result in additional customers and revenue generation you deserve.
Super Bowl Advertising – Are Big Advertising Budgets Worth it?
The opinions on the value of advertising during Super Bowl are quite divided by the corporate world and consumers / viewers. Most viewers that do like Super Bowl ads are appreciating the entertainment value of these ads. On the other side, a consumer may see little value in some of these ads, as those ads may do very little to tell a story or promote a product or service. Big advertising budgets obviously have pros and cons, with Super Bowl advertising at the top of the charts.
In this age of protests and occupy this and that, did any corporations get that message? At $3.5 Million per crack, did anyone think it may be worthwhile promoting or supporting their side causes, instead of entertaining viewers? I know that sounds boring and maybe not fits, but I can’t help to think of how many watching (the 99 %?) would focus on whether the corporate world was trying to do the right thing. Of the “other 99%” that did watch, I am not sure they would agree with corporations spending this money on entertainment, when $3.5 Million could employ 70-100 mid-level, full-time positions. The corporations may come back at us with the fact that $3.5 Million in advertising resulted in an additional $7.0 Million in revenue and 140-200 jobs created. As you can see, positions are solidified on both sides.
At the end of the half time show, the crowd cheered to the “World Peace” message lit up on the field; I am sure the emotional response from most of the rest of the world viewers was the same. And that’s the point – emotional connection with the viewers. I am not sure that a vampire bush party did it, although with reference to the above, was entertaining (different type of connection with viewers).
A lot of things could be done on a $3.5 Million budget. Most entrepreneurs and small businesses are not in this same league the corporate world is in. I am sure that there will be some brand awareness or increased sales from these ads, but this only forms part of the multi-million budgets these corporations have.
On positive notes, many positions were created in the production of commercials, and with an estimated $11 Billion spent on food and retail around Super Bowl, many more. I am sure the good people of Indianapolis benefited greatly with the ~$150 Million in direct spending in their community. Fiat (LA Times) has reported that their ads during Super Bowl have resulted in a 138% increase in traffic to their website; logic would state this would lead to improved sales, improved company, and more employment. All benefits from big budget advertising.
When advertising and dedicating resources, perception and optics should be key factors in your marketing budgets and should shape your own business’ or corporation’s messages to the consumer. In tough economic times it is difficult to do anything else but to message around helping people, helping the consumer, and maybe not just to entertain.
Drive Traffic to Your Business - The Benefits of Free or Trial Samples
If you are in a goods or services business, you obviously have reviewed several possible, different marketing activities to build customers. In this batch of activities, one of the most effective marketing outreach activities may include providing free or trial samples.
You may think or ask yourself, why provide free samples. Or you may be thinking “this is going to cost me a fortune”. You may be surprised at the results.
The context and delivery is different whether there is a physical location or a location off the track. Websites or software that offer trial periods, take on another dynamic as well. All have similarities in terms of benefits that can result from these activities.
Here are some potential benefits in providing free samples:
- Drives traffic to your location, website, etc
- Gains initial interest in a part of you suite of products, goods or services
- Builds brand recognition
- Gains interest from non-customers in close proximity
- Builds a higher conversion rate from pedestrian or visitor to consumer
- Builds relationships
- Builds immediate awareness of product or service
- No investment, no risk on the consumer side
- Experience is the richest, as opposed to an ad in a newspaper (different purposes)
- Free sampler turning into a consumer is a repeat customer
- Free offers spread like wild fire, as one customer will broadcast to others quickly
- Less costly than other forms of marketing
- “Free” is a motivator to try, later converting to buy
- Builds a database of potential customers if asking for basic info (such as a website providing trial provided you give email address)
- Providing free samples is a non-intrusive method of marketing
- Staff generally like to provide give-aways (differing operational activity)
- You convert lag or down time in your business to productive time, eventually generating more customers, more revenues and a stronger business
- Plan for this – write out a strategy, goals, operational issues, budget, method to capture data and results, etc.
- Remember to put your best foot, best product, best sample forward (i.e.: bakery sample of fresh bread, not liquidating days old bread)
- Ensure the free sample will be consistent with the paid product. Do not mislead potential customers.
- Control your costs and scope on the offer (you know you will be able to budget for X number of free samples)
- Keep track of your data, results, and all important – how many new customers you gained out of this activity
You will be surprised at the Return on Investment with this marketing activity of free samples. Keep track of the event or offering, provide a secondary offer and keep in communications with those clients, as you have created relationships.