Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Power of Trade Show SWAG: The Thinking or Lack of It of Trade Show Giveaways

SWAG (which stands for the "Stuff We All Get") at trade shows is enormous, yet it serves a purpose. While it can aid in getting attendees to stop by your booth, help initiate discussions, or be used as a "thank you" for coming to the booth, the main purpose is to help remind attendees about your booth and product/service after the show. In other words, it's about post-show mind share.
Like much marketing/promotion/ (which is what SWAG is), some companies over-think it, some under-think it, and some don't put any thought into it at all. With nearly 30 years of experience at trade shows for companies that range from small to Global 100 corporations, here are the most common groups and some tips to more effectively utilize the power of SWAG.

The Over-Thinkers:

It's wonderful when an exhibit has a theme, and tying your give-away into your theme can be neat. However, primarily the people who will be aware of a booth "theme" are those who created it and possibly those who are working the booth. Attendees may notice, but they actually don't care nor will they remember your theme.

What is most important on a giveaway is your logo and website. If you choose to have your slogan, that's fine, too. But, keep in mind, instead of fussing over the tie-in to your theme - spend that time looking for a giveaway that will be something an attendee will actually want to take home. Any giveaway can be customized with your theme, but remember, unless it's your slogan mark, they won't remember your theme. Instead, focus on obtaining some SWAG that is eye-catching, interesting, fun or useful.

The Under-Thinkers:

Every year, a "new" giveaway is born and the under-thinkers jump on it not only because someone said it was new, but also because it's an easy decision. Never mind that a bunch of other exhibits will have the same giveaway or that, as marketers, a little creativity is a good thing to use.

This group is the polar opposite of the over-thinkers and will put little thought into choosing a giveaway. Like the over-thinkers, you need to spend some time researching not the "latest and greatest," but what would be appealing to your particular audience at the show. Think about what YOU would like to bring home or to the office.

The giveaway doesn't have to be super expensive. There are many inexpensive, creative, eye-catching giveaways out there. You just need to do some research. As mentioned, it shouldn't have tons of copy on it, a list of products, etc. It's not a brochure; it's SWAG. Keep it short and simple.

The Not At All Thinkers:

This group usually consists of those who refuse to give away free stuff, because they don't want a bunch of free loaders stopping by the booth. This group can also contain those who actually think that attendees don't want free stuff!

Unless you have the hottest and latest product/service at the show, you are deluding yourself to think that your service/product is enough to entice potential customers from walking by your booth. True, some of your current customers may stop by, right before they go to your competitor's booth that has giveaways. While they're there, your competition can now chat with them, while you stand in your booth and check your email for the 30th time. You may get a few new attendees to drop in, but what's the incentive?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Holiday-Themed Custom Lapel Pins Make Your Independence Day Celebration a Hit

For many businesses, holiday celebrations are at the heart of the marketing calendar. Christmas sales can mean the difference between a good year or bad for a retailer, while Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are critical to a florist.

But don't overlook Independence Day. Camping and parades and family gatherings are the perfect opportunities to get the message out about your business, whether you're in retail, service, or even manufacturing.

Get Creative with Custom Lapel Pins 

Retailers - Lapel pins are a unique bonus offer to improve holiday sales. Whether you're selling grilling equipment just in time for summer barbeque season or offering discounted rates on a golf vacation package, a small gift, such as a custom lapel pin, can seal the deal.

Service industries - Want to spread the word about your business? Join in the local Independence Day celebration and provide custom lapel pins bearing your logo to parade watchers and others. An attractive metal pin is far more likely to be kept (and displayed) than a flier or other advertising, which means that recipients will remember you long after the holiday is past.

No matter what type of business you're in, offering an incentive can help keep your promotion alive for months to come. Consider giving a discount to return customers who wear your pin into the store on subsequent visits. You could also plan a "refer a friend" promotion and give each customer two pins - one to wear and one to give to an acquaintance.

And don't forget about your employees. They're what make your business a success, and Independence Day is the perfect opportunity to host an employee appreciation party. Invite your staff and their families out for a picnic. Provide a small goodie bag with coupons for restaurants, tickets to a local theme park, and a custom lapel pin to commemorate the occasion.

You might even create special pins for long-term employees, celebrating years of service or other milestones. Adding colored gemstones, danglers, or other effects to your original pin design lets everyone know that this pin - and the person wearing it - is special.

Also, consider including the year in your pin's design. Employees and others will look forward to each year's design and will enjoy displaying their growing collection. The tangible connection to your company builds loyalty, improves customer service, and even helps recruit new employees who want to be a member of such a solid team.

Holiday Designs Become Instant Collector's Items

Custom lapel pins with your company logo or slogan will certainly get some attention. Recipients consider them to be jewelry and will wear and display them for years to come. But if you add a bit of holiday whimsy, your lapel pin is suddenly a highly sought after collector's item.

A burst of colorful fireworks above your company logo instantly connects your pin to this favorite summer holiday. For even more pizzazz, add blinking lights or colored stones and watch your recipients' eyes light up as they show off their new pin.

When you order your pins, look for a supplier who offers custom design work and color matching. For best results and lasting beauty, manufacturers should use only quality metal backings. Finally, timing is everything, so choose a vendor that offers fast shipping, so you won't have to worry about missing out on the fun this Independence Day.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Resistance to Change - Why It's Time to Start Saying "Yes"

On occasion, clients tell me they have resistance to change. This holds them back from taking steps that would help them market their businesses better, grow faster and experience greater success.

What gets in the way? Often the problem boils down to ego. Your ego can really get in the way. You might think you should already be where you want to be. Or you already know everything the experts say. Maybe you feel you can't afford to hire a coach or mentor.

Here's what my clients have said to me about this type of resistance to change. This is an age old quote, but holds great truth. "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." That means, when you are ready, things fall into place for your growth. You become open to receiving the information, the knowledge and the new skills needed to move forward and advance your business.

For me, I used to get annoyed when people would say that and thought this was such a cliché - until I started living it. That's what made all the difference for me.

I had a client, who had watched my work for years. She was angry because she was still where she was and my career had advanced. She pointed out the difference for her - she saw me saying "Yes" while she kept saying "No". She felt she didn't need my help or programs and had a kind of arrogance or "Lone Ranger" mentality. Those were her words for it.

When she stopped having resistance to change, in fact, the minute she said "Yes", that's when the opening appeared for her.

Another one of my clients told me the turning point for her was when she had several clients whose businesses took off like crazy. Her clients who had no resistance to change, went on to do amazing things based on the work they did together. They surpassed her in terms of business success and this motivated her to give up her own resistance. Now she's in a much different place where she is open and growing.

You can diminish your resistance to change just by starting to say "Yes" to opportunities for growth that cross your path.
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