Branding, Promotional Products Inland Empire, Uncategorized

Trade Show Giveaways: A necessary evil?

match-your-brandingBefore heading to a trade show, do you order giveaways out of obligation, since they are “expected?”

Even as you place the order, do you bristle at the realization that “scoopers” and “bag-ladies” will descend like vultures at your booth, snatching up promotional items so they can drop them into a junk drawer, never again to see the light of day?

If you feel this way, you are not alone. Clients often come to us complaining about the scenario.  Let us put your mind at ease by explaining that there is a science to the art of trade show giveaways.

The Science Behind Trade Show Giveaways

First, answer this question: what is your objective?

Brand Awareness?

Lead Generation? 

Wining and dining prospective clients? 

Each objective requires a slightly different scientific approach: trade-show-image

  • Brand Awareness. To get the most bang for your buck, use a flashy trade show display and offer plenty of easily accessible branding gifts, such as bags for attendees to carry throughout the exhibition hall. Make sure the branding gifts you offer will be used at home or in the office.  All branding gifts should match your branding standards.
  • Pick-up Leads. Since you won’t be able to recognize buyers until they come up to your booth, the best strategy is to get as many people to stop as possible. Do that by branding your booth with a pull-up sign or on the front of your table cover. And, instead of slapping a logo on the front, print: “Free water here” or “Free Wine-tasting here,” both of which are sure to generate buzz and draw large crowds. You’re there to attract as many people as you can, so draw them any way you can. Then, when they arrive at your booth, plan your approach. Come up with a few short questions to determine if they are promising prospects. Finally, give them a branded gift for stopping by, in addition to the water or wine. Make sure it’s a something your ideal prospect would value. For example, if you’re in the home improvement business, consider branding levels, tape measures or hammers, etc.
    trade show display
  • Advance Pick-up leads. Knowing who will attend the trade show in advance is valuable information. Since your booth will be competing with everyone else at the show, stand out by sending an invitation to your booth. The postcard should incentivize them to seek you out at the trade show, so they can redeem their invite for a gift that any key prospect would enjoy. When they arrive, don’t make the mistake of handing them the gift or hiring someone else to distribute the items and send visitors on their way. Instead, plan to ask a few open-ended questions, which you can pose even as you are reaching for their gift. This will initiate a conversation and provide you with valuable information.
  • Wine and Dine your clients. This strategy is different than the rest, as it assumes you will reserve a special room for VIPs. If you want to dress to impress, don’t forget to outfit the room. Represent your brand on items such as logo’d napkins, wine glasses, and trays. Use pull-up, or other temporary wall or floor graphic branded signs. And instead of giving gifts to attendees as they enter, give them as they leave, so you can thank them for coming and offer a wrapped gift.trade-show-stuff-in-hand
  • After the show. Once you’ve picked up leads, made contacts, and connected with everyone on your list, follow up. Do this by calling, sending a personal thank you note, or with your business card and a pen that features their name.trade-show-options-again

Does it all work?  YES!

  • 8 out of 10 consumers revealed that their impression of a brand positively changed directly as a result of receiving a promotional product from the featured brand.*
  • 83% said they are more likely to do business with brands they’ve received promotional products from than brands from whom they have not received promotional products. *

OnTarget Promotions is a national promotional products agency based in Riverside, California. We help clients use promotional products along with other media to design and secure quality promotional programs that meet their goals and exceed their expectations. Since we believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, everything we do is designed with our customer in mind. Your focus is our goal. Call (951) 682-8427 or email us to start your project today

*Resource:  Mapping Out the Modern Consumer – 2017 PPAI Consumer Study

FREE: Everything you Need Guide for Tradeshows, Meetings and Conference guide. 

Promotional Products Riverside, Uncategorized

The Story of Promotional Products

Promotional products doodleThe first documented use of promotional products in the United States were commemorative buttons made by a Scottish engraver in 1789 to mark the inauguration of George Washington. Thereafter, the use of promotional products gained enough traction to birth the promotional product industry we know and love today.Metal Letterpress Types.
A background from many historic typographical letters in black and white with white background.

One of the earliest contributors to the budding industry was a newspaper man named Jasper Freemont Meek. Like many of his contemporaries, Meek supplemented his newspaper printing income by printing other items between editions. His first idea came when he saw a child drop her school books in the dirt. He brainstormed FREE burlap bags reading: “Buy Cantwell Shoes” to promote his client’s company. Cantwell and the children were delighted at this new advertising idea.

Artboard 1-100 (2)On the heels of his burlap bag success, Meek started printing company names on horse covers, and eventually opened the first ever promotional products company in 1887, the Tuscarora Advertising Company. Meek’s first competitor was a man named Henry Beach. Both men aggressively sold printing packages for virtually anything that could fit onto a newspaper press, such as cloth caps, aprons, hats for horses, marble bags, buggy whips, card cases, calendars and fans.

Further Matters of Note in Promotional Product History:

  • The use of metal signs was first used to advertise products such as Coca Cola and Budweiser
  • The concept of an “art calendar” was established in the late 1800’s by other early industry leaders, Thomas Murphy and Edward Burke Osborne.
  • By 1894, Osbourne acquired a process now known as letter press printing.
  • In 1904, representatives of 12 manufacturers of advertising goods formed an industry trade association they called the Advertising Manufacturer’s Association. That group is now called the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).
  • Although the industry was hit hard by the Great Depression, it was booming by the late 1940’s.
  • Today, membership in the PPAI is more than 10,000, with industry sales of $17.5 billion.
  • Founded in 1985 by Debbie and Dennis Johnson, OnTarget Promotions is located in Riverside, California. Over the past 31 years, Debbie has served on the PPAI board as Awards Committee chair, which gave her the joy of judging the best of the best promotional programs. On Target has also received the President’s Council Award and the Million Dollar Circle of Excellence Award for the past nine years.

Vintage 2016 wall calendar with watercolor birds and flowers; March

Promotional Products Work

A basic marketing principle suggests that it takes seven “touches” before someone will internalize your call to action (become your customer). These touches can take many forms:

  1. Meeting face-to-face, in a meeting, at a networking event or a tradeshow
  2. Seeing a physical or digital ad
  3. Seeing your social media posts in a news stream
  4. Receiving your e-newsletter other electronic marketing piece
  5. By phone
  6. Word-of-mouth recommendation of a friend or colleague
  7. Seeing your brand displayed on a promotional product – This method of advertising is a no-brainer, because potential clients will see your logo as many times as they use the product it displays. So you could potentially increase the number of touches simply by giving away your personalized pen, notepad or coffee cup.

For the last three years, OnTarget Promotions’ client Blackhawk Plaza has held a Summer Concert Series, designed to increase traffic at the shopping center’s stores. Community support is key to the success of this series, so they purchased branded promotional items to tie in with the series to “woo” attendees. The strategy works, as the plaza has repeatedly “sold out” of the T-shirts because the community wants to support the event and loves the look of Blackhawk-branded apparel.  blackhawk goodies (1)

OnTarget Promotions is a national promotional products agency based in Riverside, California. We help clients use promotional products along with other media to design and secure quality promotional programs that meet their goals and exceed their expectations. Since we believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, everything we do is designed with our customer in mind. Your focus is our goal. Call (951) 682-8427 or email us to start your project today.