Promo Close-Up - Trade Show Promo Shines

One Supplier's Booth Campaign Yields Major Results

Fey IndustruesIn speaking with distributors, Ron Williams heard a consistent theme – their clients are starting to question the validity and value of the term "ad impression." So, the director of marketing for Fey Industries (asi/54040) knew he needed a way to prove the real value of promotional items.

A trade show campaign that clearly does that was suddenly born. Williams decided to use a promotional product to couple true viral marketing with impressive ROI.

Starting last year, when attendees would stop by the supplier's booth, they would be scanned and receive a special wristlok bracelet made by Fey sister company Reflectix (asi/81233). The wristlok was numbered and created with three removable tabs. Attendees were informed that they would be entered into the Fey/Reflectix iPad giveaway drawing. Williams would take off one of the three tabs and put it in the drawing case. If attendees wanted to increase their chances, they had to bring two additional people to the booth. Then, he'd remove the additional tabs and put them into the drawing as well.

The whole process began anew with new visitors. "We tell them our 30-45 second spiel and within seconds, they are gone looking for people. It allows visitors to do their own networking," he says.

Experts say the trade show promotion strategy is a smart one. "Fey leveraged the power of the people by providing a strong incentive for them to refer their friends to his booth," says Marcy Rye, principal with Wire Media, a creative strategy firm. "The end-result is that his prospective customers did the marketing for him by bringing their friends back to his booth. Then those friends did the same, and so on, and so on. This resulted in a huge increase in qualified leads."

A YouTube video of the promotion was also posted. The goal for Williams was to be able to definitively state that his company has a product that can produce a guaranteed result. "Our booth traffic increased over 250%," Williams says. "Our quotes increased 275%."

The case study also increased the sales of the particular bracelet and all Reflectix products across the board. "It definitely created an awareness of the product line," Williams says. "We brought new life and new excitement to the distributors taking part in this."

Rye notes that Fey showed the ability of a smart marketing campaign to produce dramatically better ROI in concrete terms like higher numbers of actual sales, and in a way that directly attributes the sales to the campaign.

Going forward, Williams will take the existing products that he has and decide if he can couple them with social media or a new type of viral marketing. Secondly, he's using the results of the case study to generate and create new products. Rye notes that this strategy would be good to emulate because it's a simple model, and would be fairly easy to execute in a number of unique ways – with marketers exhibiting at a trade show in any market or demographic sector.

Williams advises that you must have proper post-show follow-up to make the most of this kind of trade show promotion. "You have to provide knowledge and information that will add value to the relationship that prospects and customers already have with you," he says.

Williams has had distributors send him their stories about clients that are using similar promotions. "They really assist their clients in pulling this off," he says. "It has helped them up their game and really positions them as true marketing consultants."