Ottawa Divination
 Focus, Empowerment, & Development: for Here, Now, & Beyond
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 Trade shows by their very nature are repetitive, not the shows themselves, but the displays. If you buy, sell or manufacture widgets, it is a very fair assumption that everyone else at the WIDGET EXPO also buys, sells or manufactures widgets.  Flashy colours, bright lights and over the top displays can only do so much to promote your product before your display area looks like a "funland" in a fast food restaurant. 
Companies and agencies that monitor metric at fairs list effect marketing and ROI, and surprisingly one of the least effective methods is 'Free Swag'. 
Swag will draw people to your booth, but their stay will be long enough to say. "Hi. Oh I like this fridge magnet or pen", or whatever bobble you are giving away. They drop it in their swag bag with the a few dozen other bobbles. Personally, because I do Handwriting Analysis, I have a propensity to acquire pens. Most folks will just stop by to load up and then move to the next booth. It marginally expands your brand awareness, which is valuable, but now with so much noise and glare, the value, for the moment has gone down. The problem lies in not being able to track the results it can bring. Spending thousands of dollars on your exhibitor spot and then even more of your budget on completely free swag all for brand awareness gives this tactic a low score for both ROI and effectiveness

SWAG... With Stipulations
It is almost the same as the same swag that’s given away completely free, but now it comes with stipulations. Attendees will give you their email address and have absolutely zero interest in your product, all to get that cool koozie. The front people in the booth are not fazed by this, as their primary job at a trade show is to get as many cold leads as they can. The sales team, however, might not particularly appreciate this approach. The bucket with ballots for a free whatever gets filled up, making it harder for the sales team to find the hot leads. As soon as participant "X" gets back to the office and receives your first follow-up, your address is forwarded to a spam or junk folder. There is an obvious problem with this and that is not being able to qualify a quality lead, but at least you have a name or an address. 
Fire-eaters are cool, some folks like bikini models too.
A positive effect of a giant seven-foot toothbrush, well that remains to be seen.
This is a good tactic when it comes to getting people attracted to your booth (without giving away free stuff). However, maybe the expo attendees are asking themselves questions, “Why is he dressed like that?” or, “What is that thing? Or what does a seven-foot toothbrush have to do with widgets?” but at least they are interacting. When an attendee comes up to your booth and inquires about your cool marketing gimmick, they are already a little interested and a lot more open to hearing what you have to say. These attendees are more valuable than attendees who just want free stuff. Since the cost for this can be pretty low compared to other tactics and the level of interest is higher, it gets an even better effectiveness score. 
This is the number one type of exhibitor tactic. Having attendees interact with your product or personnel at your booth can help your cause in so many ways. First, it is pretty clear that the people interacting at your booth find "the draw" interesting, once interested in one aspect of your display they are already getting interested in your product.  Secondly, this is a great way to draw a crowd and create some buzz about your brand on the trade show floor. Lastly, there is not much cost, unlike the $5-8 for each of the bulk order of 3,500 t-shirts  All you have to do is use both the attendee participation and your client/customers interest  to draw even more people to your booth, making the necessity of offering swag and other gimmicks much lower or even not necessary at all. 
Is To Be Your Hook.
When was the last time two sales reps or purchaser agents talked over lunch about the really neat pen they got at a trade booth? 
They will be much more interested and likely to be chatting about a handwriting analysis or a hard copy of a facereading that they just got that morning on your letterhead
They will keep it, then when they get back to home, they will talk about it and show it back at "the home office". 
Your name, your letterhead, your brand is being passed around. 
Unlike the fire-eater or the bikini model, we interact with your potential clients, and they will have more than a passing memory of your booth. Making more of an impact than the seven-foot toothbrush.
They will have stopped at your booth for four or five minutes...
Others see them staying there.... Interacting!
That peaks interest...
That leads to a visit...
That leads to more people
Even other vendors will have an interest in your booth.
Few people travel solo or meander the show solo, while one person's handwriting or face is being done. If the event has attendees bringing along a spouse or a plus-one, that gives them something to do, while your booth personnel are talking widgets to the person in the widget business YOU GET TO TALK WIDGETS with the other person or people. 
Email or call me to discuss participation options or for more information.
Email: Steven
Phone: 613.829.6938
Cell: 613.408.2768 - 613.40.TAROT