I grew up in a household where the bathmat was a towel that formerly resided in a mid-scale chain hotel. In other words, my parents stole a hotel towel and repurposed it for well over a decade.
Why did my parents liberate a bath towel from a hotel in Texas? The answer is simple: it was useful and free. To this day, I still remember that towel, the brand of the hotel (Holiday Inn), and the odd square-like designs on it. The number of impressions both the towel and the brand has had on me must number in the thousands and I don't think there is a marketing executive in the world that would say the cost of the lost towel exceeds the strength of that brand connection. Bathmat marketing at its finest!
Branded products that are relevant, memorable, and useful have an undeniably long shelf life. Like many in the promotional products industry, I attend a fair amount of trade shows every year. The irony that the trade shows I attend center around the merchandise given out at other trade shows is not lost on me. Even so, there is one common sight at all trade shows: there are always a few booths that seem to be more crowded – and more talked about – than any of the others.
The buzz and energy created by an overly busy trade show booth is undeniable, and usually results in more than a bit of jealously among other exhibitors. Invariably those with less busy spaces will go and see what all the commotion is all about. As the busy booth is approached, it's easy to see what all the excitement is about: a cool, useful, or memorable promotional product.
This is the merchandise that won't find the bottom of a hotel room trash can as a casualty of a full suitcase. Rather, it will be kept and used for months and, in some cases, years. For the company that made a modest investment in a memorable product for the show, their brand will be top of mind for the same amount of time. As promotional marketing professionals, it’s our job to help our clients be the busiest booth at their next trade show. In other words, we need to help them win the trade show popularity contest and have their promotional products kept by their intended audience.
Next time a client asks for a quote on the same pens given out at the last dozen trade shows they attended, take the time to understand the budget, the target audience, and what the client wants that target audience to do as a result of being at their trade show booth. By doing so, you can not only help them draw more of their target audience to their booth, but you can put their brand in the right hands for years to come.
Remember, when your client provides relevant, memorable, and useful branded products to their audience, they keep their brand at the forefront for many months after the event. By collaborating and joint venturing with your client, you can create merchandise that not only draws people to their booth, but moves their audience to action.