My Best Promotion
Trade show promotions can be a challenge. Your client may not be the only one running a promotion to attract booth attention, and when there's marketing competition on the floor, you want to be sure that your idea is the most exciting one out there.
Phil Brakefield, owner and president of the Chicago-based distributorship UniSource, relayed a recent trade show promotion his company did for a large independent hardware chain. The promotion was a standard raffle designed to collect email addresses on entry as well as drive traffic to the client's booth. What made it special, however, was the distinctive prize used as the reward: a custom-designed Fender Starcaster guitar, decorated with a full-body decal representing the city of Chicago, where the convention was held.
Promo Marketing: Where specifically was the promotion held?
Phil Brakefield: A convention is hosted by my client, who is the biggest independent retail hardware chain in the country. Roughly 2,500 to 3,000 of its stores attend the event, which is held twice a year in locations that move all over the country. All the suppliers (probably around 1,800) who sell to the chain come in to the convention hall and set up booths that range from a hundred square feet to hundreds of square feet, and show new product and take orders from the stores in attendance. Traditionally, the shows are skewed so that lots of the purchases made are in anticipation of an upcoming retail sales season, i.e., the fall shows have a strong emphasis on spring merchandise like and lawn and garden, barbecue grills, etc.
PM: What was the promotion's goal? What did you do to make it happen?
PB: The promotion's goal was to create a buzz in the convention hall about the unique item we were giving away in a drawing, and also to collect new email addresses and meet new potential customers.
We are always challenged to top ourselves at our client's conventions, which are held twice a year. We have to come up with something new, unique, impactful and desirable for each show to cause the attendees to literally run to our store to see "what's new". Our responsibility is to provide world-class, top-quality, priced-right apparel and promotional products to our client, and we have to make sure our store is a "must stop" destination during the conventions.
We used a custom guitar and case from Brand O'Guitar Company. Chicago is world famous for it's music, especially the blues, and the custom, only-one-in-existence guitar Brand O' created was a perfect tie-in. The graphics included very iconic Chicago scenes and themes. There was a skyline, a picture of the very famous Chicago Theater, and also my client's logo, whose corporate home is in Chicago. That convention was the first one held in Chicago since 1979, so there was great buzz and excitement about the homecoming and the guitar.
PM: What, if anything, made this a profitable promotion for you? Why?
PB: We used the guitar to attract customers to the 4,000 square foot store we built especially for their convention. By leaving an email address in the case, the customer was entered into a drawing to win the guitar. Not only did capturing emails lead to future business, but the guitar was a great draw to come into the store and buy items right over the counter. The promotion was incredibly successful, both short and long term.
PM: What was the best decision you made with this program, and why?
PB: The best decision we made was to take advantage of Brand O'Guitar Company's expertise and off-the-charts customer service. Other distributors should figure out a way to use Brand O'Guitar Company for a similar need.
Want to be considered for a future edition of My Best Promotion? Contact Michael Cornnell at email@example.com or (215) 238-5449 for a list of questions and other details.