Hit the Floor RUNNING
THERE ARE A myriad of conventions and trade shows for every industry and hobby imaginable. Whether one’s checking out the latest gadgets and innovations from Silicon Valley or taste-testing a
variety of maple syrups from New England, trade shows and conventions are fertile ground for promoters. With large crowds of both dedicated and casual attendees, conventions and trade shows offer a unique opportunity for promoters and their products.
“I love trade shows,” said Charley Johnson, vice president of sales and marketing at SnugZ USA, Salt Lake City. “A lot of people complain that there’s too many, but where else are you going to see five hundred to a thousand people face-to-face?” According to Johnson, there are more than 11,000 trade shows a year across the country, and given the size of the average trade show, businesses want to make sure the promotional products they choose allow them to take full advantage.
“The one thing I would say is that the product ought to be useful, it ought to be lightweight, because they’re traveling, and it ought to have something on it that attendees will remember where they got it and who they got it from,” noted Jim Brown, vice president of AAA Line, Niagara Falls, N.Y. Both Brown and Johnson are proponents of using commonplace items for promotions and stress the convenience and functionality of their giveaways. One key to a successful trade show giveaway is innovating from a product or material that attendees may already know. One of AAA Line’s biggest successes has been its neoprene coffee sleeves. “The coffee sleeves are just an eye opener, just mind boggling,” said Brown. Available in one size, the sleeves are reusable, adaptable to water bottles and glasses one would get at a sporting event, and draw calls after shows. “People are looking for, especially in this business, innovation using existing materials. The neoprene can cooler or beverage cooler has been around, but the coffee sleeve hasn’t. People are looking at how you take something existing ... and adapt it to some other use,” added Brown.