Scan My Badge and Send Me 5 Catalogs... Please
An old friend and business colleague, supplier Jay Busselle from Digital Art Solutions posted a LinkedIn poll question asking why people go to trade shows.
The featured answers were:
- Nothing better to do
- "Scan my badge and send me 5 catalogs"
- Look for new ideas/new products
- Source new vendors/suppliers
- Participate in education/training
I have been to countless trade shows through the years. As I have visited with suppliers, other folks are often seen in the time-honored, trade show ritual of walking up to booths with their badge held out... asking the supplier to: "Scan my badge." It's a common line. Being the rabble-rouser I am, I had to be the one vote for "Scan my badge and send me 5 catalogs" in Jay's poll. As a supplier, Jay has experienced this a few times which is why I believe it was included as an answer... obviously in a tongue and cheek way.
In a time where the cost of catalogs is high and an excessive use of paper is uncool, perhaps it's time to rethink the burden we put on suppliers. This is a big expense for them. I'm not against catalogs. I just think we shouldn't abuse suppliers by asking them for more catalogs than we need.
People also shouldn't ask for catalogs from companies they may never use, simply because they are walking down an aisle past them. Some may feel that's what they are "supposed" to do, but it isn't. It's always been a pet peeve of mine how this whole badge-scanning thing works. Words don't need to be said. It's just implied that if your badge is scanned... you get "something."
Going the other way, it seems some suppliers want to scan your badge for no other reason than the scan. I understand that they want to capture information, which makes sense, but I wonder... how is this valuable? Especially if the "scannee" could care less about the goods or services that supplier offers?
At a recent apparel trade show there were a large number of boutique T-shirt companies. (What a surprise!) While passing a large booth from a T-shirt company I've never heard of in my 20+ years in the garment decorating business, I was asked if they could scan my badge. I dutifully responded with a yes. Since I am a brat, I just had to ask what they sold? "T-shirts," the company rep responded. Acting surprised, I asked, "What makes your T-shirts different from others?" The answer was, "They are really nice T-shirts." This was not a very compelling trade show presentation, but I'm sure they will send me a catalog.
Sometimes when a supplier who I have no interest in offers to send me a catalog, simply because I'm there, I'll ask, "Why don't you just give me 5 bucks so I can buy a Latte?" I'll always remember them for the coffee and I've saved them money!
Trade shows enable suppliers and distributors to make beneficial connections. Developing quality, personal relationships is the foundation of how good business is built. In today's fast-paced, online world now, more than ever, is the time to invest in attending trade shows.
Next up for me is the ASI Show in San Diego with outstanding education and what should be and inspirational keynote address from Michael J. Fox. I am planning on attending PROMOTIONS EAST in Atlantic City. This will be an awesome event. PPAI will be facilitating brand. at the show and they have great education offerings. I'm looking forward to the Rock Stars of the Promotional Products Industry panel discussion. This will be an unprecedented gathering of industry leaders.
Let's all work the trade shows we attend with a purpose and gain a competitive advantage that will generate quality business. Effective trade show attendance goes beyond scanning badges and sending catalogs.
Jeff Solomon, MAS is affiliated with a Top 10 distributor company. The FreePromoTips.com website and e-newsletters he publishes are packed with beneficial information and exclusive FREE offers from a few forward-thinking supplier companies. Don't miss out on what's happening! Opt in to receive their e-newsletters! LIKE their page on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.