Source Office Products – Go All In or Don’t Even Botherby Fred F. Farkel, Thursday, September 8th, 2011
To increase the awareness in the local market we cement ourselves into certain industries. This not only helps us with building our credibility, it also helps secure our reputation as the leader in the particular industry that we target.
We have a company philosophy that we want to “Create a Better Experience”. This is the same model we use when hiring new employees, working with our clients, and when breaking into new markets. We feel that when we are developing new strategies, services and programs either for our clients or simply new marketing campaigns that we want to put our best foot forward. We do this to make sure we are maximizing our success and maintaining the highest level of participation and standards that we can offer.
We used this approach when we decided that The IT Summit Conference in Denver, Colorado would be a good fit for us and so we agreed to move forward with sponsorship.
We feel that preparing and planning for the trade show is very important if you want to hold a successful event and to maximize the return on your investment. The costs associated with the events from the lowest level to the highest are not cheap, and we thought if we are going to involve ourselves and expose our company to our target market, then why would we simply have put together a booth, banner and a some business cards? Our brand is important to us just like most successful companies, and if we are going to put our name on something we want it done correctly.
It is important to dedicate a sufficient amount of time to be able to conduct proper advertising and planning before the event takes place. You also have to pay proper attention to the trade show booth and the displays. You cannot just put together the booth at the last minute since you will not have an effective trade show booth display. Planning it all out will be helpful for succeeding in your trade show foray. Here are some things that we did to increase the probabilities that our return on our investment is met.
First, we obviously wanted to make sure that we are joining a trade show that is relevant to the products and services that we offer. Also another factor for us was to make sure that the event is properly advertised.
Second, make sure that you prepare for the displays well before a week. We started planning for this event 2 months prior to the start date. Doing this gave us ample time to advertise during the weeks before the trade show starts and to market to our clients and prospects. We created marketing collaterals both electronically and print. We targeted our C level contacts in our current client base first, and then moved onto our prospects. We felt that our current clients deserved the opportunity to attend the event over folks who are currently not working with us. This approach helps to reinforce our relationships and reaffirms the decision that they made to start a relationship with Source Office Products.
We offer multiple lines of business to our clients; one of those lines is our Coffee Bar Service. I was thinking of ways, to increase our exposure without going over budget. So I reached out to Wes Sherman, and asked if we could provide all of the coffee for event and if we could, then could we setup more signage and marketing materials. He agreed, and now we have easily doubled our presence and exposure while maintaining our budget.
Finally, since we invested in a speaking spot for the event, we wanted to make sure that our theater was packed full of prospects. We strategically took the time slot over lunch. We figured, people may be more likely to sit down with a cheese burger, rather than a grumbling stomach. So to help drive the attendance into the theater, we invested a bit more money into prizes for folks that spent their time to listen to what we had to say. The entrees are going to be collected while people enter the theater and the iPad will be given away at the conclusion of the speech.
These are some of the things that you should do when preparing for your trade show participation. Preparing is always half the battle as they say. Never underestimate the value of good advertising and marketing. Think outside the box, and plan, plan, plan. Don’t just test the water. If you’re going to spend time and invest resources into events like this, go all the way. Remember, it’s your face out there, your company, your future success, go all in or don’t even bother. People forget things quickly. Differentiate yourself, plan, network, market and execute.