Regardless of the industry or product category, there is always a trade show going on somewhere that a company can effectively utilize to market its promotional products. There are even trade expos dedicated solely to the promotional marketing industry itself. Such events offer small businesses the chance to research the competition and blow them out of the water by showcasing new and innovative promotional products.
Large expos such as the ASI show in Orlando this year will likely be impossible for a small business to penetrate, so it may be better to remain realistic and start on a more local market. For example, a company located in the Boston area would be best served by attending a conference put on by the New England Promotional Products Association (NEPPA). That way, a booth operating on a smaller budget will not face opposition from competitors that have flashier and more expensive displays.
Once accepted at such a trade show, a small business can employ several strategies that result in a more personalized experience for potential clients and lower financial expenditures. Instead of just setting out promotional products at a booth and letting attendees have a free-for-all, business and marketing managers can create an appointment system through which people have the chance to interact with a company representative who can educate them about the firm. If possible, this system should include a way to customize each promotional product right at the booth so the visitor can immediately receive a personalized business gift. This strategy will cause a company to give out a smaller number of gifts and save money, and will result in much better brand name association.
It is important for a small business owner to remember that such trade shows carry a risk if the showcased promotional products aren't innovative. Being creative is the key to success for any promotional marketing strategy, and targeting the local audience can help provide ideas. An entrepreneur should look for trends in the local market, including options such as sports teams, political affiliation or even religion. For example again, a company in New York would do well to market green and white promotional pens to capitalize on the Jets fans there, and could even turn the entire booth into a football-themed area.
Smaller promotional trade show organizers like NEPPA offer small businesses a valuable opportunity to connect with a local market and should always be on the mind of any successful marketing executive.