Monday, May 19, 2014

5 Secrets for using Promos at Events

I recently attended Magento Imagine and Informatica world both in Las Vegas and got to see how non industry people are using promotional products at events.   Watching the booth staff and interactions from attendees was very telling on what should and should not be done.  I also spoke at Informatica World where I used promotional products in my sessions and was given a speakers gift before heading off to attend a Geiger event for top sales partners.  I'll share a lesson learned from each of these events.

1. Quality matters but so does the imprint
Magento gave away a very nice America Apparel t-shirt.  It's so soft, I love it. I wanted to wear it on my way back on the airplane. The logo on the front is nice, bold, and well done.  As I went to put it on, I saw the back also had several logo's and I decided not to wear the shirt.  Not everyone will be turned off by all these logos and and I'm sure the sponsors like the logo's on the back, but I'm not likely to wear that shirt any place other than around the house or gym.  I still like the shirt and it will remind me of the conference, but it won't get as much exposure as it could with 1 professional logo.

2.  Give speakers something meaningful
I got a plaque commemorating my speaking at Informatica world.  It broke before I threw it away. I would have thrown it away anyhow.  I don't need a plaque to tell me I spoke.  I definitely did not need to pack it with the clothes for this 10 day trip (Tampa to Vegas, Vegas to Cancun, Cancun to Philly, Philly to Tampa). Speakers travel.  Give them something useful when traveling that commemorates the event or give them nothing at all.  Power banks are an easy win.

3.  Booth giveaways should reflect your brand, not the event
At the booths, items were plentiful and almost all were sitting out ready for people to take.  One thing that struck me is the number of people using orange sunglasses and other orange items because the color of Magento is orange.  Unfortunately, this meant that everyone who gave away orange sunglasses all looked the same and did not help me remember the brand of the people I was speaking with.

4.  Let people be your brand on incentive trips
At the Geiger event in Cancun, we tattooed about 50 people on Saturday morning after the opening session. The tattoos not only creating a fun bond between us, it created a conversation with many people not from our company.  Stories were plentiful about people asking what the tattoo meant and how nice it looked (they did not realize the tattoos were temporary).  As you might imagine the tattoos were placed everywhere imaginable, arms, feet, bikini line, legs, chest, neck, face, and even the head.   Should be some interesting tan lines as people return home. 

5.  Use promotional items when speaking
For both my sessions at Informatica World, I gave away Gap sticks, screen cleaners, flashlights, and stylus pens.  I used them to encourage audience interactivity but all items were chosen specifically because they would fit in briefcases and suitcases.  It's important to keep items small enough (and desirable enough) to make it out of the hotel room. Beyond the products, the great content really ensured a good session, but the promotional items helped keep things lively.  I was also able to stress the value of promotional products to a few hundred people. I got lots of positive feedback from the session including this tweet:

Promotional products are powerful when used properly.  Help your clients not only pick the most creative products, but help them implement the best strategy to maximize their value.

Dale Denham, MAS+, is considered the industry's top technologist and is the chief information officer at Geiger. Read Dale's thoughts on technology, business, and the promotional products world ever other Tuesday. Follow Dale on Twitter @GeigerCIO.

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