To Charge or Not to Charge – Part 2

This past week I attended another tradeshow/expo. (I know, I spend a lot of time going to shows). This is the show I told you about a while back where we decided not to charge to attend. I really believe the same thing happened as in the past. We had over 1200 registrations, and they tell me approximately 700 people actually showed up. I truly believe that our numbers would have been closer to the truth had we charged a nominal amount as we have in the past 4 years.


There were many comments about the show and its new venue and the new show managers. Some were good, some were bad. More communication could have been done on the part of not only our association’s expo committee, but also with the shows management. More signage was the common complaint from vendors as well as attendees. In the past, there were signs from every entry way possible and additional signage all along the way to guide the attendee to the show. Instead, there were barely any signs to guide you and the convention security was no help in directing attendees to the expo. – Second, in the past, we had provided box lunches to the exhibitors. Many exhibitors came with more than one representative. In the past, we provided more than one box lunch. I heard many complaints from vendors that they only received one ticket for lunch, even when there were 3 people in the booth. This wouldn’t have been so bad if it had been publicized ahead of time with their vendor packets to make everyone aware that this was the case this year. 


I believe this will be a live and learn experience. I am just sad that we had this all figured out over the past few years, and then when we switch management companies, it was like starting over again. I just read a recent article in our industry magazine that said that one of the other regional Expo’s who had hired a new management company was giving them notice two years in to a three year contract.  The grass is not always greener.


 Please think twice about making a change to an event that was working well – AND consult those “who were there when it was working” –especially if you are new or weren’t a part of the event when it was working well.  Reinventing the wheel can be painful in the end. We may have saved a few dollars, but we may have also alienated exhibitors as well as attendees with such poor organization and lack of communication.

Using Food As A Coupon for Discount or Give-Away

Did you know that there are tons of case histories (stories about how others use a product or do a service) that you can use to your advantage? Recently, I was looking through some of our supplier catalogs and came across some very good ideas. Just to give you an idea of some of the case histories that are out there, and please feel free to use this information to your advantage, I am going to give you a couple of ideas over the next few weeks. We also have an Idea Store that is filled with ideas that you can R & D to your hearts content.  Here is an example:

A Sporting goods franchise wanted to create a promotion with wrapper bars (Chocolate candy bars with an imprint on the inside and outside of the wrapper). Our factory produced 10,000 chocolate bars and sent 500 to each of the Sporting goods store locations. The inside of 497 wrappers contained coupons for 5% off a purchase, two wrapper bars had a coupon for 10% off, and one wrapper bar had a coupon for 20% off. The Sporting goods distributor advertised that all customers that came in during this promotion would not only receive a chocolate bar but, inside was a valuable coupon for a discount on any Houseware purchase. Each individual store indicated that they were much busier than usual and reported higher sales during the promotion than the same time the previous year. The sporting goods franchise plans to do this every year.

A computer company advertised that they were going to be giving away chocolate bars at their trade show booth. If that in itself was not enough to get people to the booth the advertisement indicated that inside one of the wrapper bars was a winning ticket for a free computer. The customer reported much higher traffic at his booth than previous years and he had 30% more qualified leads than the previous year. – This can also be done with custom fortune cookies if you do not want to give away chocolate. –

Restaurants can use this same concept for free food give aways, Salons can use it to give discounts on services or free services, almost any business with walk-in traffic can utilize this same type of promotion.

How to Thank Customers without Breaking the Bank

Customized gourmet food gifts are an affordable and memorable way to show appreciation during the holidays.


BRANDON, FLORIDA– While the dog days of summer are upon us, the holidays are just around the corner. And it’s never too early to think about what business gifts you’re going to give clients and prospects this year.


With all the talk of recession, you may think sending gifts this holiday season is a luxury you can’t afford. But Najla Furgason, president of Creative Expressions of Tampa Bay, Inc. says there are many economical gift choices you can select to thank customers and recognize employees without breaking the bank. “And in a time when other firms are cutting back, you’ll be remembered for doing something special,” said Furgason.


Food gifts have broad appeal so they can easily be tied into marketing campaigns to further a company’s branding message. And another appealing aspect of giving gourmet foods during the holidays is that they can be shared—stretching your dollars even further.


But this doesn’t mean you should wait until after Thanksgiving to run down to the local big box retailer, where you’ll find shelves full of cookies, chocolates and cakes that were made during the summer and then packed with preservatives so they last six months until eaten. “Sending a generic, stale tin of sweets sends the message that you felt obligated to give some kind of gift but didn’t have the time or inclination to put much thought into it,” states Furgason. “As a recipient, how would this make you feel?”


Break out of the retail rut and talk to your promotional products professional about what options are available. According to Furgason, “Sending gourmet food gifts that are not only fresh but also customized in some way with your corporate logo reinforces your branding message while showing appreciation for your customers. It’s a win-win situation for you and your clients.”


To select mouth-watering gourmet treats your customers will savor, Furgason offers the following five tips:

(To see the rest of this article go to: Press Release)