The business exhibition or trade fair is a valuable means of personal marketing, allowing businesses to broaden their base and put a human face to their promotional activity. But what kind of supporting material is vital to help make exhibiting successful?
Many companies see branded merchandise as an essential component for a business exhibition, but why is it such a useful marketing tool?
Useful Marketing Content
“Much modern marketing tends to be focused on the digital realm,” explains Chris Rigby, MD of Invogue Incentives, “but branded gifts can be very effective in raising visibility and making your brand memorable.”
The business exhibition is a transient space: it only exists for a limited time and attendees can move rapidly through it, as they browse the stands. Exhibitors need to be able to lodge their presence in people’s minds.
“Is it enough to pass on a business card or brochure, or should you support your contact and engagement with visitors by giving them something more?” Chris asks.
“Resonance is the key,” suggests Chris, “and merchandise can work at a subliminal level to help remind people of a brand.
“Even something as simple as a branded pen can work at a subliminal level. It’s something used every day and, if you have your logo and name on it, that’s potentially useful information that has infiltrated someone else’s workspace”
Cost Effective Advertising
For brand exposure and awareness, branded gifts pack a sizeable punch. The British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) has conducted a survey suggesting it is a better return on investment than either radio or outdoor advertising. There are various reasons for this.
If they are useful items, such as USB drives, umbrellas or pens, then branded gifts work as a constant reminder of the brand. This also helps create a favourable impression of the business.
Secondly, a proportion of recipients, if not actively using the merchandise, will pass it on to someone else. Like the physical equivalent of sharing on social media. This gives it a momentum of its own.
“Make sure your merchandise is integrated into how you want to portray your brand”
“This means not treating it as an afterthought, but rather as something integral to your exhibition space,” Chris advises.
As with all forms of marketing, this requires an understanding of the audience, and then ensuring that you have the appropriate branded gifts to pass on to them.
“Don’t set up at a business exhibition empty-handed,” Chris says. “Think of your merchandise as valuable marketing material in its own right, as well as providing support for you on your exhibition stand.”