Conferences and trade shows remind me of oversized speed dating venues. Vendors (or suitors if you will) compete with each other to have the biggest and boldest booth to attract attendees. Just as you can sum up a lot about people by how they present themselves on a first date, you can tell a lot about a vendor by how well they communicate their products and services through their booth—and by what types of give-aways they offer.
Here at Insight Resource Group , we specialize in branding and identity services, including promotional and display products for trade shows. Fun, interactive, digital gadgets are the trade show trend of the moment, along with colorful, eye-catching iPad covers and chargers.
As event consultant Jenny Shepherd mentioned in a previous blog, it’s wise to map out the trade show connections you want to make. With so many choices, scope out the crowd and pinpoint which booths interest you—but you may get distracted by other “suitors” who try to use their flashy tables and give-aways to lure you in. Don’t waste your time on silly ball-point pens, stress balls and highlighters. You deserve better.
Keep an eye out for multifunctional USB gadgets disguised as ball-point pens, laser pointers, or MP3 players. USB accessories such as memory sticks are convenient for vendors uploading electronic presentations and portfolios.
Another give-away trend is Web keys, small prongs built into a marketing collateral piece or branding shape. When plugged into a USB port, the vendor’s company website instantly loads onto your computer. Take it now, and peruse it at your leisure.
“Poken” digital business cards are hot items. Pokens are small digital gadgets about the size of a USB drive that hold all kinds of contact info; everything from your business contact, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles can be exchanged instantly by connecting your Poken to another user’s. Pokens can streamline the vendor/customer “dating” process—you could create a game with your colleagues and compete for the most Poken contacts.
If you find yourself spending too much time at one booth due to huge crowds or long informational spiels, keep it moving—this is not dinner and a movie. Get your hands on the suitor’s give-away, left conveniently out on their booth tables in hopes that you will check it out later and follow up with them.
If there is a strong connection with a vendor/suitor, the partnership will grow naturally. If not, don’t worry—there are plenty of gadgets out there and more trade shows to come.