Some years ago I had a client that was determined to spend many dollars on literature to be handed out at the trade show. No matter what I said he always had a response. “This is old literature, I was going to get rid of it anyway” or “This literature has a lot of information so they will hold on to it”
We had done a few trade shows together, and the expense allocated for trade show material was astronomical. When I confronted my client on this, because I had a tough time presenting a realistic ROI (Return on Investment) that made sense. He said, not to worry it was an accounting thing. I also know when things get tight in a company because of a downturn in sales, accounting takes a hard look at everything, and where they can “cut” because of the expense they do. Having listened to my client talk about his literature – He loved to design, write copy, and show how informative it was, and how the attendees really liked it and no doubt they will be carrying it home to read again and again.
But, they’re so professional! Everyone wants one!
While at my client’s booth at a major trade show at the Javits Center in New York City I really got annoyed, and I confronted my client as he was handing out these very elaborate 8 page multicolored coated stock brochures that must of cost over $4.00 each. When I saw this I asked him how long he had been handing these out. He said since the start of the trade show, which was at 10:00AM. It was now a little after noon, and I asked my client how many do you think you have handed out. He was so excited, when I asked him that because he said that everyone wanted them, they were so professional. Again I asked him how many he had given out, and he said, “About 60” Well I said, I have been telling you for over 2 years that it’s a waste of money to spend a lot on literature to be handed out at a trade show because, according to statistics between 82% to 90% of the literature collected at a trade show is thrown away.
I said to my client, “I will bet you dinner at the best restaurant of your choosing, that I can collect at least 30 of your brochures right here at the trade show” He said, “I’ll take that bet” With that said, I found two of the workers that empty the garbage cans around the trade show floor. I told them I would give each of them $20 dollars if they could find 30 of these brochures that have been thrown away. Then I told them I would meet them back at the booth in one hour.
50 minutes later both of these workers came back with 45 brochures in their hands, and wanted their money, which I gladly gave them.
That evening I had dinner and a wonderful bottle of very expensive wine at restaurant considered the best seafood restaurant in New York City. My client was still in shock, but not over paying the bill, but seeing how much money he had wasted by not listening to me two years ago when it came to literature.
If you do your trade show literature correctly, it will be inexpensive, it will be focused on this show, and also follow your trade show theme, and it will be something they will hold on too, and use for reference for the whole trade show.
What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments, I would love to read them!