We understand the need for trade show marketing collateral (printed material). After all, you are at these shows to brand, sell, and inform and what better way to do so than to get someone to read about your company. Our opinion of print is that it is an archaic means of communication.

However, we also understand the psychological need for it. After handing a trade show attendee your trifold or marketing slick, have you ever noticed they’ll continually glance or refer to it during your pitch? This is a reaction many of us have when confronted with the sales pitch. We don’t want to engage the gaze of the sales or marketing person, as most of us don’t want to disappoint or lie about our intent to buy.

Download the Case Study “Trade Show Hurricane”

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Reducing Print Collateral

The hand held piece of marketing material is a comforting element for whomever you are talking to. Acknowledging the need for collateral, let’s consider the size. We believe in small marketing. In other words, pocket size pieces of literature that are more likely kept and looked through after the show. These are generally high level overviews of your company with direct contact information on it. This small take away should include incentive to log back into your site after the show, to reaffirm the knowledge the gained (or may have forgotten) about your products and services. This could be a simple enter-to-win, or an evaluation of your company in exchange for a small gift. Once they log in for a second time, that information should be passed on to your sales staff to follow up with them as they are then more likely to be a buyer.

Our favorite is the trifold. It is essentially an 8.5” x 11” printed both sides and folded twice. They can fit into a back or shirt pocket. After the show they can be mailed in a standard envelope at standard rates. The cost to ship is less than more bulky marketing slicks and folders, as they take up less space. We find our Clients are also less likely to throw them away after the show, as they can be used later. Additionally, they don’t cost an arm and a leg to return-ship left overs back to your office. Finally, from a design prospective the trifold is a great way to organize and summarize information.

We should speak to the pre-plan for your show collateral. The better you plan and forecast the more you will save. For example, have you exhibited at this show before? How many of your take-aways did you give out? Have you discussed with the show’s account executive the preference among their demographics for collateral? Do they prefer the printed media or do they prefer electronic follow up? Think of yourself at these shows… do you like carrying around bags of literature? Of the literature that you have gathered on show site, how much of it have you actually read? My guess is that your intent was there, but you likely put the trade show literature on your desk or on the floor and ultimately recycled it months later.

Regarding quantities, first find out how many attendees the show projects to attend. Next consider that, at best, only 50% of them are likely to walk past your booth and even fewer of them will stop. So it is not necessary to burden yourself with an overwhelming amount of literature. In fact we find “running out of literature” is a great excuse to collect someone’s information. Try this pitch: “Sorry we’ve had so much interest in our product, we’ve run out of literature. Can I get your contact information, so that I can personally email you information about us?” All of this will save you in print costs, shipping and drayage costs into the show, as well as the temptation to simply throw away unused literature after the show so that you don’t have to pay the return shipping.