Are you a bull in a china shop? A pink elephant in the corner? The 800lb gorilla in the room? I've completely run out of awkward animal euphamisms here, but my point is this: Do you fit in? And by you, of course I mean you and your business, you and your promotional products?
This past weekend, in addition to my awesome NKOTB experience (that I think Anthony might be a little jealous of if you read his comments over at my Motivators TV NKOTB blog), I also hit up the Greek Festival in Glen Cove NY. It's an annual tradition, and a great reason to have delicious spankopita and gyros, but there's also plenty of booths to check out. However, and I'm attributing this to that wonderful economy of ours, the pickings were slim. There were no handpainted signs that I could have purchased for my place. (Come on, everyone needs Life's a Beach painted mini surfboard). There were no delicious smelling candles that take forever to burn (yes, I'm talking about you Primal Elements!) There was no hand made soap with cute little designs of flowers and race cars. And sure, maybe I don't *need* race car soap, but I liked having the option. There was however...Andersen Windows?
I noticed that they were giving out promotional pens, but I was too busy being floored that Andersen windows had a booth there. Standing out is one thing, being somewhere where people question why you're there is a completely different story. Like I said, I went to the festival for Greek food and handmade soaps, not to get an estimate for how much weather proofing will cost me. Promotional items or not, it just seemed awkward. And maybe you're saying to yourself, "But Sarah, you remembered them!" and that is true. But I remembered them for seeming out of place and weird, not because their booth was a rockin' good time.
At the bar show on Sunday, as Anthony and I made our way through aisles and aisles of bar related things: liquor, food, DJ equipment, and ID scanners, we hit one of these out of place booths. Stuck in between a booth that was hosted by women in floor length formal gowns and another hosted by two guys in ball caps were: lawyers. Their booth was simple, and they did have promotional products as well. And since they seemed so out of place, Anthony and I simply had to ask, What are you doing here?
They explained that while they knew the show was more for companies that wanted people to buy their awesome DJ equipment (note: the lawyer didn't say awesome, I'm paraphasing) or their ID scanner, they knew they could help bar and restaurant owners. Everyone, especially bar and restaurant owners needs legal representation at some point in their life. So they realized that if someone took their pen, maybe, MAYBE someone would remember them and call them should they get into a jam. And that made sense to me. Andersen windows at the local Greek festival...still no idea on that one.
If you're going to a trade show, conference or a fair, make sure that it's one where you will fit in. And if you don't make sure your booth is a rockin' good time. As the saying goes, you attract more flies with honey. Anderson windows could have attracted more people with some sort of game to engage them, rather than just a product sample. Don't get me wrong, it was a nice window from the look of it, but if they had more of a draw than that, it wouldn't have seemed like Andersen windows was the kool aid man in the court room.