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306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


 


Challenges, problems, and triumphs -- from a manufacturer's perspective.

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How To Have a Great Trade Show

It takes more than great products.

by Michelle Howard, Sugarloaf Products (August 7, 2006)

(Note: During the recent CHA Summer Show, CLN heard from a number of exhibitors. Some were very, very pleased with the buyers' response and others were not. While we're certainly not experts on products and their sales potential, in some cases the products offered by the happy vendors did not seem substantially better than those sold by the dissatisfied exhibitors. So we asked Michelle Howard of Sugarloaf Products why she thought the company had such a good show, considering the company's booths were not in a particularly good location.)

We had a well-rounded approach to this show, and we think it was effective in getting buyers into our booth. In addition to coming to see our new products, buyers came to our booth to learn more about our dealer-support program, which we promoted heavily through pre-show mailings.

Our mission is to support the retailer in a great number of traditional and non-traditional ways, and we’re finding that our customers really value this. We heard several times from current retail customers that the level of support we offer them through our various programs has been greatly appreciated, and we think that this service, combined with our high-quality, high-value products, resulted in us writing some fairly sizable orders at the show.

Of course, we also offered valuable show specials, which were promoted in CHA’s pre-show postcard mailing and in our pre-show trade emails. Many buyers took advantage of these show specials.

In the same mailings, we also promoted our huge make-it/take-its, which were offered throughout each day of the show. We taught some pretty exceptional projects that gave buyers that opportunity to work with our products and go home with a really nice project or projects that they could, in turn, teach their customers. These were very popular and kept our booth busy.

Off the show floor, we sponsored an evening workshop that was sold out. Students loved the project that was taught in the workshop, and many came to our booth during the next two days.

CLN Comments.

1. Michelle told us the one thing the company ran out of time to do was print press releases and put them in the press room. Magazine editors, afraid they won't be able to visit every booth, always pick up exhibitors' information left in the press room.

2. No doubt Sugarloaf personnel sent pre-show mailings to the company's customer list – and followed up after the show.

3. CHA informed CLN that CHA will make available to Winter Show exhibitors the attendee pre-registration list – free. Because of privacy laws, CHA cannot send the list directly to exhibitors, but exhibitors can print and send postcards to a bonded mailing house, who will then package them with other exhibitors' cards and mail them to attendees. Information on the program will soon be available from CHA.

(Note: To comment on the CHA Summer Show or exhibitor strategies, email your thoughts to CLN at mike@clnonline.com. To read previous "Vinny" entries, click on the headlines in the right-hand column.)

xxx

 

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