Challenges, problems, and triumphs
-- from a manufacturer's perspective.
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
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.
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 email@example.com.
To read previous "Vinny" entries, click on the headlines
in the right-hand column.)