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Theme Your Event & Boost Promotional Effectiveness


On a regular basis we get the question from clients about how to pick a promotion or a theme to use for a trade show or event. Often these promotional messages or themes are intended for a trade show but sometimes they are for the launch of a product or just to generate awareness or sales. Here are 12 quick steps to help you pick the right promotion to grow your leads, sales or improve your overall marketing results.

  1. Identify if your company has a brand promise or brand image that should be considered before you evaluate alternatives. Find out the details and determine whether it is current and resonates with your customer base.
  2. If your company does not have a brand promise or brand image identified work with your marketing team and leadership to develop one or hire out a company to help you do it.
  3. Find out – or decide – what you are trying to promote or sell. Whether you are exhibiting at an event or creating one, consider the audience expected to attend when picking your theme or promotion.
  4. Determine the company’s goals beyond incremental sales for the product, service or event being promoted.
  5. Communicate and confirm goals with your company’s leadership, marketing and sales teams.
  6. If you are planning to promote a new product ensure that you understand key differentiators for the product along with the client for the product, or service. These may be the same as for your broader company message or it may be narrower or even different if you are seeking new markets.
  7. Determine how much you need to sell or save because of this promotion to justify your investment. This could be an estimated amount of new sales or estimated savings in alternate advertising costs to get similar client engagement (this will help you determine a budget if one is not already set).
  8. If you don’t know how to calculate or estimate the expected revenue or savings you can ask your sales, marketing or leadership teams to give you an estimate or look up results from similar promotions in the past.
  9. Regardless of where you get the estimated goals ensure to get approval and agreement on said goals before proposing a theme, event or promotion. You want to make sure that when you propose your promotion you can explain how it can contribute towards achieving the approved goals your company has set out.
  10. Brainstorm with your team a theme or promotion that will tie in with your brand, be relevant to your target clients / event attendees and will help you achieve your goals (and that you can execute within budget).
  11. We get a lot of questions from trade show managers who are worried that they can’t come up with a suitable promotion or giveaway because their company provides a service and not a tangible good. If that is the case for you, think of what benefit that service provides for your users. For example, it could be savings, peace of mind or efficiency. Then tie that benefit into your brand and promotion. If your company provides peace of mind for their clients you can offer a relaxation app or game.
  12. Create a tagline or statement to describe your theme and how it ties to your company, brand or product. Make sure to utilize that tag or statement to reinforce your theme wherever possible. For example if your theme is all about superior performance you could have race car giveaways, race car colors for staffer shirts, a promotional email message that ties into the theme, social media hashtags that tie it all together like #SuperiorPerformance #TradeshowYear #YourCompanyName.

I hope these ideas help you put together a great theme for your next trade show event promotion. Let us know if you have used or seen a theme that worked particularly well for an event promotion. We love to get your ideas.