Today was the first full day at the Assoc of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Convention at the Raleigh Convention Center. I was able to attend some great presentations on communication planning and social media that I’m going to write on in posts next week. I found that doing a tradeshow throws a kink in my challenge for a few reasons. First I was using my laptop to take notes on the speakers. After the morning sessions, the exhibits opened and I had to use my laptop to run the demo on the large monitor in our booth. Also between networking, demoing and returning calls I did not find the time to really sit down and write.

However I was able to see the reaction to my show giveaway and a clever promotion that I pulled together for Site Dynamics at ACCE. I had a small budget of under $400 to work with but needed to get a quantity of 1,000 items to put in the attendees show bags (approx 750) with some left over to giveaway at the booth. After searching the web for swag ideas I suddenly thought of doing a guitar pick with logo, web site and some slogan. I found out that it fit my budget and knew that it would be unique.

So I designed the pick below using an online tool that allowed me to upload my artwork and type set my slogan. I had a few days to get it done during the week of July 4th and have it shipped to the fulfillment house. There were a few glitches including shipping getting lost for a day but I got them there in time to be included in the show packages.

Now I know many exhibitors put a flyer to postcard or may a coupon or brochure but today I was assured by many booth visitors that the guitar pick was unusual and different in a good way. Many people commented that they either played or someone they knew played. But most important they remembered our name, stopped by the booth and saw a demo and entered into our giveaway drawing.

So I have a small 10 by 10 foot booth, table top display and demo station. Not very exciting so in order to tie in the pick I created a tabletop display showing our giveaway as the new Beatles Rockband video game. I also connected my iPod to the demo monitor that has speakers and cranked up Beatles tunes. Needless to say it worked. From a creative standpoint I was really happy since I met the challenge of budget and created a buzz in the space of the show that had results. I also used Twitter to promote using the conference hash tag #acce.

Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald started Square Jaw Media to document strategies and techniques he had used over his experience working in marketing and communications since 1990. During this time Brian wrote about many of the exciting Raleigh social media events where great knowledge was being shared and tries to share some of the tips and tricks. . Read Brian's full bio.