Challenge: Attracting promotional product sponsors with useful, visible conference giveaways.
The power of tradeshow and conference marketing is undisputed: 80 percent of people who attend exhibitions represent new leads—and 40 percent of exhibition leads successfully move through the sales cycle to close—this, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.
It is partly this power of exhibition marketing, partly the opportunities for networking and learning, that attracts the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) to the conference and tradeshow venue. SEIA is the nation’s leading trade association for the solar energy industry, working on behalf of solar industry professionals to expand markets, strengthen research and development, remove market barriers and improve education and outreach.
This year, SEIA hosted its first conference and tradeshow exclusively for the nascent photovoltaics (PV) industry. PV is a way to harness solar energy by converting light to electricity—think solar-powered calculators and flexible solar panels that charge and run portable electronics like cell phones, PDAs and laptops. The event, called PV America, would take place over three days in Philadelphia.
Sponsor organizations gain, in return for their conference sponsorship, opportunities to brand various promotional products used at the event. And because the SEIA team planned to choose products they knew would be useful and valuable to recipients, such as name badges, they knew sponsors would welcome the increased brand awareness and visibility both during and after the show.
Name badges in particular are powerful promotional tools: 98 percent of show attendees wear a name badge, regardless of which sponsoring company’s name is on it—meaning it’s very likely that, if your firm is the sponsoring organization, your competitors will be wearing your logo! Branded name badges also illustrate your firm’s support for an industry and keep it top-of-mind throughout the event.
The SEIA team has had successful experiences with branded name badges and other promotional products at various conferences and shows, but still wasn’t sure which products—out of the thousands and thousands available—would best meet their criteria: the products must be attractive to conference attendees and sponsors, useful over the long-term to extend reach and brand awareness, and also appealing to the budget.
Solution: Sponsor-branded name badges, plus eco-friendly totes and pocket notebooks.
Enter SEIA’s promotional product expert: ePromos’ Promotions Specialist Omer Cohen, who pointed the team to two products he knew—and the team agreed—would work: a reusable tote and a notebook.
The Jumbo, Reusable Grocery Shopping Tote Bag, our best-selling, eco-friendly tote for its jumbo 13”w x 15”h x 10”d size, large 5” x 10” imprint area, premium durability and low price. The jumbo tote, with dual-reinforced 20” carrying handles, 10” side and bottom gussets and matching covered cardboard insert, is also crafted from recycled material, 100 percent recyclable and reusable, and tear resistant and water repellant. Because the team has noticed how eco-friendly totes have become ubiquitous, appearing at conferences and tradeshows wherever they go, they felt totes for PV America was a necessity.
The team also selected the Eco saddle-stitch notebook, which, though not available in our extensive web catalog, Omer was able to source by tapping his deep network of suppliers. The team knew from past technical conferences and events with international attendees that notebooks are among participants’ standard operating tools, as attendees without laptops tend to take notes vigorously during sessions and while networking in exhibition hall. They wanted an eco-friendly notebook that would provide good logo placement for the sponsor; a multi-functional notebook that, lacking bulk, could easily slide into a briefcase or back pocket without feeling cumbersome. The notebook they envisioned would also hold enough pages to be useful after the conference, but not so thick that it would take a long time to fill.
Omer initially showed the team several notebooks available on our site that met criteria, but none matched the size the team wanted. That’s when Omer turned to our reliable supply sources, through which he quickly found a smaller-version notebook that perfectly fit the team’s vision.
Result: SEIA on-boards sponsors quickly; some 4,000 industry professionals carry sponsor brand messages home.
During PV America, nearly 4,000 professionals in the solar industry field met and mingled, lunched and learned, and took home with them SEIA-branded and sponsor-branded promotional products. Attendees represented a wide mix of PV manufacturers, distributors and installers; industry financiers, analysts and investors; federal, state and local governments; researchers and technical specialists; and large scale users and project developers. The team reports that sponsors, who on-boarded to the sponsorship program very quickly, were pleased with the branded products, feeling that they received “more than their money’s worth” in brand awareness.
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