Making Marketing Magic

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Your company has gone to the same conference for six years in a row.  What do you do this year to create “buzz” around your booth and showcase your latest capabilities?

I was faced with that question before the National Veteran Small Business Conference (NVSBC)  in New Orleans this year.  Oak Grove had been to the NVSBC several times.  We knew that the conference attendees were familiar with some aspects of our work, but we wanted to make sure that we could showcase capabilities—such as our multimedia work—that many attendees might not expect from us.  We wanted to do something fresh.

We wanted to design a fun and integrated approach geared toward increasing traffic to our booth and creating “buzz” about Oak Grove. We decided on a tailgate theme. The idea spawned from the story of how Oak Grove was conceived during a University of Mississippi tailgate party. Our approach included not only our booth design, but also our tchochkes (giveaways) and wardrobe.

The Oak Grove team was outfitted in jerseys made with our company colors. Our tailgate themed giveaways included footballs, Frisbees, and cozies.  Both the jerseys and the giveaways personified our unique theme. We incorporated props like a grill and a cooler as finishing touches.  The props even served as containers for our giveaways.

The theme served as a great ice breaker. People stopped by our booth simply to complement us on our creativity and the conversation led to a networking connection.  Even walking the aisles at the conference, people would approach us to find out about our jerseys. And our giveaways became something of a collector’s item.

The placement of our booth could not have been better. We were situated in the same aisle as many government agencies (“government row” as I heard it called). This drew many of the conference attendees to our row. The increased traffic, in conjunction with our one-of-a-kind theme, made this conference a huge success for us. 

Don’t be afraid to try something new.  If you’re thinking of changing up your usual conference booth design—don’t abandon your brand, just expand it –  taking risks pays off.