4 Reasons NOT To Buy BAD Merch

“Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy Bad Merch!”

Branded Merchandise, or ‘merch’ as it’s commonly referred to, is a crucial aspect of any organization or personal brand. It serves as a tangible representation of the brand, often acting as a physical reminder of a brand’s values, image, and identity. However, not all merch is created equal. In this video and blog, we discuss the importance of avoiding bad merch and the detrimental effects it can have on your brand. It’s not just about saving a few bucks, it’s about preserving the integrity of your brand, respecting the environment, and making a smart investment.

It’s essential to understand that cheap and inexpensive are not synonymous when it comes to merch. The quality of the merch can significantly impact the brand’s image and reputation. Furthermore, bad merch is not only harmful to the brand but also to the environment. It contributes to landfill waste and promotes a culture of disposability. Lastly, bad branded merch is a bad investment. It does not leave a lasting impression and may not even be used by the recipients. In this article, we delve into these points in detail, providing you with four compelling reasons not to buy bad merch.

Cheap vs. Inexpensive Merch

When it comes to branded merch, there’s a significant distinction between cheap and inexpensive. Cheap merch often lacks quality and durability, leading to a poor representation of your brand. On the other hand, inexpensive merch can still be of high quality. For instance, a high-quality lip balm can be an inexpensive yet effective piece of merch. It’s essential to strike a balance between cost and quality when choosing your merch.

Investing in cheap merch may seem like a cost-effective strategy in the short term. However, the long-term effects can be detrimental to your brand. Cheap merch often breaks easily, doesn’t function properly, or wears out quickly, leading to a negative impression of your brand. On the other hand, inexpensive, high-quality merch can leave a positive, lasting impression, enhancing your brand’s image and reputation.

Bad Merch is Bad for the Brand

Branded Merch is a physical representation of your brand. It’s a tangible extension of your brand’s values, image, and identity. Therefore, bad merch can significantly harm your brand. It’s crucial to choose merch that aligns with your brand’s values and image. If the merch contradicts these, it can be detrimental to your brand’s reputation.

Imagine handing out pens that don’t write or t-shirts that fade after a few washes. This not only frustrates the recipient but also reflects poorly on your brand. It sends a message that your brand doesn’t value quality or customer satisfaction. Therefore, it’s crucial to invest in high-quality merch that accurately represents your brand and resonates with your target audience.

Bad Merch is Bad for the Earth

Bad merch isn’t just bad for your brand; it’s also bad for the environment. Cheap, low-quality merch often ends up in the trash after a short period of use, contributing to landfill waste. This not only harms the environment but also reflects poorly on your brand’s commitment to sustainability.

Choosing sustainable and reusable merch is a better option. Not only does it show your brand’s commitment to the environment, but it also provides a lasting, useful product for the recipient. For instance, a reusable shopping bag or a stainless steel water bottle can be a great piece of merch that aligns with your brand’s sustainability values and provides value to the recipient.

Bad Merch is a Bad Investment

Investing in bad merch is like throwing money down the drain. It doesn’t leave a lasting impression, and it may not even be used by the recipient. The perceived value of the merch is crucial for its usage and impact. If the merch falls apart or doesn’t function properly, it’s likely to be discarded, wasting your investment.

On the other hand, investing in high-quality, useful branded merch can have a significant return on investment. It can enhance your brand’s image, increase customer loyalty, and even generate new business. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the quality and functionality of the merch before making an investment.


Choosing the right branded merch is crucial for any brand. It’s not just about the cost; it’s about the quality, the impact on the environment, and the return on investment. It’s important to choose merch that aligns with your brand’s values and image. Consider your target audience and what would bring them joy and lasting use. A well-thought-out merch strategy can significantly enhance your brand’s image and reputation, leading to increased customer loyalty and business growth.

So, before you make your next merch purchase, remember these four reasons not to buy bad merch. Invest in quality, align with your brand values, consider the environment, and make a smart investment. Your brand, your customers, and the earth will thank you.

As always, we want to provide you with value.  So if you want to create marketing campaigns (and appreciation gifts) that hit the TARGET, check out our TARGET marketing playbook here.

Thirsty Thursday: New Venture Lite 24 oz Tervis Water Bottle

You know what time it is!  It’s time for Thirsty Thursday! Thirsty Thursday is the award-winning piece of content from Hasseman Marketing where we take a mystery drink out of a piece of branded drinkware! Be careful…it’s not for everyone. This week we feature the Venture Lite 24 oz Water Bottle from Tervis.  It’s a fun one.  Get ready to giggle…and be jealous of this new piece of drinkware.  Watch now!

Why Should You Consider the Venture Lite 24 oz Water Bottle from Tervis?

  • Our 24oz classic Venture Lite water bottle features an easy-to-swap chug spout and straw spout so you can choose how to drink. It also has a push-button opening for one-handed operation, a safety lock to prevent spillage and a comfortable handle for easy carrying. Its large lid opening means ice cubes go in easily.
  • This printed wrap-around design is sealed between the bottle walls. Double-wall insulation keeps drinks cold longer and reduces condensation to keep hands dry in warmer weather.
  • Impact-resistant, BPA-free material makes these water bottles shatterproof. They’re also lightweight and leakproof for peace of mind when carrying.
  • Most classic water bottles are freezer and dishwasher-safe (top rack recommended, or away from heat element if on the bottom rack) and fit most cup holders.
  • Each classic water bottle is proudly made in the US with American and imported parts, and backed by a Lifetime Guarantee* so you can buy with confidence.

Each Thirsty Thursday, we feature a cool piece of branded drinkware.  To learn more… head to our shop here.  And if this was just too much fun, then you can watch more!  Check out our last episode here.  

Thanks for watching!  Again, purchase for your team here…or contact your Hasseman Marketing team member.

Hasseman Marketing is your one-stop marketing shop.  We work hard to “Deliver #MarketingJoy to you.  Oh…and we want to make sure you hit the TARGET in your marketing.  If you want to learn now, check out our TARGET marketing playbook here for FREE!


5 Must-Haves For a Successful Health And Wellness Program

At Hasseman Marketing, we work with organizations from all over the map.  We have clients in manufacturing, financial services, education, healthcare, retail…and more.  But what do all of them have in common?  They all need an incredible workforce to deliver their products and services.  Without exception, each of these companies needs a great team in order to do their best work.

So how do you attract and retain the best talent for your team, if everyone is trying to do the same thing?  It’s the million-dollar question (or for some organizations, the billion-dollar question).  And while there are MANY different strategies and tactics to make sure your people want to stick around, one is universal.

Care more.

Employees tend to stay where they are fairly compensated…and they feel appreciated.  That appreciation can be shown in many ways.  But one way that we have seen organizations showcase their “give a damn” is through Health and Wellness programs.  The best Health and Wellness programs not only help employees be healthier but also show that the employer wants them to.  As Maya Angelou said, “People will not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Why Do You Need A Health and Wellness Program?

While this all may feel warm and fuzzy, a great health and wellness program affects the bottom line too.  Many organizations negotiate their healthcare costs based on the health of their employees.  In other words, if you are team is healthier, it will save your company money on healthcare costs.  But it goes further than that.  In a study done on the ROI of employee wellness programs, Harvard researchers conclude that, on average, for every dollar spent on employee wellness, medical costs fall $3.27 and absenteeism drops $2.73. This is a 6-to-1 return on investment.

According to the Rand Wellness Programs Study, the disease management component of the studied wellness program was responsible for 86 percent of the hard health care cost savings, generating $136 in savings per member, per month, and a 30 percent reduction in hospital admissions.

So while you may explore a health and wellness plan because you want your employees to thrive, it can certainly help your bottom line as well.

5 Must-Haves For a Successful Health And Wellness Program

However, there is a challenge with organizations that want to implement a health and wellness program that will move the needle.  Where do you start?  What do you need to do to make it happen?  As with most things, if you just throw it together, it will feel that way.  And you won’t get the results or impact you or your organization wants.  So here are the 5 things we think your health and wellness program needs to be successful.

Enrollment Plan

For people to make real change they have to be enrolled in the journey.  Enrollment is not forced.  It’s voluntary.  There is a difference between education and learning.  Education is forced.  Learning is voluntary.  We learn faster and grow faster if we WANT to do it.  We need to be enrolled in the journey.  The goal is not just to get people signed up.  You want to get them enrolled!  We recommend the 3 E’s to get the program started.  Excite, Engage, and Enroll.

Excitement is what you create when you promote the program.  This is when you tell the team about the program.  You explain the potential results.  This is when you talk about the impact on the team and on them personally.

Engage is when you get them to sign up.  You give them their first cool branded merch to help them identify as a part of the tribe.

Enrollment is the process of getting their buy-in.  They may have signed up, but you need to continue to motivate and inspire them to get started on the right foot!

Design Plan

While you can certainly use your company logo on the merch, we think it works best if you create something special.  Make no mistake, your health and wellness design should match your branding guidelines to maintain continuity.  But we think having a special design will help to announce to the team who is taking part in the journey.  This allows to members of the team to build camaraderie on the journey and to lift each other up.  By making a special design for the program, you can make your team members feel special in the process.

Merch Plan

We say all of the time “Friends don’t let friends do bad merch!”  And while you might expect to hear that from a company that sells branded merch, we believe it because it’s about affecting human behavior.  If you and your organization do trashy branded merch in your health and wellness program it will not encourage people to sign up.  And if you don’t get enrollment, you will not affect any change.  This does NOT mean you need to break the bank.  But you do need to focus on items that will fit the goals and encourage people to jump in.  It takes a commitment and a plan.

Communication Plan

If you have ever started a new fitness program, you know that maintaining consistency and motivation is a huge factor in success.  We believe that creating a communication (or inspiration) plan that reaches out to participants consistently can help to increase their chances of success.  While you may be completely self-motivated, most of us are not.  A coach or a voice of encouragement can really help to push people to do their best.

Exercise Plan

A great Health and Wellness plan is not only about exercise anymore.  The best plans help your team to focus on mental wellness as well.  This might come in the communication/inspiration plan above.  But it should include a fitness plan as well.  As studies will tell you, your overall fitness will help shape your mental wellness too.  So make sure to consider ways to get your team active in a real and positive way!

As you can see, a productive health and wellness program can really have a positive impact on your organization.  On the other hand, you can probably see how much there is to run one well.  Want help? At Hasseman Marketing, we have a program called Total Wellness.  If you want to schedule a call to see how we might help you, click here and we can set it up.  


37 Game-Changing Books for Business

I love blogs, podcasts, and videos.  Each of these has the chance to inspire me and lift me up.  I have created time in my morning routine to put some good into my brain each day…and these are often my tools of choice.  But if I really want to take a deep dive into a topic, I still am inspired by books.  Whether I read a physical book or simply take a walk with the author (in audio form), books help me grow (and level up).

Over the course of the last 10 years, I have had the chance to read hundreds of books.  Some have been forgettable.  Others have been what I needed to hear at the moment.  But here is a list of 37 Game-Changing Books for Business that have impacted me.  I wanted to share them with you.

I originally wrote this list in 2021.  So I updated this list again to add a few new favorites!

The E-Myth Revisited

This is one of the best business books ever.  I have bought countless copies and have recommended it more times than I can remember.  I have probably read it 10 different times and have found myself in a different place on the journey each time.  If you are in business or want to start a business, this is awesome.

Profit First

When I first listened to Profit-First, I thought author Mike Michaelowicx was following me around.  It spoke to the challenges I was having in my business’s cash flow right then.  We tentatively adopted the philosophy and have not looked back.  It’s been a game-changer for us.  Mike’s goal is to “eliminate entrepreneurial poverty,” and for many in business, that is a real thing.  Love this book.

Start with Why

You know a book is powerful when it becomes something that everyone else repeats.  It seems every business leader discusses the need to find your WHY now.  Sinek created the conversation and it is an important one in today’s business world.

Leaders Eat Last

I think each one of Sinek’s books has gotten stronger. And while I really enjoyed “Start with Why,” I thought “Leaders Eat Last” was even better.  Sinek goes into what makes a great leader and even the biological reasons for it.  Powerful information…and super interesting too!

Infinite Game

As you might expect, this is my favorite of Simon Sinek’s books.  He explains the difference between a finite game and an infinite game and why it matters so much to know what kind of game you are playing.  For me, it crystallized the idea of playing a “long game” in business.  It’s what I have long believed and discussed, but Sinek does it in a much more articulate way than me!

The Thank You Economy

I love Gary Vaynerchuk.  I am a fan.  But while I love his content, his energy, his speaking, and his philosophy, I don’t always LOVE his books.  But The Thank You Economy was different.  Gary talks about using social media to create appreciation, value, and connection at scale.  Loved this one.

Pumpkin Plan

This is the second Mike Michaelowicz book on the list.  I am a fan of Mike’s work and this is a powerful one about differentiation.  He says “The Riches are in the Niches” and explains how to find your niche and grow into it.  He even spends a bit of time explaining how to “fire a client” which just seems so hard for some entrepreneurs.  The Pumpkin Plan is worth harvesting.

Purple Cow

I am an unapologetic fan of Seth Godin.  He is a thought leader in business and marketing.  And he has the ability to say things in a way that is simple, yet powerful.  “If you want to be remarkable, you have to do something worth remarketing about.”  Read this one if you want to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

The Dip

While this is probably not Godin’s most famous book, it is the one I find myself quoting the most often.  It’s short and powerful.  When you start something new, you will be learning fast and your improvements will be fast.  Then, that will excitement and progress will slow down.  It will not be as exciting.  This is the Dip…and it’s when most people quit.  Get through the Dip…and you become the expert.

The Practice

His most recent book (as I type this), The Practice is a powerful reminder about how we get better at anything.  If you want to build a career, a business, your fitness, content, or a life…creating a Practice will help you do it.

Ultimate Selling Machine

If you are an entrepreneur or are in sales (and we are all in sales), this book is powerful.  There are strategies for everything from creating a sales process to building real relationships.  Love this one.

High Trust Selling

I read this one a long time ago, and it was one of the first books that changed my business.  Duncan’s observation is that 80% of our results in sales come from 20% of activities.  But as salespeople, we tend to focus on the wrong part of the business.  We need to hire out the 80% that does not make us money.

The 5-Second Rule

File this under “simple but powerful.”  Mel Robbins gives you a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 solution for procrastination.  Along the way, she gives powerful insights into performance and life.  Oh…and this is a great audiobook if you enjoy those.


Jon Acuff is a great writer and speaker.  His sense of humor helps me get lessons I might otherwise miss.  While I love his book Start (Punch Fear in the Face), the book Finish was more powerful for me.  I have never had problems starting things…but finishing?  Squirrel!  He gives some great tips on getting your project to the finish line.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I talk about this book as a foundational book for anything.  I find myself referencing it years later.  If you have read it.  Read it again.

The Goal

got this book recently at the recommendation from a friend.  It’s a great look at how to improve a bottleneck and flies in the face of traditional manufacturing policy.


Want to build your personal brand?  I really enjoyed this book from Mark Schaeffer on how to make it happen.  In this book, he outlines the 5 steps you need to take to build your brand and become Known.

Building Your Storybrand

Donald Miller wrote this gem that outlines why most companies get their marketing wrong.  It was a real “a-ha” moment for me and shined a light on why sometimes messages work and sometimes they don’t.  Who is your marketing making “the hero of the story?”  Most of us make ourselves the hero.  The customer needs to be the hero.  Miller explains why in this wonderful book.

Marketing Made Simple

Now that you understand that the customer needs to be the hero of your marketing story, Marketing Made Simple digs into the tactics of how to make that happen.  This book outlines a step-by-step process to create a marketing machine that works for your business.

Dare To Lead

Most of us are afraid to put ourselves out there.  We don’t want to be completely authentic because it doesn’t feel like “what a strong leader would do.”  Brene Brown breaks down those myths and challenges us to lean into them.  I feel like this book made me a better leader by making me a better person.

Extreme Ownership

And speaking of leadership, it’s hard to learn from better teachers than Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.  These two team up to give amazing lessons in leadership combined with stories from leading teams in combat.  Oh…and if something is going wrong in your company, or division, or family…you should take extreme ownership.  Good one here.

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

Everywhere I looked, I saw people telling me I needed to meditate.  But I didn’t know how.  I felt like I was doing it wrong.  It felt strange and weird.  This book breaks down some of those myths and gives you permission to get started with “just one minute” if that’s what you need to do.  This is a good introduction for someone that feels they might need meditation in your life…but does not know where to start.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

If you are offended by strong language, this book is not for you.  However, if you can get past that, there is a zen-like quality to much of this book that really connected with me.  One of my favorite lessons, which I talk about here, is the idea that successful people are willing to “suffer through” things to get to what they want.  Not everything will be easy.  If you want to reach your goal, you need to decide what you are willing to suffer through.


This book is sort of the bible for Agile productivity.  We read it as a team.  If you want to get more done as a team, this book is a must-read.  Can you break down tasks into small enough pieces so that every member of the team can help?  You probably can…and SCRUM lines up how.

4 Disciplines of Execution

Let me see if you have been there.  We come back from a conference (or read a book) and want to implement a great idea.  We start strong, but then the “whirlwind” of business and life gets in the way.  The 4 Disciplines breaks down how to identify the Wildly Important Goal, and create a process to make improvements with your team.

Epic Content Marketing

If you want to do content marketing “right,” this is your manual.  Joe Pulizzi talks about the start of his company and how creating compelling content (for the customer) works.  He shows you how to create an audience and story-tell in a way that will build your brand.  Loved this one.

Hug Your Haters

So you have created a social media following that is worth having.  What do you do when “the haters” show up?  Jay Baer says you need to “Hug Your Haters” in this book about dealing with tough comments on social.  Jay gives the playbook on what to do when complaints happen (and they will).  Most of us want to ignore the comments so they go away.  Jay explains why that is the wrong play…and how doing it right can change haters into fans!

Never Split the Difference

Life is a negotiation.  If you are in business, you already know this.  In this powerful book, Chris Voss takes us inside some amazing stories from a hostage negotiator…and how many of them can apply to you.

Living With a Seal

This is a fun one.  Jesse Itzler tells the story of how he invited the “toughest man on the planet” David Goggins to live with him for a month and train him.  When I listened to this, no one knew who David Goggins was…but it all makes sense now.  While there are some sincere lessons here about how far we (as humans) can go, this one was fun.

The Power of One More

If you have followed me over the past few years, I talk a lot about Ed Mylett.  His book The Power of One More is a great personal development read.  If you want to level up in any area of your life, Mylett gives you the tools to do that.  And I love the way he frames so many of these important topics.


Jon Acuff is funny and insightful…and this is probably my favorite book from him.  Here Jon talks about the voice that we hear all of the time in our heads…our own.  Most of us can be our own worst enemies, and he gives us permission to push back on that voice…and tools to do just that.  Totally worth a read or a listen.

Buy Back Your Time

Most of the entrepreneurs I know struggle with two things…cash and time.  While this book doesn’t give you any cash, it does give you lots of tactics on how to better use your time in order to grow.

$100 Million Offers

Alex Hermozi doesn’t need any recommendations from me…but he is going to get it anyway!  This book $100 Million Offers, and his follow-up $100 Million Leads, are must-reads if you want to grow your business.  And if you are not following him on social media already, you really should check him out!


I read this a long time ago…but I didn’t implement it.  I went back to re-read after so many people I respect mentioned the book.  We have worked to implement the tactics at Hasseman Marketing, and now I understand the appeal.

The 6 Types of Working Genius

Sometimes you read a book and it changes the way you look at your team.  This was one of those books for me.  I love the concept of how there are 6 types of work in each project.  Then Patrick Lencioni explains how to increase efficiency and avoid burnout by putting people (and yourself) in your area of genius as much as possible.

12 Months To $1 Million

If you want to start a business, I think this is a great place to start.  There are concepts here that will help you get started off right…and great reminders for those who have been doing this for a while.  Great book!


This is my one selfish plug, but if you are struggling with your marketing, I really think this can help.  Hit The TARGET is my latest book, written as a parable, that helps you identify your perfect customer and grow your business with them.

So there you have it!  This is my updated list of 37 Game-Changing Books for Business.

As always, we want to provide you with value.  So if you want to create marketing campaigns (and appreciation gifts) that hit the TARGET, check out our TARGET marketing playbook here.

5 People Who Help Me Raise My Game

You have heard it before.  You are the people you surround yourself with. We tell our kids this as they grow up.  But we often lose sight of it as adults.  The people we surround ourselves with, influence us in big ways. And while you might not be able to schedule lunch with anyone you want on the other, content has changed who we can spend time with.  In today’s DMJ 1 on 1, I talk about this…and I talk about the 5 people I follow who help me raise my game.

5 People Who Help Me Raise My Game

Ed Mylett

Ed Mylett is a successful businessperson, content creator, and influencer.  He is a man of faith and I quote his advice all of the time (as I do in the video).  In addition, his book “The Power of One More” is awesome.  He is all over the place, but you can find him on YouTube here.

Codie Sanchez

If you are an entrepreneur or want to be one, Codie Sanchez is a great follow.  She has an email called “Contrarian Thinking” and talks about building her empire by buying “boring businesses.”  Again, I am a big fan of following her on YouTube. 

Alex Hermozi

If you want to grow your business, Alex Hermozi is a must-follow.  He built his original business in the gym space, and is working to “build a billion-dollar thing.”  Alex provides real-world advice on building businesses, getting new customers, and more.  He challenges me to push myself and I love that.  You can find him here.

Jon Acuff

While Jon is an entrepreneur, I think of him in the author and speaker space.  He has written books called Start, Finish, Soundtracks (probably my favorite), and recently released a book called “All it Takes Is a Goal.”  Jon is a self-professed “goal nerd” and gives great advice on parenting, business, and leveling up in all areas of life.  My favorite place to follow him is on LinkedIn.

Gary Vaynerchuk

I love Gary Vee.  Gary creates so much content that I can’t possibly consume it all.  But every once in a while I see a piece of content that hits me right where I need it to.  He talks about entrepreneurship, modern-day marketing, and happiness.  You can find him everywhere, but I still love finding his videos on YouTube the best.

These are just 5 people that inspire me to raise my game.  There are plenty of others.  The point, of course, is that you can choose who you listen to in order to raise your level of fitness, finance, or even happiness.  You just have to be intentional.

As always, we want to provide you with value.  So if you want to create marketing campaigns (and appreciation gifts) that hit the TARGET, check out our TARGET marketing playbook here.


10 Tips For Trade Show Success

For many organizations, trade shows are a tool in the marketing toolbox.  And, if you pick one that serves your perfect customers, it can be a great investment.  But make no mistake…it is an investment.  It certainly costs money.  But it’s also the investment of time.  So if you are going to make that investment, you want it to be worth it.  So here are 10 tips to ensure Trade Show Success.


Before the Trade Show

Tip #1: Get the list of registered attendees

If it is at all possible, get a list of everyone who has confirmed they are coming to the show. Though trade shows do have a lot of last-minute sign-ups, they should have a great list of attendees who are registered and ready to attend that you, as an exhibitor, can get access to before the event.

In the lead-up to the show, these registered attendees are themselves preparing for the show. If they’re smart, they’re creating a strategy for working the show themselves.

So, the first tip is to simply get that list! As a matter of fact, some of my clients do not even exhibit at trade shows if the organizers don’t provide a list of attendees, it’s that valuable to them. Now that you have the list, on to the next tip.

Tip #2: Send each attendee an email inviting them to come to your booth

Make sure this email is attractive, creative, and personal. Try to whet their appetite. What great promotional item do you have on offer? What’s your fun theme? Are you giving out free beer? Whatever it is, let them know that you want them to come and see you.

Tell attendees where your booth will be located, what’s in it for them, and why they should look for you. If you have enough lead time before the show, you can even send more than one email.

Tip #3: Send a direct mail piece which mirrors the email

This direct mail piece should match the theme of your booth. I like this direct mail piece to be either a postcard (so they don’t have to open it to see it) or a personal card. If you make this direct mail piece impactful, you’ll see returns in better attendance at your booth.

During the Trade Show

Tip #4: Send great people (and people who are familiar with your sales process.)

It’s essential that the people manning your booth know the product or service you provide, and that they are comfortable selling at the booth. Often companies just put “warm bodies” at the booth, or send people who aren’t familiar with the sales process. This detracts from the credibility of the company. So, to get the most return on your investment in the trade show, be thoughtful about who will be staffing your booth.

Tip #5: Have a theme

Let’s be honest. Trade shows can be a little … monotonous. Creating an attractive and memorable theme for your booth (ideally one that’s aligned with or somehow reinforces what makes your company unique) will make you stand out among the long rows of the Trade Show Masses. In addition, having a theme can help you plan out how to dress and what to hand out, making your trade show planning process go more smoothly (and more fun, too!)

Tip #6: Bring a great handout

With this, you want to have a plan too! Handouts, done well, can drive traffic to the booth. Great, thoughtful, and useful gifts have an impact that lasts long after the show is done. If you choose to bring the same old promotional items as everyone else, that pen with your logo in it is going to end up at the bottom of the trade show bag, and might never come out again.

It’s up to you… think about the audience, the item, and its impact. Stuck for ideas? Call a promotional consultant, who can help you think this through. (If you don’t have a promotional consultant, please let us at Hasseman Marketing know! We would love to help.)

Tip #7: Have a VIP Gift

Sometimes at a trade show, one of your current customers will stop by the booth. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a big deal about their business and to thank them with a special VIP gift.

You also might have leads that you have a connection with or who show a real interest in your product or service. This is a great time to reach below the table and get out a VIP gift.

For a current customer, you might say: “Stan, I really appreciate your business and for taking the time to stop and see me today. I am not giving this to everyone, but please take this as a small token of my appreciation.”

With a prospect, the conversation might go like this: “Janice, I think we are on the same page. I know you have a lot of folks you want to see today, but I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. I am not giving these to everyone, but please take this and I will follow up with you after the show.”

These VIP gifts should be something a little nicer than what you’re handing out to everyone, and you don’t need hundreds of them. Used sparingly, they leave a big impression on your special contacts and customers, making them feel like the VIP’s they are!

After the Trade Show

What’s the secret to trade show success?

It’s what happens once you get back to the office.

The fortune is in the follow-up.

Tip #8: Follow Up Quickly with Email

Truthfully, email follow-ups are really just the bare minimum, but it’s an essential step. Make sure you have a rock-solid system in place to follow up with everyone that stopped by your booth. Thank them for coming, and remind them who you are and what you do.

Trade show attendees meet a lot of people in a short period of time, so do your best to remind them of you. If you remember the conversation it would be great to reference it in the personal email you send.  Time is of the essence. The sooner after the show you follow up, the more you convey that you and your company are “on it!”

Tip #9: Follow Up with a Card

Everyone sends emails. You should send a card. It’s a really nice personal touch. Now, I understand, if you need to contact thousands of people this might not be a realistic goal. If you can’t send a card, consider at least sending a direct mail postcard. This is one more way to get across their desk and to remind them of your awesomeness. The personal card, when appropriate can REALLY make you stand out!

If the idea of writing, stamping, and sending all of those cards makes you squeamish, look into automated ways of doing it. At Hasseman Marketing, we use a system called Send Out Cards. It’s perfect for personal follow-ups like these.

Tip #10: Follow Up with a Call

You probably saw this coming. Now it’s time to call them. After going through this process, a call is a great way to make the final personal touch. It’s time to reel them in!

So there you go…these are my top 10 trade show tips to ensure success.

Depending on how many emails you send in the email steps, if you follow all my tips you will have “touched” each prospect between 7 and 12 times. Studies show it takes, on average, 7 touches before a prospect buys … so follow all 10 tips and you’ve done a complete job!

It’s not rocket science, but to make the most of your investment in a trade show you need to have a plan.

As always, we want to provide you with value.  So if you want to create marketing campaigns (and appreciation gifts) that hit the TARGET, check out our TARGET marketing playbook here.