Customer Development, Customer Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Swag

Provide solutions, not giveaways

The message? Deliver solutions, not lottery tickets

Have you ever been to a trade show where you found a t-shirt, a cool robot, or other swag? Or maybe dropped your business card in a bowl for a chance at an iPad or something even better? And did you remember that company a few days later when you got home? I don’t usually remember those things – I just recycle them.

Customers (and potential customers) want solutions to the problems that they have (and perhaps solutions to new problems that they don’t know that they have yet.) If you spend your time focusing on giveaways, you’re going to miss the important part of your relationship with the customer that lasts beyond the trade show floor and lasts, hopefully, for years.

When they find you at a booth in a trade show, the customer likely has a few questions:

  • Who are you and what do you do? (message: how can you help me?)
  • How much does that cost? (message: is it in my budget and should we even be talking?)
  • Are you giving away shiny robots? (message: I have checked out of your pitch and am just looking to cut my losses and take stuff home)

These are all valid questions, and you can share valuable information. And if you focus on the need your customer has, the solution that you can provide that meets those needs, and explaining to the customer how to make these things meet. That’s more valuable than any giveaway, and will have a longer half-life in the customer’s mind.

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