March 2007 Vol. 12 Issue 1

Campaigns get the public’s attention
Q&A with Steve Cain


In the last issue, we answered a question about how to put together a free trade show advertisement . In this issue, I answer a follow up question that actually reveals a bigger picture.

Question: What are my options for promoting a booth at a trade show?

Answer: If you want to promote anything right, consider a campaign.

There are whole books devoted to showing you how to develop promotional campaigns, so my task here is to simply offer an overview that will give you ideas on how to attack a marketing campaign and a sense of what tools are involved.

Know your audience and when to hit ’em

First, step back and look at the important elements of a marketing campaign. The basic elements and questions you should ask yourself are

  • Market: Who is my audience?
  • Message: What do I have to say to that audience?
  • Timing: Is my message in-sync with people at a time they will listen?

These elements remind you to:
  • Know your audience
  • Tailor your message to that audience
  • Hit them with your message while your audience is thinking about it
Granted, mounting a campaign is difficult when you have limited time and resources, but the more in tune you are with audiences and topics, the easier it will be to put a campaign together.

Talk with a sample of your audience and find ways to reach them. Talk with other educators or specialists and brainstorm ideas. When you do this, you are on the path toward figuring out how to design a marketing campaign.

Tools of the trade

Now let’s look at some tools you might use to market your trade show booth (or any other product or service). This isn’t an all-inclusive list, but it should give you something to check each time you promote a product or service.

Common tools you might use as part of a campaign:
* Radio
* Word of mouth
* Direct mailings
* News releases
* Cooperative promotions
* Demonstrations
* Telephone calls
* E-mail messages
* Web pages
* Public speeches
* Displays
* Fliers

When it comes to a campaign, make sure your message is:
* Simple, so people get the message
* Repeated, so people learn the message

For example, your message can be: “Be financially independent.” Sub-messages might include:
* A call to visit your booth
* Details on how to reach you
* Where to get more information

Purdue Extension has major access to newsletters, direct mailings, Web sites, meetings, and more. A campaign means that you use all the tools you have access to repeatedly in order to reach your audience.

If you campaign to get the public’s attention (and get it) the next step is delivering your educational message.

Steve Cain, cain@purdue.edu

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