The Bizz by

Business & marketing advice, news and features, design inspiration, and the art of gifting.

When Big Marketing Budgets Don’t Matter So Much: Social-Media Marketing & Trade Show Marketing

Jeremy Waite shares priceless truth & wisdom on social-media marketing, but it’s not exclusive to social media.


By Fausto Mendez

    Waite’s graphic above (and quote below) explains why social-media marketing is not so reliant on massive budgets. The same principal can also apply to trade-show marketing too.


"Too many brands running around trying to join the dots between all their different properties and hoping that one day they may be able to compete with the top brand in their industry.

Social business doesn’t work like that. It’s a level playing field. It’s like moneyball economics. Social “media” or whatever we chose to call it these days is still one of the only areas of business where you don’t need to outspend your competitors in order to beat them.”

    The big disconnect between trade-show marketing  and social is that having a big budget can make a pretty big difference at trade shows. Fortunately, trade show marketing is not all about big budgets, massive booths and extravagant displays.

    A little creativity can go a long way, and the fact that your smaller company shares the same space and traffic as much bigger companies really helps to even out the playing field despite budget differences. You don’t get that kind of “equality” on TV, paper ads, billboards or any other marketing space except for social media. Of course, it’s not an easy feat to outshow a showy brand like Sony or Samsung, but you can attract massive amounts of attention anyway. 

    There are lots of ways to do this, and you’re only limited by your creativity. One relatively easy way is to flood the trade show with attendees that are wearing your company shirts, hats or other apparel. But how can you coerce masses of people to wear your promotional apparel?

    One way is to launch a contest that requires participants to wear your shirt during the trade show to win prizes. I put together a detailed plan on that strategy at a previous blog post titled, "How to Get Everyone to Wear Your Promotional Shirt at the Next Trade Show.”

    The basic idea is to bring along some extra employees to walk and search the show floor, randomly handing out prizes - such as free products, gift cards, money or coupons - to attendees wearing your shirt. In order to attract the most attention from each prize giveaway, the key is to use bold extroverts with a showman’s attitude as your prize patrol. They should be loud, attractive, attention-grabbing people that you can’t ignore - perhaps accompanied by music, a short siren and/or light effects. Like I said, you’re only limited by your creativity.

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How to Get Everyone to Wear Your Promotional Shirt at the Next Trade Show - #MarketingMonday


By Fausto Mendez

    Trade show giveaways, such as free shirts, are one of the most effective ways to boost brand awareness within your target audience, but the key is making sure your giveaway is not prematurely chucked into a trash can or hidden in a bag. Achieve this effect by designing a marketing campaign around your promotional giveaway instead of just handing out free stuff. 

    Handing out promotional giveaways at trade shows is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book. The goal is to turn fans and potential customers into walking billboards for your brand - and also sell to those same swag-wielding folks - but since everyone at the show is handing out promotional items to everyone else, it’s harder than ever to get attendants to use your giveaway in public. 

Giveaways Are Not Marketing Campaigns

    Most trade-show exhibitors assume their free giveaways are their marketing campaigns, but that’s not how you should craft your presence at the show. The giveaway should only be a small component of a larger marketing machine, not the machine itself. Below, I craft an easy example for a video game publisher, but you may need to adjust the details of the plan to better fit your business and audience.

+ It all starts with a brand that other people want. If no one could ever want your brand, no amount of skillful marketing is going to change that. However, if your brand is worthy, you should see great success from this campaign. If you are confident that your brand would sell if people were introduced to it, you are on the right track. For this example, let’s pretend we run the marketing team for a gaming company.

+ You’ll need a low-cost promotional shirt or hat to give away at the trade show. Of course, you’ll add your logo, URL and/or message to the shirt, which is a service provided by a company like You’ll need a lot of shirts, which is why they shouldn’t be expensive, but you don’t want to go so cheap as to encourage folks to prematurely trash your giveaway. If the shirt is of decent quality, fans will wear it long after trade show. For this example, let’s pretend we ordered 2,500 Hanes tees for less than $2.00 each from These shirts brandish our brand logo, game logo, store URL and fashionable artwork.

+ Before you arrive at the trade show, craft a plan that encourages others to actually wear the shirts on the show floor. It is not good enough to simply give the shirts away. One of my favorite ideas is a contest that awards random shirt-wearing attendants at random times throughout the show.

A video-game publisher would bring along a few extra employees to covertly search for shirt-wearing attendants all over the show floor in order to offer them free copies of games. Coupons, gift cards and actual money are also great prizes. The goal of the campaign is the buzz it can produce as fans, potential customers and competitors will certainly discuss the masses of shirt-wearing fans, and once word spreads, you may even find a line at your booth for free shirts. A long line is also one of the best marketing tools your brand can have at a trade show.

+ For the next trade show, you may switch out the shirts for tote bags or another promotional giveaway that appeals to your audience. You don’t want to repeat the same campaign at every show as its effect will wear out if it’s used too often. However, you may decide to pull the same stunt at the same show every year. It could be a fun and memorable tradition that your fans anticipate.   

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#DIY Promotional Giveaway: Two-Tone Concrete Letters

By Fausto Mendez

    If you’re a fan of #DIY crafts for personalized gifts, promotional giveaways and event supplies, you should consider adding a personal touch to your next gift, giveaway or event with two-tone concrete letters.

    While browsing the Web for interesting fonts this morning, we stumbled upon a handy DIY guide for two-tone concrete letters. Wit And Whistle has the full guide, but we break it down to the essential steps below.

Step 0 - Hit the Shops for Some Essential Ingredients

+ Hollow Cardboard Letter(s), found at many craft shops

+ Box Cutter

+ Breathing Mask

+ Disposable Gloves

+ Two Plastic Spoons

+ Two Disposable Plastic Bowls

+ One Disposable Cup

+ Concrete Mix

+ Cement Color

+ Water

Step 1 - Hollow Out the Letter

+ Cut the back of the cardboard letter off. This will serve as your concrete mold.

+ Remove any filler material from the inside of the letter.

Step 2 - Prepare the Concrete and Letter’s Interior

 If this filler is simply cardboard strips, you can use it to create the divider for the two tones. Otherwise, you’ll have to find another solution. 

+ Mix two separate batches of concrete using your gloves and mask. You don’t want to breathe in any toxic dust. Don’t forget to add some color to at least one of your concrete mixes; the goal is two achieve a two-tone look. 

Step 3 - Add the Concrete

+ Fill in the letter interior.

+ Once you’ve filled in the interior as much as you can, remove the divider and add any concrete to any holes or gaps that are left. Don’t forget to check the sides for gaps too. 

Step 4 - Remove the Mold

+ Wait 24 hours for the concrete to dry.

+ Finally, cut away the mold to revel the letter.

    If you’re going to use the letter as a promotional gift (that raises brand awareness) to a special client, lead or partner, I recommend bundling it with other promotional giveaways that actually show the name and logo of your brand. Check out AnyPromo’s no-minimum page for promotional products that can be ordered in smaller quantities, such as iPad Cases, iPad Cases with built-in keyboardsBuilt Messenger Bags, leather shoulder bags and high-end  portfolio / writing pads - all of which feature your own logo, name and message. 

    The letters can also make for some very interesting, custom supplies for events and parties. For example, you might assign guests a letter or number, and they would then sit at the table that features the letter or number. You can also make a whole name or sign from several letters, such as “happy birthday”. You might also use the letters to make an attention-attracting sign for your booth at the next trade show.

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#DIY Promotional Giveaway: Super-Easy Themed Envelopes / Note Holders


By Fausto Mendez

    If you’re a fan of #DIY crafts for personalized gifts and promotional giveaways, you should consider adding a personal touch to your next promotional gift with a super easy-to-make themed envelope or note holder. 

    This DIY project is so easy, it’s hard to write at any length on the concept. In fact, Sweet Tidings managed to explain the whole project with a simple photo (seen above) and the following caption: “cookie-cutter cut-out note holder.” Basically, you use cookie cutters to cut folded, colored paper. The key is to cut right at the folded edge so that it folds open like a greeting card. The fold also enables it to stand upright, which is a pretty cool feature if you’re trying to make someone feel special or appreciated. 

    You can use the same process (with bigger cookie cutters) to make a larger version, though I’d hesitate to call it a note holder at that size. It’s more like a greeting card. 

    If you’re planning a promotional giveaway or promotional gift basket, I highly recommend mixing in a DIY gift, such as this one, to further impress your target. Promotional gifts are very common in the realm of business, but few individuals think about adding a personal touch to a promo. In this case, you can use the note holder as a way to deliver a fun, appreciative note, or you might just use it to identify the recipient. I’m sure there are more interesting ways to mix these into your promos; you’re only limited by your creativity.

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Marketing in the Sun: Promotional Giveaways for Summer Events and Outdoor Venues


    Our partner is a promotional products supplier/retailer, and the company’s graphic artists love to show off their finished work. This is just another design of the many, many designs they finalize on a daily basis.

    Brands attending events at outdoor venues can really benefit from a smart promotional giveaway campaign, so I highly recommend stocking up on a variety of outdoor giveaways, such as sun glasses, hand sanitizer and SPF-15 chap stick.

    Low-cost giveaways like this often have a big impact at concerts, music festivals, hotels, beach parties, raves and outdoor bars. People tend to be in a good mood - probably a not-so-sober mood - so the products often have a strong emotional impact despite the fact they’re rather low-end products. That’s because a lot of people forget to bring along these basic items, so they really appreciate it when somebody, such as your company, solves this problem for them. Your brand can really benefit from that positive and memorable association.

    Other effective ideas include: water bottles, color-changing cupstumblers and tote bags. AnyPromo is also running a sale on custom beach balls this month, so you can choose from an assortment of outdoor promotional items that can really boost your promotional efforts. By the way, the products in the above picture are brand-spankin’ new, so they’re not on the website yet. Call 1-877-368-5678 to order

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Build Your Own Promotional Giveaway: #DIY Food-Shaped Envelopes


    If you’re a fan of #DIY crafts for party favors and trade show giveaways, you should consider adding a personal touch to your event with homemade envelopes in the shape of a related object. This guide is specifically for dumpling-shaped envelopes, but with a little creativity, you can adjust the instructions to create other shapes, such as tacos or muffins.

    Themed envelopes can carry anything, including an invite to a lunch pitch or a thanks note coupled with a restaurant gift card. In this case, Erin Jang of The Indigo Bunting put together a set of custom invitations for a friend’s baby shower. The invitations take the shape of a dumpling, and this is how she did it (along with our advice on customizing the project for other shapes/themes).

Step 0 - Gather Your Materials

The envelope is made of three layers: an inner layer made of thick paper, a transparent mid layer made of tissue paper, and a touch-friendly outer layer made of cloth. You will also need scissors, a stapler and either a printer or coloring materials, such as markers.


Step 1 - Design, Print and Cut

+ Write or print the invite details on a small piece of paper. Put it to the side. We’ll use it again in step two.

+ Cut a circle-ish shape from dark paper, and fold it in half (like a taco). You can write the first part of your message on the outside of this inner layer. To maximize interest, use a general statement that doesn’t give too much away, such as “let’s have lunch” The mid-layer of the envelope takes the shape of the dumpling itself, though it’s very flat and transparent. 

+ To customize this guide for other shapes, you can cut these inner layers in any shape that fits your theme. You can also adjust the colors to fit your desired shape. For example, if you’re building an apple, use a white circle made from construction paper for the inner layer. Use red tissue paper for the mid layer.


Step 2 - Assemble the Inserts

+ Place the invite details into the inner layer of the envelope, and cover the inner layer of the envelope with the middle white layer.


Step 3 - Close the Envelope

+ If you want to maximize the “wow” factor, give your envelope some depth. In this case, Jang inserted candy  between the mid layer and the outer layer.

+ Finally, close the outer layer of the envelope with staples. For custom shapes, a different closing mechanism, such as glue or stitches, may be more appropriate. For example, staples could work for muffin-shaped envelopes since the dumplings look a bit like muffin tops. You’d just add the muffin bottom. On the other hand, tacos would require glue and an additional ornament that sticks out of the top, such as spiky green paper, to represent lettuce.

+ If you can spare a few more minutes, check out the whole guide for more, including an idea for a book of comments submitted by the party attendants. Jang used this idea to collect wishes from invitees, but in a business context, you can use a similar idea to collect comments from clients or suggestions from partners. 

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