Trade Show Party

Trade Show Party

Trade shows. Awesome right? They can be. They can also be a high-cost risk with an uncertain return, particularly if you are new to shows or looking at entering in to a show you have never done before. We had this dilemma when I was the CMO at Grunt Style in 2016. We had been successful at a few trade shows but were looking at one of the biggest shows there is that was in perfect alignment with the fan base, Shot Show in Las Vegas. We wanted to step up to the big leagues but did not yet have the big league budget to buy a space in the show. Was there a solution? You bet. Instead of taking big money to buy a space, we took less money and threw a successful trade show party.

Those of you who have been to trade shows either as a buyer, or an exhibitor know what they are like. They are very busy and very exhausting. You can either be wildly successful, or you can be standing in your booth all day as you try to entice people to come talk to you while they pretend not to be able to hear you or their eyes no longer function, and they can only look straight ahead.  You are competing against all the other booths there and if you are new to the show, you are competing against long established relationships where buyers are going to shows to meet with their already established accounts. The floor at a trade show is a tough place to try to make back your investment in booth space. What happens at the end of the day for the shows? People are going out to party. Why else are they having shows in places like Las Vegas? People are looking to be entertained. The day time on the floor is the time they have to get through to get to the night where the memories are made. At Grunt Style we took advantage of this and threw our first Shot Show party in 2017, The Black Out Party.

Our VP of Events, who is now a partner here at Imagn Events, created a unique experience that we were able to turn in to real business for Grunt Style. The event was invite only and quickly generated buzz around the show. Our intention was to invite the people that we wanted to do business with. We knew that trying to meet with those people during the day on the incredibly busy and hectic Shot Show floor would be difficult at best. Instead we created a party at Caesar’s Palace in the suite they filmed the movie The Hangover and invited those people we wanted to meet. Want to know what we found? People don’t turn down party invites in Las Vegas. The Black Out Party in 2017 was wildly successful. We came away with more business and new relationships from the party than we believe we ever could have with a booth on a very crowded floor.

Exclusive invitation to Grunt Style's Blackout Party at the 2017 Shot Show in Las Vegas

Exclusive invitation to Grunt Style's Blackout Party at the 2017 Shot Show in Las Vegas

Not only did we create new business for Grunt Style and new relationships from The Black Out Party, we generated new buzz about our company and increased awareness of the brand in circles expanding out of the 2nd Amendment and veteran crowd. We saw ancillary benefits that extended far beyond what we would have seen from a booth. Fast forward to January of 2018 for our 2nd year of the party and we could not keep it straight how many people wanted to come to this party. Our VP again created a special invite only event and upgraded the invites to personalized video players with recorded invites from the CEO inviting them to experience an evening of old Las Vegas. Year two of the party was one of the hottest tickets in town bringing in people from the NFL, UFC, the Golden Knights, the shooting community, and the veteran community.

In just two events, something special had been created that was a benefit to the business. We were able to be part of Shot Show without breaking the bank while at the same time creating memorable experiences that tied people much more closely to the brand. Remember when I said last week in Why Should Ecommerce Brands Throw Events, that people are looking for experiences and not things. People will remember you and your brand and throwing a party brings them to you giving you the chance to shine. If you could throw a party and guarantee that the top 20 people you wanted to meet at any show would be at your party, would it be worth doing? The answer is you bet.