Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tradeshow Done Right (SXSW 2007)

What if you threw a party and nobody came?

What if you threw a tradeshow booth and nobody remembered what was on your booth graphic? Even worse, what if your brochures ended up as part of a large pile of sales collateral, likely not be be read? What if the T-shirts you're giving away drew more people who wanted T-shirts than wanted what you sell?

The folks at Lucky Oliver don't have to worry about that. They do tradeshows right for an online business.

I approached and was asked "do you work with pictures." Well, I do. But I didn't want a pitch from ANOTHER photo site. "Do you blog?" Well, I try. But I was engaged. I was given a coaster (don't know why it was a coaster) with a code for three free pictures on the Lucky Oliver site. Read on and I'll give you the code. In return, I took a moment to see how effective their search was.

On the way out, I had to ask "how do I get a T-shirt?"

"Blog about us" was the answer. Now we're starting to see some genius. OK. I blog about marketing stuff. Pictures are used in marketing. I'll do it. (disclosure: I was paid one T-shirt to write this blog).

How is this stuff smart?

1. They offered something that had value (not just a sales brochure) so that it wouldn't get tossed in the pile and forgotten.

2. They offered something that wasn't valuable only to my kids (pens, flashlights, stressballs, figures). I'll pass this coaster (??) on to my designers for the free pics.

3. They are getting something very valuable in exchange for a $15 T-shirt: blog posts, incoming links, viral word-of-mouth

I twittered my network about the offer for bloggers. I led two fellow bloggers to their booth when they saw me carrying around my t-shirt.

Is this cost-effective? Well, Lucky Oliver spent about $17,000 on their SXSW booth program. They had given away about 100 shirts.

  • That means that they signed up 100 new accounts on the spot (that was a requirement of the deal) each of which was given 4 tokens.
  • They will get 50-75 posts with incoming links to their site. Many of these will use Lucky Oliver photos in their posts (like me).
  • Thousands will read the posts.
  • They will sign up hundreds more through the promo code on their coasters.

I'm guessing they'll get 200-300 new accounts at a cost of $57 to $85 each. If their average lifetime revenue per customer exeeds $85, they have won... and I suspect that their average is significantly higher than that.

How much would they pay per new account if they had simply put up a booth and collected business cards? Thousands each.

Nice job.


  1. I forgot to give you the code for three free credits when you sign up with Lucky Oliver: BEER GOOGLES

  2. Um... that's BEER GOGGLES.

  3. I liked their strategy as well. And the shirts are cool! I'll be blogging about their site next week. I spent over an hour poking through their site so I could review it. And without the t-shirt, I never would have bothered. I think they hit the right balance with their giveaways.


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