As I look around the exhibitors area at the FL/GA Lutheran Educators conference, almost every exhibitor has a bowl of candy on their table, usually peppermints, chocolate kisses, peanut butter cups, or some assortment. The theory is that people will see the candy, stop at the exhibit to take a piece, and then learn about whatever the exhibitor does. But how effective is that when everyone is doing the same thing?
At every conference we go to as exhibitors we give away popcorn. It costs a little more. It’s more work – we’ve got to bring a small microwave oven and pop bags and bags of the stuff throughout the day. But it’s worth it because…
- It’s unique. I’ve never seen any other exhibitor give away popcorn.
- It’s a draw. People can smell it all over the exhibit hall and come looking for it.
- It’s a conversation starter. I see people snag a piece of candy from other exhibitors without stopping or even making eye contact with the exhibitor. But when people stop by our exhibit they often say something like, “Hey, I thought I smelled popcorn somewhere.” Some will ask if they can have some. Lots of different things, but they usually say something which invites us to engage them in a conversation.
- It’s memorable. People remember OurChurch.Com as the popcorn guys. It’s a part of our branding.
- It draws people back. Some people come back 3 or 4 times during the conference for more popcorn, which is fine with us.
What are you doing to stand out from everyone else?
If you’re response is, “Our [product] is what makes us stand out…” (For churches insert worship service, community, or something else. For schools insert teachers, education, or whatever fits.) …it’s great that your product/service stands out, but the problem with that is people have to experience your church/school/product/service first.
What are you doing that nobody else is doing to stand out from all of the millions of other things screaming “Try me!” at people?
What’s your popcorn?