I was at a large trade show in New York this past weekend, and one tiny company used a very creative marketing tactic that is worth sharing. It can apply to any networking event, not just trade shows.
They gave out pins/buttons with numbers on them to anyone they met. The pins included the company logo and slogan, along with a 4-digit number that matched exactly one other pin. If the owner of the pin found someone else at the trade show with the exact same number, both people received a prize (in this case $100, but you can make up any prize you want).
The result was fascinating, because a small sub-community formed of people looking for each other’s pins, talking to one another, and definitely remembering the name of the sponsoring company — who was previously a no-name. Soon people were asking for the booth number of this company, so that they could participate too. At a trade show with 20,000 attendees, this company generated huge awareness with a relatively small investment, and certainly did better than companies handing out flyers or waiting for people to stop by.
At a Chamber of Commerce or association meeting, you could set off a similar game, although with a smaller prize due to the smaller meeting size.
Even if you don’t like this particular idea, it shows how you can get pretty creative to generate more awareness of your firm.