By Andrew Neitlich

A creative marketing tactic to generate awareness of your firm

By Andrew Neitlich

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.

  • Sgt. Baboon

    Very creative indeed. I may have to add this to my back of tricks.

  • It is a very creative marketing method (I wonder how much $$$ they paid out)

    This is real thinking outside the square.

  • An excellent novelty concept. However, it will be efficient only until everyone stats doing it.

  • Bob

    I went to a seminar once and they handed out Playing Cards and the idea was to find the person with a similar suit (or something)… I got really annoyed by how slow everybody was at “networking” to find another person with the same card so I got on stage, got the microphone and said, in my best Angus Deyton voice, “I’m looking for the Ace of Diamonds, Ace of Diamonds. Thankyou” — everybody remembered me as the kid who broke the rules, thought of the box. I don’t think anybody remembered the company.

  • Very nice idea indeed.

  • Yeah, I like that idea a lot :)

  • Ally Moll www.allymoll.com

    AWESOME idea and I will definately be using it at an upcoming Chamber meeting here. My fiance’ happens to do custom buttons so I can get this done pretty cheaply as well. Thanks for the great idea :)

  • Great concept! Of course, now everyone will be using it. ;)

    Bob — I suspect the reasons that company’s networking idea didn’t work so well was because they were using playing cards, rather than something with their logo and name on it. Plus, I think buttons are a great idea, as it is visible, unlike a card or something you would hold in your hand.

    I’d say a sticker would be much more affordable than a pin-back button though…

  • Ravedesigns

    Great tip there Andrew. This one’s getting filed for future reference immediately!


  • Yes! These little ingenious step dose go a long way in promoting and creating a top of mind recall effect.

    I woudln’t be surprised to see most of the firms using these little yet effective promotional activities one time or the other.

  • DONMAC17

    Damned good idea. I saw it work at the Javits Center back in 1975. Hey! Some ideas never die out.

  • Great idea! I even like the idea of buttons – you can get a kit to make your own at Staples or similar stores (or online). I’ve got a business expo coming up in a few months I might just use this at.

  • Romain

    Well, too bad you couldn’t remember (or wouldn’t give) the name of the company. Due credits seems like something they totally deserve.

  • I think i shd try this… kool indeed.

  • VBP OutSourcing

    This is a really great idea. I love it! We have a tradeshow coming up and I will be implementing this idea for sure!

    Leon Williams

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