What I’ve Learned While Giving Away Cold, Hard Cash

“It would be more effective to just hand out cash than to <insert marketing tactic here>.” Every marketer has made the same comment, so we decided it was time to try.

This year at Marketo Summit, we decided give away cash.  There’s a prize wheel involved but essentially every “qualified” person stopping by our booth has a chance to win anywhere from a buck to a hundred bucks.  Don’t want to spend time talking with sales to be “qualified?” No problem—we gave people the option to record a 15 second video with us for an equal chance to win.

7 things I learned from giving out cash:What I’ve Learned While Giving Away Cold, Hard Cash

  1. Let’s talk about money! In more than a decade of going to trade shows, I’ve never seen a prize draw people to the booth like cash does. Cash definitely equals more people.
  2. The value of swag – Everyone wanted a chance to win cash. But, what surprised me was that everyone that was spinning for cash also wanted a chance to spin for ReadyTalk swag. That’s swag with value.
  3. Hand sanitizer is not wanted. Think about a tradeshow: you’re shaking hands, touching handrails, using other people’s pens. Germs. Germs. Germs. I thought hand sanitizer would be a popular swag item. I was wrong.
  4. Take a selfie in a t-shirt. While hand sanitizer wasn’t in demand, selfie sticks and ReadyTalk t-shirts were popular items. But, in most cases people still wanted cash.
  5. Tipping point. If a cash spin resulted in a payout of $1, $5 or $10, the chances were really good that the person would be grateful but disappointed. $20 and higher seemed to be the tipping point where people stopped being sad that they didn’t win more and just started being grateful.
  6. More logistics. Tradeshows and events require a lot of planning by nature but adding in the element of cash prizes makes it even harder. We had to do trips to the bank, figure out how to secure the money in the booth (a slash-proof fanny pack), and determine qualification criteria.
  7. People hate video. Let me clarify, people hate being on video. That said, if you give them a chance to win $100 in cash, they warm up to the idea but there are still people who just won’t do it.

We won’t know for a few months how well this approach paid off, but we’ve had great booth traffic and energy. Cash may turn out to be the best way to drive booth traffic!

What’s working to drive traffic to your tradeshow booths?

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Bo Bandy

Bo Bandy

In her next life, Bo will be a race car driver. Until then, she’ll continue to enjoy the challenges, rewards and pace of developing, implementing and managing communications and marketing programs. Driven, passionate and results-oriented, Bo manages ReadyTalk’s marketing and communications team which is responsible for “all the things” including demand generation, content marketing, PR and customer advocacy. Most importantly the team drives revenue and fuels the growth of the organization. Prior to ReadyTalk, Bo managed external communications activities including media relations, marketing promotions, social media strategy and execution, special events, marketing collateral and web activities for both B2B and B2C companies including technology startups, video game giants and healthcare non-profits. Follow her on Twitter, @bo_knows_."

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