SES New York is still fresh in my mind, and the most ironic part of it for me was the trade show. Hundreds on online companies – mostly online marketing companies crowding the trade show floor were there using the same old out-dated marketing methods they were trying to convince their potential customers to abandon.
Bodacious “Booth Babes” were in abundance trying to make eye contact with whoever would happen to walk by. Gigantic modern trade show booths were carefully laid out to attract the eye of the thousands of passer-bys. So many companies trying to sell their services or products to everyone that passed through, including their own competitors (not really targeted eh?).
Tag lines or company names were prominently displayed on the booths – but for the most part if you wanted to know what those companies specifically do, you had to ask someone (enter the Booth Babes).
All of this trade show experience can be easily symbolized into one simple object: THE FREE PEN. It’s the mainstay of the offline marketing world, and it along with many other Freebies is truly the relic of a different analog era. Seeing the irony of all of this, I made it my mission to grab as many pens as I possibly could in the short time I had between sessions. I was also tired of everyone stealing my pens off of my desk and wanted to have a good reserve on hand…
In my younger more single days, I probably would have done something like take pictures of Booth Babes and had some sort of contest to vote on hottest SES NY Booth Babe – Shoemoney recently beat me to the punch. I instead opted to pick the best pen of SES NY. The criterion for selection of best 2007 SES NY pen is really just which one I’m using most and feels good in my hand (would have been the same criterion for Booth Babes too). This year’s winner is iCrossing. In the spirit of offline marketing I can’t give them a link – its an offline marketing award…
Now the real question, outside of my awarding them this prestigious honor, what did all these companies get from the thousands of pens that they gave away on the tradeshow floor? I don’t really know that answer.
Our firm is all about the online lead. It’s what we preach to our clients and it’s what we try to stick to ourselves. So far we don’t have any custom pens, back-scratchers, yard sticks or refrigerator magnets. We don’t even have any full-color paper brochures. Using paper almost seems primitive for online marketing. We won’t have a gigantic booth with giant fake rock facades and pans of gold to bring people in anytime in the near future. We are an online marketing company and our marketing efforts so far consist of online marketing and personal networking. There’s nothing ironic about that and its working well for us.