It is trade show season for the Cannabis world. The biggest trade shows are approaching including the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition in New York at the end of May or the MJBizCon Expo in June. The cannabis industry is booming, everyday new laws are passed that make it more accessible, and federal legalization seems to be on the not so distant horizon. According to Grand View Research, the legal Marijuana market is expected to reach a value of 146.4 billion by 2025. It is no wonder that everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie now so that they can be a part of such an amazing growth trajectory.
Of course, as with all large industries, there are now lots of trade shows and conferences that cannabis entrepreneurs can attend. These cannabis trade shows are everywhere now, and it is not hard to find one close to home wherever you may live. Attending a trade show is a must do for anyone who anticipates setting up their own cannabis business. They are opportunities to learn about the industry, network, collaborate with other businesses, get exposure, and get the latest and greatest industry technology. Yet, when you do attend you may feel a little overwhelmed. There are so many developed and unique cannabis businesses. It can be hard to make your business stand out. So, before you head out to your next cannabis trade show, check out these five tips for standing out, and making yourself a business that everyone is clamoring to collaborate with.
Make Your Display Unforgettable
Your display is going to be the first introduction to your brand that anyone sees. Your display is not the place where you want to cut back on the budget. A show stopping display is going to have everyone gravitating to your booth. Eye catching banners and posters are always going to be useful, but you have to remember that at a cannabis trade show, most likely everyone is going to have an eye-popping banner and poster. So to stand out, avoid simply including a poster with marijuana leaves and your brand name. You are at a cannabis trade show; you don’t need to show the attendees that your company is all about marijuana. Instead consider a design that represents what makes your business unique. If you are a grower, maybe include natural elements like a grass wall, or real plants. Consider nature images, fake wood paneling and natural colors. If you are a cannabis technology company, you might want to include more bold futuristic images, and multicolored LED lights. Not everyone can spend big bucks, and you don’t have to build an entire structure to be noticed, but make sure you don’t go with the classic marijuana graphics, or boring fonts. Think about what you are selling, and design accordingly.
Customizable Tech Giveaways
Everyone at a trade show is going to be giving away some sort of free swag. Most likely it is going to be branded pens, markers, bags, and magnets/pins. If you want to stand out you need your promotional items to be more useful, and different from the norm. You want people to walk away from your booth excited about what they were able to grab, so excited that word gets around about your booths promotional items and people start showing up to see what you’ve got.
A great alternative to the more overdone promotional items is using customizable technology. For instance, a custom USB drive could be made into any shape or color, and can have your brand name put on the front. These are great giveaways because they are actually useful, as well as really neat looking. Another great tech item is a custom phone charger. Mobile chargers are a fantastic promotional item because they are a necessity, especially ones that are portable.
A custom phone charger is a product that will actually get people excited. People may even use them during the conference to keep their phones charged. Giving people branded tech that they will actually utilize means that not only will they be more excited to head over and check out your booth, but they will also be reminded of your brand for months to come every time they use the product you gave them. For instance, if you give away printed earbuds, and then someone may even see your brand everyday when they want to listen to music. We already know that promotional products are effective, according to the Promotional Products Association; they are the number 1 most effective form of advertising to prompt action across all generations. Imagine then, how effective technology related promotional products would be for an industry as technologically focused as cannabis.
The best way to stand out is always to get creative. At a recent trade show, Snapchat went all out and brought in a giant Snapchat themed Ferris wheel. Talk about attention grabbing. Companies have used all sorts of creative tactics to bring people flooding over to their booth, everything from live penguins to magicians. Virtual reality games have also become a popular technique. The more creative your idea, the more unforgettable your booth, and your brand will become.
Even if you don’t have the money to spend on a large attraction, you can still use your creative chops to engage the audience. Consider thinking of some cannabis themed games that people who stop by can quickly play. This can be as simple as cannabis trivia questions, or setting up a prize wheel. You can give away some more expensive prizes to the big winners. The other benefit of getting really creative with your booth is that the more interesting it is, the more likely people will take pictures and share them on social media. This means that not only did you stand out at the trade show, but also you got some great organic advertising for your company.
Know Your Target
When you go to a trade show, you always want to go with a plan in mind. This means that you should talk with your team ahead of time about what your goal is, and who you want to prompt to act. Your strategy will be slightly different depending on these factors. For instance, if your goal is to establish a partnership with another brand, then you are going to want to research the brands you are considering, and make you presentation about what you could offer in a partnership. If you are simply going to learn more about the industry, you may decide to spend less money this year on your booth, and spend more time exploring the conference. If you want to attract investors and marketing agencies, then you will want to research what investors think is hot, and put as much effort into making your booth a frontrunner as possible.
The most important thing to remember is that no matter what your goal is you want to come off as established, professional, and knowledgeable. This also means that you absolutely do not want to forget your business cards, you can check out these smart business cards if you really want to stand out. You success at a cannabis trade show is all about how well you know the audience you are trying to reach, because the most strategic booth is the one that’ll catch the big fish.