PHOTOs: Exposures Ltd., Derse Inc.
English poet John Donne wrote that no man is an island. But sometimes, face-to-face marketers — who often work in departments of one — feel a little like Tom Hanks in the movie "Cast Away," alone and adrift in a sea of change. That's why Milwaukee-based Derse Inc. reached out to exhibit managers at the 2014 Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association Annual Meeting via a utilitarian exhibit with a message-in-a-bottle theme.
The face-to-face marketing firm's Sincerely Yours campaign began with a handwritten letter to attendees before the show, acknowledging that a challenging environment was upon the industry and inviting recipients to visit the booth for a gift and a conversation about the future. At the show, Derse bedecked the back wall of its 10-by-20-foot display with 200 small hanging bottles bearing tags labeled with the names of all registered attendees. Stuffed inside each bottle was a note reminding show goers that they could achieve anything they set their minds to and encouraging them to jot down a few goals on the paper. Staffers collected the notes with the promise of sending them back as a letter of encouragement — and a reminder of their booth visit — months down the road.
Rows of bottles containing personalized notes to attendees became the centerpiece of this self-promoting display for Derse Inc. Their curiosity
piqued, show goers were endeared to the face-to-face marketing company when they learned one of the hanging vessels was specifically addressed to them.
The exhibit was designed to be a blank canvas for such activity-based décor, said Derse senior creative writer Eric Lewin. To that end, it featured little more than an 8-foot-long back wall coated with chalkboard paint and inscribed with an inspirational quote and a wooden table at which attendees could write out their goals. Exhibit Design Awards judges praised the approach as subtle and effective. "I love the way an activity — the glass bottles — became the central design element," one judge said.
Besides wowing the judges, the personalized approach helped Derse blow away its goals for engagement with visitors, setting the firm up for smooth sailing ahead. E