Last week we attended the International Roofers Expo in Dallas, TX with our client DaVinci Roofscapes and we recognized roofers have a unique currency. Now this is not the first time we have attended this show. We participated in the show last year in New Orleans and it was apparent to us then. This year we did more than just recognize the game, we went all in.
Thousands of Roofers Under One Roof
The International Roofers Expo (IRE) is the national trade show for roofers, roofing firms, roofing suppliers, and roofing manufacturers. Roofers travels from a 300-mile radius and more to see firsthand products, demonstrations, and exhibits. Suppliers like SRS Distribution, Beacon, and ABC Supply entertain their customers on the show floor, in large outdoor tents, and at special venues. SRS hosted an event featuring country music headliners Eric Church and Darius Rucker.
We have been a part of this same experience at other trade shows like the International Builders Show and the AIA Convention and Expo. What makes IRE and the roofers attending the show so different, is roofers have a unique currency – hats. Roofers visit all the trade show booths and collect hats from all the exhibitors. The exhibitors play up on this currency in their booths by showcasing the hats as a gift to the attendees.
A Rare New Idea
We have been attending and participating in trade shows the better part of thirty years. It is unusual to find new promotional ideas at a show. Hover, a roofers software company, introduced a rare new idea at IRE this year with custom hats created on-site. This is a brilliant idea. Hover created five different badges of the company logo with hot melt glue on the back. The visitors select a badge and one of three different hat colors to create a custom hat while they wait. During the three minutes it takes to customize the hat, the Hover person sparks a conversation with the guest and gains insights they may not acquire simply by handing them a hat. We tip our hats to the person who came up with this idea.
Raising the Bar
DaVinci Roofscapes has very popular hats with the builders. A DaVinci hat was a valuable property both this year and last. DaVinci decided to raise the bar this year and add custom tee shirts to the giveaway. The hats were available to everyone visiting the booth. The tee shirts were a reward for talking with a sales rep. The response was terrific. The booth was always full of roofers learning about the new Province Slate and other shake and slate products. At the end of day one, the team reported acquiring more leads than during the entire show the previous year. This is a key performance indicator for the team, so the exhibit, the team, and the hats and tees were deemed a success.
Wait! There is More
To say the discovery of the power of influence that trade show gifts possess is intoxicating may be an understatement. Again, DaVinci Roofscapes decided to add a third element to the trade show in Texas in support of the introduction of the supercharged DaVinci Masterpiece Contractors program (DMCP). The DMCP is a hardy sales and marketing portal filled with incredible business support programs and materials for the roofers that are dedicated to DaVinci. In recognition of the DMCP members, DaVinci created beautiful custom belt buckles as gifts of recognition and appreciation. Considering most attendees to this show are from Texas and the big belt buckles are a part of the culture, this was a home run.
It is a Gift
Advertising specialties (aka gifts, swag, trash and trinkets) has a soft spot in our hearts. Shawn Draper, our founder, started his career working for an ad specialty manufacturer designing and selling laser engraved products. There is a playfulness about using them and a pridefulness in sharing your company logo with others. The building trades love embracing specific brands in certain categories like power tools and pickup trucks. We have often said marketing is the department of fun stuff. For us, fun includes figuring out positioning, messaging, and, yes, designing ad specialties items like the DaVinci tee shirts.
Knowing that hats and tee shirts have a special place in the hearts and minds of roofers, what is the new currency for your customers? Let us know if you would like us to join you in figuring it out and making it your own.