How do you make your trade show look like something so special that every businessman along the Wasatch Front will want to attend?
That problem has faced officials in the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce for the past two years since they expanded their relatively unknown four-hour business-to-business expo into a 2 1/2-day event that starts Wednesday, Feb. 20, and ends Friday, Feb. 22, in the Salt Palace.With the donated help of Harris & Love Advertising Agency, chamber officials believe the publicity about their Business to Business Expo '91 and last year's extravaganza is unlike that of any other trade, food or garden show.
Deborah Bayle, chamber vice president, said the theme and publicity on the expo are designed to show people the business community isn't as conservative as many people believe and that an expo can be fun and entertaining.
Last year, said Margaret Hunt, chairwoman of both events, said the theme centered on the expo's being an explosive event, so a paper stick of "dynamite" was sent to all chamber members encouraging them to attend the expo. They also passed out hundreds of buttons that said "Expo Yourself," which brought more than one comment, to be sure.
More than 10,000 people responded.
In their quest to exceed last year's attendance, Bayle and Hunt settled on a comic book theme for the expo advertising, trying to take advantage of a resurgence in interest in comic books and the recent movies about comic book characters.
Newspaper ads, bus cards, television ads, invitations, the special expo edition of the chamber's Business Focus newsletter and the brochure of scheduled events and booths location all contain pictures of comic characters talking about attending the expo. "We wanted to make certain the advertising is easily identifiable, has a light and humorous touch and there is no other campaign like it," said Hunt.
Bayle and Hunt believe every businessperson along the Wasatch Front should attend the free expo to make contacts with other businesspeople, all of whom are potential contacts.
To show the value of attending the expo, Bayle said, at last year's event the new owners of Utah-Idaho Supply attended and visited the Map World Co. booth and learned the company was for sale. They attended a seminar on creative financing, discovered how to obtain some financing and bought Map World. This year, the couple has a booth at the expo under the name of Utah-Idaho Supply/Map World.
"That story just proves the value of attending the expo," said Hunt.
Hours for the expo are Feb. 20, 5-9 p.m.; Feb. 21, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Feb. 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Although entrance is free, there is a charge for the seminars, workshops, luncheons and breakfasts offered. More information can be obtained by calling the expo hotline at 328-5075.
The expo is sponsored by the chamber with the Deseret News, KSL Radio, Intermountain Health Care and First Security Bank of Utah.