Case study: How caricatures helped a little-known program create long term relationships with prospective buyers

Luanna DeMay – a Program Manager at Purdue University – had a unique branding challenge. At her upcoming trade show, very few attendees were familiar with Purdue’s MS/MBA program in agriculture. “We’re an odd duck in that our umbrella brand is Purdue University, which has great brand recognition. But most people in the agricultural education industry aren’t aware that Purdue has an MS/MBA program in this field.”

Without strong brand recognition it’s a challenge to attract students, afford good faculty and keep the program up-to-date. Luanna’s goal was clear; she had to increase brand awareness and educate potential students. “It was important to get as many people clued into my program as I could.”

3 things you are probably wasting money on

Giveaways are thought of as a “must have” at trade shows: USB drives, hats, t-shirts, iPhone cases, lip balm, etc. Yet the vast majority of businesses spend money on these items without any measurable return. Luanna tried common giveaways at previous shows, included raffling off special chairs with the Purdue logo on them, “we didn’t get any leads from the chairs, which was a shame because they were very expensive.“

Luanna had experience on the other side of giveaways as well…

“I once picked up these little teddy bears from a booth when I attended a different show. My grandkids loved them, but if you ask me what company they came from, I wouldn’t know. People spend $5 to $10 apiece on these giveaways, and it either ends up with a kid or in the hotel wastebasket.”

The right giveaway is one that will cement your brand in your prospect’s mind. It should be memorable, useful, or a high quality product someone will keep for a long time. Unfortunately this usually means expensive or bulky, and you run the risk of running out halfway through the show. For example:

  • 1 GB Branded USB drive: $400 to $800 for 100
  • High-quality T Shirts: $600 to $900 for 100
  • Laptop bag: $800+ for 100

Compare these costs to five hours of our regular caricature package: 100 people drawn for $750. Not only will prospects hang onto this branded keepsake for a long time, but it’s a buzz creator that will keep your booth the center of attention – a win-win.

1 giveaway that gets amazing results

When we contacted Luanna about drawing caricatures at her booth – the decision turned out to be a no-brainer “It didn’t take much thought for me to see the value of giving prospects a picture of themselves with our program logo they would surely hang in their office or at home.”

On the day of the show our artist set up her mobile caricature easel and got to work. We printed the Purdue Agriculture Program logo on each sheet of paper so the brand was unmistakable.

The result? A big crowd of high quality leads.

“Our artist did a great job spreading the brand because everyone and their brother wanted a caricature. While they were there watching the, they were a captive audience with me. I could chatter away and a lot of these people were in the market for a graduate program! The beauty is everyone probably stuck it on their wall, and everyone that walk into their office will comment on it. And at the bottom is my brand!”

How can a conference freebie turn into a long term relationship builder?

Luanna’s long-term goal is enrolling students in the program “My recruitment window can be five years, so we’re in it for the long haul. Prospects may remember me but not who I’m with and you helped cement that. If they want to talk about the grad school they can find me because of the caricature.”

In just a few hours we provided a popular attraction, helped Luanna connect with her target audience and gave prospects a constant reminder of her brand;“It was a great investment! It created a buzz around our booth and it was just a whole lot of fun!”

Happy Customers

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