About Stephanie Meacham

Stephanie Meacham is an advocate of smart marketing and having fun. Combining the two is even better! Helping large and small businesses find affordable and clever uses for their inflatables is one of her passions. Because inflatables offer the complete package (a marketing "holy grail" if you will), they have been repeatedly proven to achieving exceptional results for those who use them.

10 Tips for Standing Out in a Crowd with Inflatables

10 Tips for Becoming the Center of Attention at Any Event

Custom inflatables truly give you enormous flexibility during marketing events. Because they can actually work in different capacities or simply stand steadfast and attract attention, the possibilities in design and function are practically limitless. Here are 10 clever ways these giant marketing balloons make you the center of attention.

Oakland County Fair Custom Inflatable ArchTip #1 – Undergo a Transformation – Turn a local park into a playground. It’s easy with inflatables. From inflatable archways that draw attention and help you organize the attendees to inflatable batting cages and more. Leave room for customizable banners and earn additional revenue through sponsorships.

Tip #2 – Turn Heavyweights into Lightweights – When you hit a logistical brick wall with trying to display something of great size or weight, don’t give up. The answer is simple: create custom inflatable replicas that look just like the real things, but weigh significantly less and are much easier to ship from location to location.

Tip #3 – Encourage Graffiti – Talk about consumer interaction. Inviting guests to write messages on your inflatable product opens the door to some great feedback. All it takes is a custom inflatable product replica and a few paint pens to pull it off.

Tip #4 – Become a Corporate Role Model – With so many worthy causes to choose from, it should be easy to pick one that holds special significance for your organization. Tie into their events and use inflatable arches to spread the word throughout your community.

Tip #5 – Take It to New Heights – Put your mascot on the rooftop of the convention center, retail location or restaurant. Sure, it’s a classic marketing technique, but one that has never lost its effectiveness. Be sure to keep your idea fresh, however. We’ve all seen more than our fair share of gorillas.

L2129-George Bush InflatableTip #6 – Create a Celebrity Lookalike – Create a caricature of a famous animal, celebrity or politician and watch the cameras come out. Fun, exciting and a super way to encourage photographs.

Tip #7 – Throw Your Mascot a Birthday Party – What a wonderful way to celebrate. Mascots create such a great, emotional connection with customers, so it’s only natural they’d want to celebrate special occasions with them.

Tip #8 – Host a Benefits Party – Benefits are rarely a popular subject with employees. Often difficult to understand (especially insurance), workers can walk away unsure of what’s available to them or which choices would be best for their circumstances. Using custom inflatables to communicate company offerings and benefits is a wonderful way to ease anxiety and help employees make the right decisions.

Giant Inflatable Polk Audio Ultrafit 500 Headphone ReplicaTip #9 – Do the Unexpected – Tradeshow booths are typically grounded. It’s what’s expected when attendees walk through the exhibition hall. In a sea of eye-level displays, what could grab attention better than something no one expects? Hang your inflatable display from the ceiling above your booth. Not only will it get greater visibility, it will also encourage visitors to stroll over to your location to see what’s up.

Tip #10 – Break the Silence when You Break Ground – Looking for a refreshing twist to the old standard shovel pictures that typically are taken at groundbreaking events? Custom inflatables give journalists something worthy of their time. Interesting and entertaining, an inflatable product replica is the perfect addition to every press event.

Any way you slice it, custom inflatables are flexible enough to accommodate any type of event with a fresh approach. From tradeshows to internal corporate functions, you’ll find inflatables to be affordable, functional assets for all your event-marketing needs.

How does your brand stand out in a crowd of competitors? Share in the comments below or get in touch with the author on Twitter @Stephatto.

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3 Grand Opening Ideas that Set the Stage for Your Business

Applebee's Grand Opening Inflatable

Grand Opening Inflatable Ideas

When you’re planning a grand opening, you want customers and the media to visit your new location. But which types of grand opening ideas can draw the attention of both? We’ll show you!

While there are no firm statistics, professionals have noticed that the majority of businesses that close within the first two years did not have an official grand opening event. Those same pros continue to surmise that if you create a successful grand opening, you’ll set the pace for the weeks and months ahead. This has never been truer than it is today, as we see company after company closing its doors or downsizing. But what can be done for your particular business? Which types of grand opening ideas can draw the attention of customers as well as the media?

Bring in the Big Guns… or Cups or Tacos or Puppies or…

Here’s a phenomenal grand opening idea: Create a giant inflatable balloon of your product or logo and place it on the rooftop of your business. For instance, a Mexican restaurant could place a giant, inflatable taco on its roof with a banner that reads, “Now Open.” A local veterinary clinic could put a massive, inflatable puppy or kitten on their rooftop with signage declaring, “Grand Opening!”

Why giant inflatable balloons? Because they attract attention of all sorts. People busily going about their routines don’t even notice most of the advertising that comes their way. According to the Newspaper Association of America, Texas A&M University and the Journal of Concerned Scientists, Americans are exposed to well over 3,000 advertising messages each day from a variety of sources. Our senses are on overload and, therefore, most of the ads we view are blocked out.

However, place a 30-foot-tall giant taco up on the roof (higher than most of the other clutter like billboards, storefront banners, etc.) and drivers down your street suddenly wake up and smell the guacamole.

Gain Press Coverage

Your business can make good use of this second grand opening idea: Use inflatables to bring the press to your location. Inflatables are an exceptional way to garner media coverage. While yet another Mexican restaurant grand opening might not be considered news, a restaurant with a giant taco on its roof that drew in massive crowds is.

Likewise, while a photo of a restaurant storefront isn’t an overly exciting picture, that massive taco is definitely a photo opp just waiting to happen.

Bring the Crowd Inside

Unless you’re hosting a sidewalk sale, having a crowd of customers outside your door won’t do you much good. You have to bring the people inside your business. Grand opening idea number three is to use smaller, sealed inflatables as giveaways.

For example, sticking with the same Mexican restaurant theme, you might say the first 100 customers get a free, miniature, inflatable taco. You could create practically anything you want: inflatable mariachi singers, inflatable sombreros… the list is endless. Because everybody loves to get something free – and because they can be branded with your business name and address – sealed inflatables make the perfect giveaways.

As a business, you can’t neglect the importance of your grand opening. Use ideas that create a buzz in your community and that will attract the press. When you do it right, you’ll find that word-of-mouth advertising kicks in and the business just keeps on coming!

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3 Ways to Gain More Exposure with Event Marketing

Gain Exposure with Giant InflatablesAttract Attention at Marketing Events with Custom Inflatables

Fairs, conventions, trade shows… events such as these have many things in common, but one stands far and above the rest. They draw huge crowds. That means, in order to achieve success, you have to get noticed. Easier said than done with thousands of people milling about.

Since the golden rule of event marketing is to attract attention, you have to think outside the box (or booth). Here are 3 ways you can stand out from the crowd and ensure higher traffic levels for your exhibit.

#1 – If They Go Low, You Go High

The trick to thinking outside the event marketing box is to observe what others are doing, then do the opposite. For example, since most booths or exhibits will be no more than 10 feet high, take yours to the ceiling. That’s what Topcon did at the Las Vegas ConExpo Show. They used an inflatable, lighted globe anchored to the ceiling above their floor display. Talk about attention-getting! It could be seen by every person as soon as they entered the hall.

Valenzano Winery made a splash at an outdoor wine competition. All participants used standard, white tents, but Valenzano placed a 15-foot-tall, inflatable wine bottle at their entrance. Because it stood higher than the tents, it was the first thing most people saw as they entered the festival grounds. They actually had a line of people waiting to take their picture with the giant, inflatable wine bottle.

#2 – Make an Emotional Connection

If you can hit an emotional chord with event visitors, you’ll hold their attention and stay in their memory longer. This is an approach the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water took during Water Week. They commissioned an inflatable mascot, Thirstin’, especially for the event. Bigger than life, colorful and cute; Thirstin’ brought fun to the event and had crowds of people gathered round.

In the same fashion, Kinetik brought a giant gargoyle to their trade shows. Now that’s an attention getter! The shock of seeing this green monster stopped passers by in their tracks. His whimsical charm kept them at the booth allowing representatives the perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation with visitors. Pretty smart strategy!

#3 – Entertain

Add a game! Everybody loves to try their hand (or foot!) at baseball and soccer. Inflatable games give you the freedom of easy set up and tear down and also offers an exceptional draw. People will line up to play which means they are exposed to your message longer.

Entertaining can also be educational. Just ask Nature’s Sunshine. They employed an 80-foot-long inflatable colon at their national convention. Walking through the display, visitors learned about colon disease and how to prevent it and got information about Nature’s Sunshine products.

Finding ways to capture the interest of event attendees is absolutely key. With so many “ordinary” displays at events, a little creativity will be the secret sauce in your event marketing recipe. It will also be what wins you more traffic to your booth and more leads for your sales reps.

 

Creative Inflatable Marketing Ideas for Nonprofits

Inflatables for NonprofitsWe’re constantly contacted by event coordinators or education directors of nonprofit organizations for suggestions. While their causes vary from medical research to responsible drinking, the questions are pretty much the same.

Over the years, we’ve compiled quite a nice laundry list of guerilla marketing ideas (no, not as in “inflatable gorillas”) that we’re more than willing to share. Here are three questions we’re asked frequently. The answers offer some of our most creative marketing ideas specifically for nonprofits.

“How do we stretch our promotional budget?”

By purchasing marketing materials that can pull double (or triple) duty. For instance, cold-air inflatable replicas can be used on parade floats, mobile marketing events, press conferences and more.

“What’s the best way to engage people?”

Interactive displays call people to your exhibit and get them to actually participate in what you’re doing. Inflatables allow for some pretty creative ideas in this area including the ability to explain hard-to-understand or sensitive topics.

“How do you suggest we affordably brand our event?”

An inflatable archway used at a charity race (for example) can be decked out with paid sponsor banners as well as your logo. Selling banners helps reduce your overall cost.

From building an emotional bond with event attendees to attracting coveted press attention, inflatable marketing is hard to beat. Add to that the fact that it’s affordable and the costs can quickly be recouped, and you’ll easily see why these ideas are truly creative as well as effective.

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Landmark’s Best of 2012 Inflatables

Landmark's Top 10 Inflatables of 2012Trying to choose our favorite inflatables from an entire year’s worth of projects is a bit like picking a favorite child. But after hours of agonizing over every aspect of what made these balloons ultra-special, we were able to accomplish our task.

Pay attention to what the best of the best have to offer… it might just give you some brilliant ideas for your own marketing.


Heidelberg Engineering Lens – Now here’s a sight for sore eyes. The ingenious use of video projected onto inflatable lenses at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting wins Heidelberg honors in our top 10.


Alexander Wang Igloo – Kudos to Alexander Wang for the creative use of this inflatable igloo which slipped over their existing display for the holidays. Glitz, glimmer and curiosity brought customers inside.


Minnesota Historical Society Bull – Here’s a new one for the history books! Inflatable Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox characters officiated the grand opening of the new exhibit “Then Now Wow.” A true photo opp, for sure.


Zombie Pub Crawl – For its sheer remembrance qualities, “Phil” the inflatable zombie made our list. The Zombie Pub Crawl broke the world record for the largest gathering of zombies and broke our top 10 for serious originality.


Desi Santiago – Inflatable Dog Head – Participating in a project that would turn a hotel into a giant dog named “Gypsy” is a first for us. We liked the creativity of this inflatable sculpture and the fact that it’s sort of cute (in a “The Black Lords” kinda way).


Smashing Pumpkin’s Inflatable Sphere – This unique stage prop was suspended above the stage during every performance of the band’s Oceania tour. We liked it for three reasons: (1) It’s pretty darn cool! (2) It functioned to illuminate the stage. (3) It worked as a screen to show images that were projected throughout the concerts.


Sesame Street “The Count” Giant Inflatable Character – To help celebrate “The Count’s” favorite holiday (Halloween), we had the sheer pleasure of creating a 20-foot inflatable that stands at the Sesame Place theme park in Pennsylvania.


Inflatable Finn Dive-In Movie Screen for Atlantis – Movies by the pool? We loved the idea! Especially when it involved creating an inflatable movie screen shaped like a cartoon character’s head.


Jeffrey Einhorn “Deflatable” Head – While most of our clients buy inflatables to, well… inflate, artist Jeffrey Einhorn had another vision. His deflatable head wins a coveted spot in the top 10 for its interesting and unusual take on life.


Dos Equis Inflatable Beer Bottle – Tell the truth… if you saw a giant beer bottle in the grip of a squid’s arm floating in the river would you get in? The athletes, professional surfers and celebrities of the SEAPaddle race did and all to benefit two very worthy causes. Two thumbs (er… tentacles) up!


And there you have it. Looking to secure your spot in 2013’s top 10? We’re here to talk!

View images of our top inflatables from 2012 in our Facebook album

View images of our top inflatables from 2012 in our Facebook album

3 Product Launch Ideas Designed to Deliver Primo Results

Product Launch Ideas with Inflatable Product ReplicasInflatable Product Replicas Punch Up Your Product Launch

There are literally hundreds of thousands of new products launched every year. The enormous task of bringing these products to the attention of the public falls in the laps of business owners and/or marketing directors.

Your choices for promotion may seem obvious. There’s the traditional mass mailing. You could opt for a coupon insert in the local papers. Or you could break the mold and add one (or all) of these 3 product launch ideas to the mix and see primo results.

1. Point-of-Purchase, Inflatable Product Replicas

I know. Point-of-purchase displays are nothing new when it comes to product launches. But adding inflatable product replicas to each booth will certainly shake things up. Just think about the increased presence you’ll have when you add a 12-foot-tall bottle of mosquito repellant set up right beside the display where coupons are distributed. You’ll not only attract passersby that are within eyeshot, but also draw curious fishermen and campers from clear across the warehouse superstore.

2. Inflatable Kiosks with Product Replicas

Kiosks are particularly effective when used with sample giveaways. Custom branded and enhanced with an inflatable product replica, they deliver a one-two punch: exceptional visibility and the practicality of having space to pour sips of soda, hand out handy wipes or give away gizmos.

But what if you’re taking in instead of giving out? Kiosks are great for that as well. Design yours with a “countertop” for receiving entries to a drawing, accepting subscriptions to your magazine or newsletter, selling products direct to consumers or any number of other activities. Better inflatables manufacturers are fully capable of designing and producing kiosks that have product replicas built into them. In addition, kiosks can be configured in walk-up and walk-in styles.

3. Inflatable Product Replica / Inflatable Tent Combo

Another combo guaranteed to wow crowds is the inflatable product replica / tent twosome. When you use these two separate inflatables together, you get a dynamic duo that offers all sorts of flexibility. Just as with the point-of-purchase display, the use of an inflatable product replica outside your tent is like a beacon on a foggy night. It breaks through the standard landscape so effectively customers can’t help but take notice.

An inflatable dome is a welcoming site that – when equipped with tables and chairs – begs consumers to stop, sit and chat for a while. This creates a captive audience just waiting for a representative from your company to pull up a chair and make some new loyal fans.

Whether inside stores or outdoors at a local festival, custom inflatable product replicas can handle practically any environment. Easy to set up, deflate and ship, these monster-sized icons will quickly help you turn your new product into a household name.

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10 Tips for Making Custom Inflatables Pay Off

10 Tips for Marketing Custom Inflatables Pay Off10 Ways to Achieve Event Marketing Success with Custom Inflatables

Mobile. Attention-getting. Emotional. Functional. These are just a few of the many attributes custom inflatables offer event marketers as they travel the country. Over the years, we’ve worked with some of the best in the industry as they’ve mastered the art and science of attracting traffic in the midst of a flood of people. Want to know what we’ve found works best? Here are 10 tips for making custom inflatables pay off for you.

Tip #1 – Think Outside the Booth

Sure, everybody knows inflatables are an excellent addition to any tradeshow booth, but what about outside the main exhibition space? Ask about placing a custom inflatable in the lobby, outside the building by the door or even on the roof. Use an attachable banner to direct attendees to your booth inside.

Tip #2 – Add Banners & Bucks

Leave room in your design for interchangeable banners. This opens the door for advertising and sponsorship opportunities that bring in additional revenue as you attend various events.

Tip #3 – Distribute Coupons En Cognito

Dress an employee in an inflatable costume then cut them loose. As they are roaming about the convention center or fairgrounds, they can hand out flyers, coupons or samples to attendees.

Tip #4 – Design a Central Hub

Rather stay close to your exhibition area? No problem! Custom inflatable kiosks make the perfect spots to distribute samples, conduct demonstrations and more.

Tip #5 – Click a Pic

Create irresistible photo opps using custom inflatables. Scenery, product replicas, caricatures and more scream, “journalists look over here!” They have a strong social media pull as well meaning the tweets and Facebook postings will keep on comin’.

Tip #6 – Project a Whole New Image

Video is all the rage. Get in on a trend in a whole new way when you use inflatable movie screens or other displays to project videos or cool effects that instantly pique the interest of passersby.

Tip #7 – Give Tiny Takeaways

Put the theme of your corporate event right into the hands of your attendees using miniature, sealed inflatables. Cruise lines may choose a beach theme and give each person a small beach ball or ship-shaped keychain to take home. Manufacturers may opt for smaller versions of inflatable product replicas that match the 30-foot-tall replica that takes center stage. Whatever the case, attendees get something fun that helps increase brand loyalty.

Tip #8 – Create a Sportsman’s Playground

Use inflatable sports cages to create a fun environment for visitors. Batting, soccer or pitching: it’s fun to watch or participate. Working in conjunction with sponsors, you may be able to do more for less and make some additional revenue in the process.

Tip #9 – Offer an Oasis in the Crowd

Custom inflatable tents offer a sanctuary from the weather as well as being a resting place for weary walkers. Whether you opt for a fully enclosed model or one that’s open for full view, sponsorship opportunities exist when you use attachable banners. For meet-and-greets, demonstrations, or just a convenient place for attendees (a.k.a. your captive audience) to relax, inflatable tents are multipurpose wonders.

Tip #10 – Mix & Match for Maximum Impact

Think outside the box. Using different types of custom inflatables in conjunction with one another can result in the biggest payoff. For example, hand out samples of your food or beverage via an inflatable kiosk then invite recipients to relax and enjoy their snack under your inflatable tent. As they do, representatives can engage them, hand out coupons for future purchases and perhaps get visitors to complete surveys while they unwind.

Any way you slice it, custom inflatables are a perfect match for event marketing. The creativity they display, the emotional connection they make and the enormous visual appeal they have pay off for you in more visitors wherever you exhibit.

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3 Ways to Boost Team Spirit and Attendance with Inflatables

Inflatables Boost Team SpiritWhether you work in pro, high school or college sports marketing and promotions, one of your primary goals is to increase attendance. If you have no fans in the stands, everything else suffers. Admission revenues decline; concession stand income is reduced, and sponsors lose interest.

The Question Has Always Been: How Do I Boost Team Spirit and Attendance in a Way That Won’t Break My Bank? Inflatables Get the Job Done.

Inflatable Sports Tunnel#1 – Sports Tunnels– Very popular with high school and college sports marketing departments, sports tunnels are an exciting addition to football, hockey, soccer, basketball or any other sport. Team members burst through the tunnel and onto the field, court or ice (often through a cloud of fog) as onlookers leap to their feet in support. It’s an exhilarating way to begin any game because sports tunnels get the crowd engaged.

But, these tunnels play another very important role in sports marketing and promotions. They can be outfitted with sponsor banners on both sides. This allows you to turn your sports tunnel into an advertising machine. You can generate revenue while you increase team spirit.


Inflatable Tents#2 – Inflatable Tents – When you take pro or college sports marketing events on the road, inflatable tents give you greater visibility. If you host a fans’ corner or tailgate party before games, these tents offer a wonderful place to gather that’s fully branded for your team. Are players making public appearances? Inflatable tents provide an instant meet-and-greet place that’s out of the weather. Opened or fully enclosed, tents can also be dressed with sponsor banners.


Inflatable Sports Cage#3 – Sports Cages – Give fans a chance to flex their muscles. Inflatable sports cages set up outside your team’s baseball or softball games lets fans show off their skills. Whether you charge a fee or let fans bat for free with their paid admission, you get attendees excited about the nine innings they’re about to watch.

But, baseball isn’t the only sport fans can take their turns at. Inflatable soccer goals attract crowds with the same intensity as baseball cages. Fans can kick as hard as they’re able in an attempt to score a goal. Want to add additional fun and appeal? Have a local or national celebrity play goalie.

Press Worthy

Including inflatables with your sports marketing and promotions also delivers one other added benefit: press coverage. The media love to photograph inflatables because they are interesting. Incorporating a sports tunnel, tent or cage into your marketing plan almost certainly guarantees you’ll land some ink.

Inflatables get fans fired up about all sorts of sports. Whether you’re out on the road and need extra visibility or you’re on the field and want to hear the crowd screaming at the top of their lungs, inflatables give you that added boost you need to increase team spirit and admissions.

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