Most businesses exhibit at a trade show, conference or event at least once a year. The most common reason they are exhibiting is to get exposure and qualified business leads for their company. Unfortunately the trade show giveaways in many cases don’t reflect the company, not in what they do or in the quality product or service they may deliver.

So, why do so many people put such seemingly little effort into an important part of their trade show marketing efforts? One observation is that the people in charge have it as an added responsibility and they were told to just get “something” with little if any direction.

Giveaways Reflect You

Your trade show giveaway should be a reflection of the theme of your booth, indicative of your company’s products or something really useful that you can tie into the business expertise .  For instance, we once gave away highlighters that looked like a hand with the tag: “Providing Handcrafted Marketing Solutions Every Day”.  Very well received and it made people stop and ask us for more information.

Handy Highlighters

Handy Highlighters are a Fun Trade Show Giveaway

Of course whatever you do, it should be a quality item. The last thing you want to do is give something to a prospect or client that runs out of ink or falls apart the first time it’s used. Remember first impressions are key and lasting!

Pens are very popular because they are not only useful are the top item for providing lasting impressions for your budget (people use a quality pen for months). While pens are very popular options the increase in technology has made pens with a stylus or USB as well as a wide variety of great highlighters (pen/highlighter/stylus all in one!) even more popular.

If you’ve walked a trade show floor then you know that one of the most popular items is a bag. People need to carry all the items they are picking up so bags are big. If you decide you want a bag as your tradeshow giveaway then make sure it’s great bag, otherwise it will end up inside the bag from the booth down the aisle. Really popular today are the non-woven polypropylene totes because they are both durable and budget friendly.

Also affordable are notebooks, phone or tablet stands, phone accessories (a new item is a “pocket” you can adhere to the back of your phone that holds a credit card, room card or business cards), phone or tablet cleaners, hand sanitizers, clips, stress relievers, luggage tags, or flashlights. The list goes on and on.

Remember, make it work for you. We worked with dental practice management client that was exhibiting at an industry show and we did a memo clip that looked like a mouth including teeth. When I got to the show all the people at check in had them clipped to their badge. Everyone wanted to know where to get them. So the dental practice management company at great booth traffic making the show a tremendous success for them.

Another aspect to think about is the levels of tradeshow giveways you do. You don’t have to give everyone the same thing. You can keep some items for special customers, prospects that spend time listening to your pitch or that you’ve qualified as a really good lead. Those you should consider giving a higher budget item. Very popular today are the new technology accessories. Think useful items that will say thank you: Power Banks, Car Chargers, Bluetooth speakers, Bluetooth Headset, Headphone and Tablet Cases.

Again, just make sure what you are giving is a quality product that makes sense!

Danette Gossett

Danette brings more than 30 years of experience developing advertising campaigns, direct marketing programs and sales promotions to her clients. Prior to starting her companies, she worked for New York advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi & Lowe Marschalk.

Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More