3 Characteristics of an Effective Trade Show Giveaway

March 12, 2016

Emily Long

Emily Long is a member of the communications team at BaslerCo Inc., a national supplier of custom printed Post-it®Notes, notepads, data protection sleeves, and other corporate identity pieces. 

You’ve heard it before, “branded giveaways are a great way to make an impression at trade shows.” While I agree with this notion, I think it can be a little misleading. Branded swag will, of course, make an impression on trade show attendees, but it may not always be the impression you intend. Perhaps your last giveaway ended up in the convention center trash cans because the gift did not resonate well with your target audience.

Promotional items that are too generic, or swag that does not offer some sort of benefit to recipients, tends to be ineffective. So how can you get more bang for your buck when creating branded giveaways? Here are three important traits of an effective trade show handout.

1. It’s Relevant to Your Business

First off, your promotional items need to be relevant to the products or services your company offers. There should be a strong connection between what your company does and the messaging and/or function of your giveaway. For example, a dry cleaning business may want to distribute pocket packs of lint sheets with their branding printed on each pack. The relationship between the dry cleaner and the promotional item is apparent to event attendees, establishing proper context for the business.

2. It’s Tailored to Your Audience

The next characteristic of effective trade show giveaways is that they are specifically tailored to a company’s target audience. Your promotional items will never appeal to everyone, nor should they. There is a particular group of people who have a need for the products or services you offer. These are the individuals you want to appeal to with your event swag. The more relevant an item is to a given target audience, the more likely those audience members will retain the giveaway.

3. It’s Useful for Attendees

Effective trade show giveaways have another thing in common: they are useful. Their function meets a need or provides a convenience for recipients. Useful swag can attract attention, saving your branded items from being tossed out. In the example discussed above, you’ll notice that the dry cleaner’s lint sheets were not only relevant to the company’s services, they also were highly useful for recipients as well.

A data security company distributing branded data protection sleeves is another good example of an effective giveaway. The item is relevant to the company’s services, it targets an audience of people who are concerned with data security, and it is very useful. In fact, recipients of this gift can protect their personal information from RFID digital pickpockets right away, by sliding their credit cards and IDs into the protective sleeve.

Make sure your next trade show giveaways are effective by incorporating the three elements discussed here. If your company has experienced success using promotional items at business events, I’d love to hear about it! Please share your story in the comments section below.

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