How to Reboot Your Trade Show Giveaway Strategy

October 1, 2016

Lauren Melnick

Lauren Melnick is the Customization Solutions Manager at Poppin, a national provider of work-lifestyle furniture and accessories.

For years, trade show giveaways have been used to foster goodwill and generate leads with potential clients and prospects. However, since giveaways have become commonplace at shows, do they still have the same impact they once did? How can a reboot to your giveaway strategy impact your show presence and fully capitalize on the benefits of exhibiting?

Here are a few things to consider when refreshing your trade show giveaway strategy:

Tell Your Brand Story. A giveaway without a connection to your brand will just get lost in the shuffle. Even the coolest giveaways will fall flat if the attendee cannot remember where they got it from. Telling your story effectively is all about creating a lasting emotional connection to your brand that attendees will remember even after the trade show is over. In order to cultivate that authentic reaction, spend your customization investment wisely. Snacks or other perishables are often eaten and forgotten. T-shirts get stuffed in the bottom of drawers. Instead, seek out impactful products that are branded, beautifully designed and useful long after the initial gifting is over.

Go For Impact. Don’t shy away from giveaways that may seem a bit on the boring side. Sometimes a pen for scribbling notes during a talk or a business card case are far more valuable that a flashlight on the show floor. Give gifts that are of immediate use in the event environment. This approach will greatly increase your chances of helping giftees positively associate your brand with the experience of the trade show.

Don’t Skimp on Quality or Relevance. Choose event gifts that are worthy of your core business values and vision. Beautiful customized products show that you take your brand seriously—and indicates to potential partners, clients, and employees that they should take your brand seriously, too. If you’re a technology company, why give out lollipops or a tin of paper clips? Event giveaways should be relevant to both your company and your audience. Be thoughtful about what artwork you apply to your giveaway. Does your event have a slogan, phrase, or graphic that will resonate with the recipient and make it more memorable? Giveaways should align with the theme or focus of your event, your company’s product or mission, and be relevant to attendees to generate the most impact.

Think About Ease. This is the one time it’s good to think small. Most attendees travel to events, so big or heavy swag that’s difficult to bring home often gets left behind. Small treasures fit perfectly into suitcases and briefcases, ensuring a second life for your gifts. Traveling with event gifts can be tough for exhibitors, too. Choose products that feature bulk packaging options for ease of travel and presentation, which allow your event team to network and spread the word rather than unpack and unwrap items.

Keep Budget in Mind. While working within your budget, don’t cheap out and go chintzy or splash out and go overly flashy. Whatever you have to spend per person, choose the item that’s going to represent your brand best. Some trade show planners opt for cool, expensive giveaways in the hopes that the item will drive traffic to their booth. However, spending too much of your trade show budget on swag can negate their positive impact and return on investment. In addition, review your event calendar and consider how frequent your order needs will be. Look into buying in volume and arranging to have your supplier store the product for you. This arrangement will make replenishments easy, faster and more cost effective.

Ultimately, a reboot to your giveaway strategy will only be successful if you are able to foster an authentic emotional connection to your brand that attendees will remember long after the show is over.

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Partner Voices

Until recently, the opportunity to have a celebrity attend an event, attach themselves to a name-brand or endorse a certain product or idea was untouchable. The thought of paying a person to promote a product was seen as something only Fortune 500 companies could afford. Social media has changed all that with brands and businesses utilizing celebrity influencers to connect directly with their demographics and increase sales and profits.