Seven Kinds of Trade Show Giveaways

October 27, 2012

Giveaways are an extremely popular way to get more people into your trade show displays.  But not all giveaways are created equal.

To help you whittle through the nearly infinite choices of giveaways, I’ve grouped them into 7 types, with the strengths and weaknesses of each type listed below.  Keep this chart handy the next time your team gathers to brainstorm ideas for your upcoming trade show.

Giveaway Type



Cheap stuff

Doesn’t cost much so you can give them to a lot of people

Will not reflect well on your brand if they appear too low in quality, let alone break quickly

Nice stuff

Will get you noticed favorably by your clients and prospects

Usually can’t afford to give to everyone at a show

Trendy stuff

Can get more people’s attention

May not get the right people’s attention

Educational stuff

Can use to attract only the people who are qualified prospects

Takes effort to research and publish, and may not attract all your best prospects

Your stuff

Can use to attract only the people who are qualified prospects

Will not motivate people who only care about themselves personally; plus may get fewer leads (bad if lead quantity, not lead quality, is your sole metric)

Wearable stuff

High perceived value and can put your logo on it

If not good looking no one will want it, and it may end up in a drawer; plus “I’ve got enough t-shirts.”

Edible stuff

Will attract grateful attendees

Prospects are left with nothing that has your name on it, and you may pay double – cost to buy, plus cost to pay show hall a corking fee to giveaway food and drink

I hope that gives you some good ideas about which direction you take next when strategizing for your future events.

And if you get bored saying “giveaway” over and over again, here are 10 more words you can use to describe them:

10 Other Names For Giveaways:

  1. Promos
  1. Promotions
  3. Tchotckes
  5. Premiums
  7. Incentives
  9. Corporate gifts
  11. Swag (acronym for “Samples, Wearables, And Gifts”)
  13. Freebies
  15. Advertising specialties
  17. Bribes

No matter what they are called, a well-chosen giveaway can help you drive more traffic to your trade show booth, boost your brand awareness, and help you deepen relationships with clients and prospects.

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