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July 11, 2015

Are Your Trade Show Giveaways Reinforcing the Goals of Your Exhibit?


The money you invest in trade show giveaways should generate a healthy return, or they might be a complete waste. If you're like most exhibitors, it is hard to tell the difference.

Promotional items are usually given out free with the purpose to stimulate attendee interest and drive traffic to your exhibits. The problem is that they are not necessarily tied directly to the quality of leads you and your staff collect at the show. Thus, after the show it is difficult to judge how effective the giveaway items were for driving in the right kind of quality traffic.

You can usually count on the fact that swag will bring people to your booth. The key is choosing the right giveaways and leveraging them to attract the right attendees, which is more difficult than it seems. We will cover a few of the most common and costly mistakes exhibitors make when selecting promotional items, and learn how to choose giveaways to help you capture leads to meet your goals and grow your bottom line.

Common Swag Mistakes

Many exhibitors rely on the same tired ideas found at every event. Branded T-shirts, pens, and coffee mugs are practically mainstays at trade shows. At any given show, they are handed out like candy on Halloween at half of the booths on the convention floor.

These items can work if they are imprinted with your company name, logo, website, phone number, and carry a message that is consistent with your booth’s theme. But more often than not, they are given away as mere freebies. Little thought is given to how the attendees will use the items and whether they reinforce the exhibitor's messaging. Another mistake is to choose a single item to give all attendees. During an event, tire-kickers, potential leads, and customers will visit your booth. These three groups present different values to your business. It makes little sense to give everyone the same giveaway.

Invest in two or three different promotional items that reflect the value of each type of visitor. For example, you might offer an inexpensive branded koozie to tire-kickers, a durable sport bottle to prospective leads, and a $20 Starbucks gift card to your customers. You may also want to incorporate a hand out to quality prospects, such as an expensive memory stick that has all your sales materials on it for easy follow-up. The point is to have different types of swag available that take into account the value each type of booth visitor has to your company.

Promotional Items Your Audience Will Love

The first step to choosing effective giveaways is to think about your goals for the trade show. For example, your main goals may be to increase quality leads and increase brand recognition. For that you may want more effective giveaways that showcase your brand and catch the attendee’s eye or reinforce your product and brand to prospects.

You want attendees to remember your company's brand months after the show ends. Think of items in your office that you have kept for a long time. For example, you might have a durable stapler or favorite coffee mug that has been on your desk for years. Consider that when you are looking for a perfect trade show giveaway. Give booth visitors something they will keep rather than toss into the garbage at the end of the day.

Giveaway Success Vs. Wasting Your Money

The most important thing to remember is that there is no single best promotional item that will draw the right attendees to your booth. A lot depends on your target audience and what you are trying to accomplish. Traffic, brand visibility, and top-of-mind awareness are important. So, are building and maintaining relationships. You want to establish them with prospective customers and strengthen those you share with your current customers.

Your giveaways can help or sabotage your efforts. The right ones will reinforce the messaging of your trade show exhibit and extend your brand. The wrong ones will be a drain on your cash flow. Give careful thought to the giveaways you invest in for your audience.

For an overview of TradeTec’s capabilities and a customized assessment of your current trade show program, click here.

About TradeTec:

Founded in 1999, TradeTec Skyline produces innovative trade show exhibits with unmatched customer service and a promise of NO POST SHOW BILLING for clients. As an endorsed provider of Skyline products, TradeTec offers the highest quality modular exhibits as well as custom and hybrid solutions. Located just west of Chicago, TradeTec has served over 6,000 clients and completed over 35,000 projects worldwide. They currently manage over 3,500 events each year. Learn more at ttchicago.com.