Trade show giveaways carefully folded into a marketing campaign are an investment in your business. If used wisely, they will spread the word about your company long after the trade show, event, or exhibition has ended. If you are considering adding incentives to your marketing strategy, you are in luck. The incentives industry is a multi-billion-dollar business with a vast range of products that can be printed, embossed, programmed, or custom-made to enhance and bring attention to your trade show exhibit.
What are Trade Show Giveaways?
Whether you use the term “premium incentives,” “promotional products,” or “trade show giveaways,” the goal should be the same. You want to capture the attention of potential clients AND be remembered for all the right reasons.
So, what are the right reasons? Everyone loves a freebie, and giveaways are a proven method for attracting people at a show. However, “If you think of them as trade show giveaways,” according to Rama Beerfas, owner of Lev Promotions, “They will have as much value to your recipients as they do to you. If you reframe them as promotional incentives or gifts, you’ll start to realize that a target branded incentive can bring you closer to achieving your goals and providing measurable results.”
Many companies start by searching the web for incentive ideas. Which isn’t a bad way to explore what’s available. However, the choices can be overwhelming. Is that really a wise use of your time? Spending hours searching for the perfect ink pen? Don’t make that mistake! Work with a promotional incentives expert who will ask you the right questions and narrow down your choices. It’s what they do. And it won’t cost you any more.
Perishables (candy, mints, food and beverage, etc.)
Identifying Your Trade Show Giveaway Strategy
With thousands of possible options, choosing the right one(s) is less about a Top 10 list and more about achieving your marketing goals and sales results. Start by identifying:
Your Target Audience
Your Quantity (it’s not about having something for everyone)
Your Theme (and/or the theme of the show)
If you’re looking to do what’s hot/trendy/cool/new, then you’re probably going to be one of many on the show floor handing out the same item. Incentives trends are a moving target, and suppliers are nimble at finding and promoting the latest gadget. It may be a charging pad this season and earbuds the next season.
The 4 “Make It” Rules to Incentives
Make It Non-breakable. There’s nothing worse than getting a cool incentive only to have it break within days.
Make It Lightweight. You don’t want them to abandon it mid-day just to lighten the load.
Make It Compact. It can’t be bulky since it often has to pack in checked luggage.
Make It TSA Friendly. Nothing is worse than seeing your promotional products in the trash can just outside the airport security checkpoint.
What Makes Good Marketing Merchandise?
You want items that appeal to your specific target market and that are tied into your overall marketing message. Your target market may be active adults. However, if your marketing focus is summer wear, a fall or winter incentive like beanies won’t make sense… even if you would REALLY LOVE to have a branded beanie.
The perfect marketing merchandise for one company (or even one campaign) may be completely inappropriate for another.
Consider Having BEST – BETTER – GOOD Options:
BEST is for your top prospects and best clients
BETTER is for your good prospects, good existing clients and maybe even staff
GOOD is for attendees who are qualified, but not really a hot prospect.
So how do you make the incentive feel like a gift rather than a giveaway? Store the nicer or higher value items out-of-sight, like in a counter, kiosk, or pedestal. Once you’ve qualified the prospect, then present them with a special gift, one they know not everyone else is getting. Perception matters!
10 Branded Product Ideas/Trends to Consider
1. 3M Post-It productsdesigned for outdoor or wet settings. Great for the construction and manufacturing industries.
2. Custom or packaged gifts that can be handed out or shipped to recipients.
3. Create a custom gift kit with a bit more flair, start with the packaging.
Anything that may be perceived as in questionable taste: (e.g., a knife in many Asian cultures signifies cutting ties).
Anything that is against the law or shows a lack of understanding of social customs: (e.g., chewing gum in Singapore).
See the “4 Make It” Rules previously mentioned.
Anything that is of poor quality or has a poor/incorrect imprint on it. The quality of the item will reflect on your brand.
Anything that demonstrates a poor understanding of your target market: (e.g., a $1.50 tape measure given to contractors).
Your Partner for Trade Show Giveaways
Premium incentives can be an effective trade show or event marketing tool when connected to your company, product, or campaign. There are thousands of choices in incentive items, and the choices change all the time.
Your consultant can guide you through the process of selecting appropriate incentives. In some cases, it is as simple as a pen or pad. In other cases, you may want multiple items linked to your overall marketing message. Incentives can be fun, effective, and expensive.
A special thanks to Rama Beerfas at Lev Promotions for sharing her invaluable advice about promotional incentives.
Our thanks to the folks at SocialPoint for creating an infographic based on a survey about Trade Show Giveaways.
Few trade show tasks are as fun and frustrating as selecting the appropriate giveaway. Gone are the days when the options were limited to pens, mugs, stress balls, and calculators. There are thousands of promotional products from thousands of vendors. So how do you choose?
As with any marketing decision, you need a strategy and the giveaway should advance it. The infographic below presents strategies, features, choices, and perceptions on the best trade show giveaways. Finally, as a gentle reminder, don’t wait. Not only will you save money, but you’ll ensure any mistakes are corrected before the show.
Look around your office. How many branded items do you have? I’d bet at least one or two or three . . . and you’re not alone. In 2013, advertisers spent more than $18 billion on promotional products. That’s $18,000,000,000 of swag. Wow!
At nearly half a cent per impression, promotional products are a proven, cost-effective way to market your company and increase your brand awareness. They have a lower cost per impression than nearly every other form of advertising. In addition, they have staying power. Most are kept over seven months. If you’re not using promotional items, here are some reasons you should be.
When Choosing a Promotional Product
Budget – You don’t have to spend a lot. My rule of thumb is to give them something they will be upset about if they lose it. Imprint Area – Know the imprint area restrictions of the product. If you have a vertical logo more than likely it won’t imprint well on a pen. Artwork – Always submit Vector art and convert fonts to outlines. Proofs – Although you may be charged (usually less than $10) always ask for a proof. Production Time – Build in at least 10 business days. If you have a rush order, there are several manufacturers that offer 24-48 hour production times. Overages – Ask vendors to share their overage/under provision.
Trending in 2015
Power Banks, Stylus Pens, Cord Organizers, Bluetooth Speakers, Phone and Tablet Stands.
Health and Wellness
Hand Sanitizers, Pedometers, Fitness Watches, and Fingerprint ID Kits
Laser-etched Polos, Packable Garments, Folk Patterns, and a lot of Marsala! (Pantone Color of the Year 2015)
Infusers, Mason Jars, Geometric Tumblers and Bright Colors
Check out the New Products Introduced at the 2015 ASI Show in Orlando
Super Glide Wax Highlight
Roots RapidLake Polo
Plastic Tool Pen
Squeezable LED Key Chain
Colorful Stylus Pens
Paper Clip Tumbler
EFlask Water Bottle
Mini File and Buffer
Spider USB Connector
Water Proof Phone Pouch
Fold Up Tote
Glass Water Bottles
Round Power Banks
Power Bank Charger w/ Speaker
Drink from Phone
Flexible Water Bottle
Hand Held Sports Bottle
Medical Themed Tote
iPad Sleeve Stand
Stylus Pen Highlighter
Silicone Cable Organizer
Laser Engraved Polos
Tangled Stress Reliever
The Loop Earbud Winder
Square Power Bank
Roots Tech Long Sleeve
So… what branded product did you find on your desk? 😉
Have questions about promotional products? Give me a call.
Although smartphones and iPads are shaping the meetings of tomorrow according to an article in Successful Meetings, traditional promotional products continue to impact the meetings of today based on a recent survey from the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI). More