Giveaways have long been a staple at trade shows, and it’s hard to leave one without a bag full of branded trinkets, cups, caps and other useless junk to fill your house with. However, if you look beyond the wastefulness and crass consumerism of this entire charade, you’ll see a novel opportunity to stand out, engage, and create a memorable impression for your brand, product, and booth.

No matter how much we would like to pretend otherwise, the truth is, we love receiving gifts, and high-quality, premium gifts go a long way in building goodwill and establishing a rapport in business, and consumer relationships alike. This, however, means that you will have to look beyond the run of the mill corporate swag, which will more than likely end up being buried inside an already cluttered desk drawer.

The key is to delight attendees who show interest in your booth with a unique, yet relevant artifact, and something that doesn’t become an immediate afterthought. If you’re planning for an upcoming show, there are ways to fundamentally up your game when it comes to giveaways. Here are some questions to ask yourself, and tips to make the most impact when working the booth at your next big event.

  1. What Purpose Does The Premium Giveaway Serve?

Before making any decisions pertaining to the giveaway, it is essential to have a clear vision in mind of the type of effect it should have on the recipient. Is it merely a token of appreciation, or a form of business card that makes it easy to find you when necessary, or a deep message that positions your brand in the mind of the recipient?

Ideally, this must be done in conjunction with the broader pitch, other marketing elements, and the information that is conveyed in the trade show in order to have the most effect. Before even looking at potential options for a giveaway, the message that needs to be conveyed must be carefully established.

  1. How Will You Select Your Premium Giveaway? 

Once you have an understanding of the message that needs to be conveyed, and the impact it needs to have, you can then start working on the right process to narrow down on your premium giveaway options. 

There are quite a few considerations in this regard, ranging from the brand, product, target audience, and more. In fact, there are promotional specialists who can be engaged primarily for this purpose, to select the best giveaways for your trade show that best align with your objectives and overall narrative.

  1. At Whom Is This Premium Giveaway Aimed?

Trade show attendees come in different shapes and sizes, with some merely looking to load-up on freebies, or window shop with no intent of buying or making a deal. As such, it makes little sense to give out your premium giveaways to all of them.

Ideally, such premium freebies must be aimed at serious buyers, who are often a minority at most shows. They can, however, be recognized by their eagerness, good understanding of the market, and willingness to make a deal.

Trade booths should maintain gifts of different tier levels based on the type of attendee they encounter. For example, inexpensive mugs, caps, or other small trinkets can be given to the majority of the interested parties, but the truly premium ones can be reserved for potential buyers.

  1. How Does The Giveaway Align With Your Marketing?

This is where generic knick-knacks such as mugs, cups, glasses, caps, and whistles go to die. They really serve no purpose apart from ending up under heaps of clutter at the attendee’s residence. 

The giveaway should essentially align with and speak to your broader branding and marketing objectives. For example, if you’re selling a travel product, the giveaway can be sleep masks, travel pillows, or portable mugs that directly relate to travel.

By doing this, you can ensure that your message is encoded in the minds of the receiver, and your brand remains in front of them each time they use it during travel, or any other related activity.

  1. What Is Your Budget?

Trade shows can be expensive, and giveaways can make them worse. Most smaller gifts such as mugs, caps, and accessories tend to be cheap, but when being handed out to hundreds of attendees, the cost adds up.

The choice of giveaways, the tiers for different types of attendees, and the quantity you have on stock ultimately depends on your budget. Most companies usually set an annual budget for marketing their exhibits, and order all giveaways in bulk to go for an entire year, saving on the per unit costs.

  1. What Must Visitors Do To Qualify For A Giveaway?

Depending on the budget, expected orders and conversions from each exhibit, it may not be feasible to hand out giveaways for each and every individual who walks past your booth. In order to make the most of such giveaways, there have to be certain qualifying standards, such as the level of involvement, interest, intent, and more.

For example, gifts can only be reserved for attendees who participate in a demonstration, wait through a presentation, or show intent by providing their contact details. Truly premium giveaways can be provided only for those attendees who manage to strike a deal, or make a purchase order during the trade show.

Handing out giveaways like a leaflet or a pamphlet is not only expensive, but diminishes their value, leaving little-to-no memorability factor.

  1. How Will The Giveaway Aid In Future Sales?

The success or benefits accrued from the giveaway campaign must be tracked against the sales generated using the same. If you give out 100 gifts to attendees at a tradeshow, and fail to receive a positive response from any of them, it might be time to head back to the drawing board.

Gifts and giveaways are essentially aimed at building rapport with potential customers, and if they fail to aid in delivering the desired results, it is an indication of issues, either with your product or solution itself, or the way in which the gifts are being handed out.

Either way, this is a cue to stop whatever you are doing, and revisit your strategy, as there is no point in continuing to waste money giving out free stuff.

  1. How Does Your Premium Gift Complement Exhibiting Goals? 

The goal of a gift or giveaway in a trade show is to stand out in a crowded marketplace, making it necessary to define the role of such giveaways in the overall exhibiting strategy. While lower tier gifts help attract general attendees, the media, and influencers to watch your demonstrations, the approach to baiting the whales is a lot different.

Companies are known to adopt innovative approaches in this regard, such as sending out playing cards prior to, or at the beginning of the show, with the ‘King’ given to their key customers, ‘Queen’ to suppliers, and ‘Jack’ to hot new prospects. They are then asked to present the cards in the booth for a special gift, which is not available for general attendees.

When these attendees arrive at the booth, the staff already have information pertaining to them, including their background, personas, and more, to best pitch the products and solutions. Given the higher likelihood of conversions in this regard, an expensive premium gift is well accounted for.

  1. How To Best Inform Target Audiences of The Giveaway?

A unique, useful giveaway is likely to drive substantial traffic to your booth over the course of the event, but spreading the word about it still remains necessary in increasingly competitive trade shows. 

A great way of doing this is by sending out a ‘tickler’ of the giveaway to attract the masses, apart from innovative approaches such as the ‘Two-Piece Premium’, where a part of the gift is offered to key prospects prior to the event, with the rest offered in-person at the booth.

  1. How To Measure The Effectiveness of The Premium Giveaway?

The effectiveness of a premium giveaway can be tracked based on the response it receives from the recipients. If it is a redemption gift with a code, you can be certain that it was a result of the trade show by creating a unique code for the same. The staff can further follow-up on the prospects and check if they remember receiving their gifts, and if they found it useful.

Following this, the exhibit team can be critiqued based on the response received by the premium giveaways. This includes the number of prospects who were drawn to the booth, the eye catchiness, or ability to grasp the attention of passersby, along with the giveaway’s ability to project the right brand and corporate image to the audiences.

Final Words 

For businesses willing to look past the tried and exhausted pens, pencils, and keychains, there are a wide range of exciting premium gifts and giveaways that can make your booth the talk of the show. While it might be a tad expensive, with the right planning, strategy, and tracking, the resulting engagement, leads, prospects, and conversions can be many times over.

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