It’s a common question when organising a stand for a trade show: Should we have giveaways for our booth visitors or not? It’s difficult to know if the promotion will be effective, or just a waste of money.


A good giveaway should create a positive result, which needs to be tied to a goal you can measure. If you don’t know what you want to achieve through your display stand, then a giveaway is irrelevant, as there is no expected measurable result.


The hope is that your offerings produce a lasting and positive impression about your company. Ideally, they should help build buzz during the show and create a lasting impression. You want to see it on you prospect’s desks weeks or even months later, as a reminder of positive interaction.


Align your Giveaway with your Event Goals


Before begin the search for your promotional gift, narrow down the point in distributing giveaways at all, and the choose items to fulfill that specific purpose. Here is a quick rundown of goals and promotional items that support them:


  • Increase Brand Awareness  Give away something highly visible, but economical enough to give to everyone who visits your stand. If everyone is carrying a branded giveaway, your company name will be seen all over the show. Bags with your company name, product name and tagline are ideal.


  • Build Relationships – Promotional gifts can be used to thank targeted clients for their current business as well as show them new products and services. To build on relationships, choose gifts of a higher value, such as personalised journals or diaries.  Invite your client to your stand at the show to retrieve the gift. Some other suitable office-related gifts include clocks, calendars and pen sets.


  • Encourage Engagement – If attendees participate in an in-booth presentation, product demonstration, or conversation with staffers, give them a promo item to thank them for their time. Here is where more nominally priced items such as branded pens come in handy.


  • Increase Foot Traffic – If most attendees at a show are potential customers, use giveaways that tempt your target market to your booth. Try an offer that will only be of interest to your target audience.


  • Foster Memorability – To make sure your giveaway isn’t headed for the nearest bin, work out which items your target audience will need and use daily, and then brand your item with a product name or URL.


Match your Audience to your Giveaway


Make a profile of your target audience and work out what they will like. A good giveaway is something they will want to keep, handle, look at, play with and use often. Know your audience demographics as well and interests, attitudes and lifestyle to work out what they will prefer. For example, executives like personalised pens, geeks like gadgets and students appreciate backpacks.

It’s important to remember that your message should be supported by your promotion, not driven by it. Set your goals first, and then choose your giveaway to meet the objectives of the show. Once you’re clear on your show objectives, let the shopping begin.