trade show swag

What’s more likely to get your brand the attention it deserves: a free pen or a memorable experience?

We recommend investing more in the experiential marketing strategy for your trade show, but it’s also nice to give attendees a take-home item. The promotional item can be more like a souvenir to your experience. Please, not another free pen!

According to the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), specialty items form a $20 billion industry. In 2014, wearables (t-shirts, hats, etc.) represented over 30% of what we gave away. And writing instruments (yup, pens!) represented the next highest category at nearly 9%.

When you consider that 88% of people recall an advertiser on a promo product received in the past 12 months and 47% of us keep promo products around for more than a year, you should think strategically about your trade show giveaways.

Integrate your giveaways with your overall theme. If attendees are competing in a virtual reality racing competition, give them a remote control car. Hosting a scavenger hunt? Hand out compasses. Your promo item should tie back to your booth experience. When everything integrates, things begin to ‘click’ for your potential lead.

Travis Stanton, exhibitor at Exhibitor Magazine, recently shared his experience at a Human Resource Management Annual Conference. In this article, he talks about red hula hoops – and how they tie back to VISANOW’s key messaging.

He wrote, “The staffer explained that you no longer have to jump through hoops when it comes to immigration. VISANOW reduces stress, saves time and improves the employee experience.” When attendees agreed to have their badges scanned and receive additional information, they walked away with a hula hoop in hand. This trade show giveaway tied directly back to VISANOW’s key messages: stop jumping through hoops. And that surely resonated in a memorable way.

In addition to considering the in-booth experience and messaging, you must consider your audience. Your buyer persona is very important for deciding what trade show swag will be most effective in your strategy. Know what products would be best enjoyed, most helpful or likely used by your target audience. If they’ll be traveling, don’t offer anything too clunky. Offer multiple giveaway choices if you’re targeting different personas – or an audience that’s prone to personalization.

When selecting your specialty items, don’t be afraid to express your brand’s personality. Are you a funny brand? Use something quirky. Are you a serious brand? Use something practical. Make sure the item reflects not only your audience’s needs but also your brand for the best recall.

Oh, and know this: if it’s junk, it will be tossed out. Your brand’s reputation is on the line, so invest wisely.

Trade Show Exhibitor Guide

Trade Show Exhibitor Guide

This free download is chock-full of tips for your next trade show – logistics, marketing, consumer engagements!

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