In the Bag, Not In the Bin: Trade Show Promotional Items Must Be Keepers

By Lindsay Brown, Trade Show Coordinator

You have an industry trade show coming up in the next couple of months. Your booth space is solidified, your objectives outlined, a theme established, booth structure prepped, furnishings ordered, graphics approved, literature printed, advertising submitted, pre-show invitations designed and pre-show email blasts scheduled. All you have left to do to tie everything together is promotional items – but how do you choose what to give away? These tips will help guide you in determining what’s worthy of staying in the bag and what’s destined for the recycle bin.

Consider the Target Audience

If you want your promotional items to be well received and memorable, you must first examine who your target attendance is. Take a look at demographic information such as gender, age, geographic location; and also consider behaviors, attitudes and values. This will help clearly define your target audience and tap into its wants and needs. When you take the time to get to know your target market, your brand appears intelligent and significantly more relevant to those you most want to reach.

Consider the Objectives and Theme

Trade show objectives drive a theme, which sets the platform for your brand image and presence at the show. A theme provides consistency from graphics and animations to direct mail invitations, website promotion and advertisements. Let this clear and well-thought-out theme play into your promotional items so your audience can identify with what you are promoting at the show and remember it long after it adjourns.

FACT – 83 percent of consumers like receiving promotional products with an advertising message, according to the finding from “Effectiveness of Promotional Products as an Advertising Medium.”

FACT – 76 percent of consumers who currently possess promotional items they received within the last year can recall the advertiser, the message and the promotional product received.

Consider Practicality

Usability is vital when it comes to choosing promotional items. Consumers are far more likely to keep items they find useful. Practical promotional products ensure that your customers and prospects will continue to use your branded pieces long after they are received, thus generating continuous brand exposure.

FACT – 69 percent of people generally keep promotional products if they have a use for it.

FACT – Consumers keep promotional products in their kitchen (91 percent), workspace (74 percent), bedroom (55 percent), and in pockets or purses (24 percent) because they are useful.

Consider Quality

Do no sacrifice on quality to capitalize on a lower price. Your brand image is on the line!

Consider the perception of your company based on the quality of your giveaways. For example, if you invest in cheap pens that quickly run out of ink, recipients may question your company’s focus on quality and attention to detail, then promptly toss it in the trash bin. On the flip side, if you invest in high-quality pens which are nicely designed and long-lasting, they would be used frequently because of proven dependability, increasing your number of impressions and brand recognition exponentially.

FACT – More than 50 percent of promotional item recipients keep a promotional product anywhere from one year to more than four years.

Familiarizing yourself with your target audience, aligning your promotional strategy with the pre-established theme and objectives and committing to practicality and quality is a surefire way to ensure your promotional items are not destined for the recycle bin.

Taking time to learn about your audience, creating a connection to your theme and providing an item that is useful to your audience will ensure your promotional items have impact. When it comes to giveaways for your next show, you’ll have it in the bag.

HOW LONG WILL THEY STAY AROUND? More than 50 percent of promotional item recipients keep a promotional product anywhere from one year to more than four years.

Did You Miss Our Last Branding Article?

Read Branding Basics: If You Think Your Brand is Just Your Logo, Think Again where we covered what a brand is; maintaining a strong brand; and why you should care.