These days, giving something away at a trade show isn’t what you’d call a strategy – it’s a basic fundamental. Whether they admit it or not, one of the primary motivators for so many members of the public who attend trade shows is to leave with at least one large carrier bag packed with all manner of random bits and pieces…some more useful than others.
It’s no secret that in marketing terms, free gifts have the potential to be more powerful than pretty much anything else on earth. After all, absolutely nobody can resist a freebie – especially one that serves real use and relevance to them. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that all freebies are necessarily good freebies – especially when looking at things from a business perspective. It’s all well and good to line your exhibition stands with all the giveaways in the world, but if they aren’t right for you and your brand, they could very well have the opposite of the intended effect.
So if you happen to be considering a trade show in the near future and intend to give something away, be sure to ask yourself the following questions before even considering doing so:
1 – Is it Relevant?
First of all, does the item/s you intend to give away have anything whatsoever to do with your brand? If for example you specialise in making quite beautiful cakes for weddings, are you seriously giving thought to handing out coupons for 20% off your next bag of quick-drying cement? OK, so it’s a pretty extreme example at the wrong end of the spectrum, but nonetheless illustrates the point that relevance counts for a lot. Think about your brand, your image, your primary specialism and what it is your customers are interested in.
2 – Is it Useful?
Something else to take into account is whether or not your intended giveaway is useful.This can also be important as while novelties are all well and good, there’s nothing more appealing than a giveaway that can actually be used in some respect. Even something as simple as a pen, a notepad, a coffee cup or anything else of a similar nature – these are all the kinds of things that are universally useful and will bring your brand long-term exposure. By contrast, a simple key ring might lose its appeal painfully quickly.
3 – Is it Portable?
Try to remember that as the recipients of the giveaways will no doubt be wandering around the exhibition for quite some time to come, it needs to be a giveaway that is portable. This means nothing too heavy, nothing too large, nothing too awkward and nothing that is exquisitely delicate.
4 – Is it Unique (ish)?
One of the best ways of deciding exactly what to give away at an exhibition of any kind is to first thing about what your closest rivals will be giving to their customers. Once you’ve done this, it’s simply a case of thinking of something that nobody else will have thought of. The reason being that a clever idea in terms of a giveaway is only a clever idea the first time the recipient takes hold of it. If they go home with 25 of exactly the same thing, chances are the gift idea isn’t going to have a great deal of impact.
5 – Is it High Quality?
Try to remember that the quality of the items you choose to give away will be interpreted as a direct reflection of the overall quality of your business as a whole. If you give something away that is clearly bargain-basement and has been brought along just for the sake of it, you will not be regarded as a business that really cares about its customers. By contrast, if you bring something along of the utmost quality that clearly has plenty of value and shows real thought and professionalism, your brand will be portrayed in a much more positive light.
6 – Is it Generous?
Last but not least, it’s a good idea to ensure that whatever it is you choose to give away conveys a sense of generosity, rather than frugality. For example, if you are in any kind of catering business, giving away its ample food is the immediate, obvious and ideal solution that comes to mind. Nevertheless, there’s a big difference between giving away the tiniest crumbs of a now-stale cake and handing out generous servings of the highest quality to anyone wishing to sample your products. The latter may represent a more expensive investment, but it is an investment that is guaranteed to pay off.