Too often when we think about
promotional products we think - neat, nifty, trinkets, junk or freebees. And if
this is the case we are missing the boat completely. Promotional products are
all about why trade shows are called trade shows. It's giving something and then
getting something in return. It's using that item as an integrated marketing
tool to create memorability long after the show.
Your giveaway is only a concept
- that link to you that remains in the mind of the recipient. It's an idea that
you want to be internalized, not the product you are giving. So what do you need
to consider before simply going to a catalogue and selecting an item?
Start with your objectives
- why are you attending this show
- who is your targeted audience
- what do you want to take home?
Do you want to increase name
awareness? Do you want to drive traffic to your exhibit? Do you want attendees
to view several of your demonstrations or sit through your live presentation? Do
you want only qualified attendees to receive the item or everyone who comes into
Once you have addressed these
questions, you can then begin to select an item that will truly work for you and
serve as a tool to support your objectives. If your objective is to increase
name awareness then you might want everyone who walks by or into your booth to
receive your giveaway. If you are targeting specific attendees - such as CEO's
you will be far more selective.
A question that arises often is
"Is it OK to use two different levels of giveaways?" The answer is yes, one to
the key and highly targeted prospects or current customers, and another to those
attendees that do spend time and communicate with staff who are still unknowns.
When used effectively
promotional products can help promote TOMA - Top of Mind Awareness. That
is, when combined with your theme or message, the giveaway can help that
attendee remember you up to 14 weeks after the show. And if you are not selling
directly on the floor, this is incredibly valuable. The most recent study
conducted in 2000 by PPAI at O'Hare and Dallas airports indicated that 73% of
business travelers surveyed were carrying an ad specialty item. 73% could
remember the name of the company 6 months after the show. 61% carried more than
one item. 41% said they had had the item(s) for 2 years.
Often times, promotional
products can be over-attracting and non-selective particularly if you have the
newest, hottest item on the floor.
everyone on the show floor wants one, and something for nothing has great
allure. Non-selective because those that want your gift often have no interest
at all in you or your product.
How can you make your
promotional product best work for you?
it communicate a specific message about your company, your product, or a new
service. Perhaps your company has just been part of a merger.
Have it promote an idea, a theme, the benefit of doing business with you.
Maybe you have just instituted a 24/7 service hotline.
the attendee to visit you with an offer of a free gift. We know that this notion
does attract, but make certain the list is very targeted and those that are
invited are either potential customers or current customers.
the attendee for taking the time to stop and visit you. Perhaps to receive the
item they need to participate in several of your demos, visit with a staff
person, sit through your live presentation.
Preparing your staff in advance
and communicating with them either in advance will assure all works they way it
was intended. The staff need to be aware of what the promotional product is,
where it will be kept, who will receive it, and what the attendee needs to do to
Here are some things to
consider in selection of a promotional product.
it have a natural link with your message? Is it useful, tasteful, attractive, a
your audience - audiences change from show to show. What may be appropriate to
one group may be a turnoff to another.
the item specific to your business so there is some type of logical
tie-in. Can you actually use your product as the item? A company that
manufactures doormats and carpets turned their product into a coaster. That way,
the attendee can actually touch and feel the item long after the
show is over.
your giveaway. Be sure the prospect has a means of reaching you after the
show has ended. Include your company name( not just initials), your phone, your
email, your web.
Be selective - avoid the hit and runner. Keep your items out of
sight unless your objective is for every attendee to receive your item.
the item have value? Gifts that have perceived
value to the recipient are kept and used. Others are
given or thrown away. Do you view it as a trinket or junk? If so, that attitude
will be communicated.
it useful? If so, it will be kept and used. Think about what you carry
with you when you travel or what sits on your desk. Consider "on the desk"
instead of in the desk. That way your message , your logo, your company with
remain prominent. A luggage tag, a
leather coaster, a good pen, a paperclip holder, a business card holder, a
calendar, a clock, a holder for post-it notes, a mousepad, a screen cleaner.
being a copycat - after all how many do you need or can you use?
wary of food items even if personalized. Once they are consumed their
value is lost. Also be aware that often the largest market for these will be
other exhibit staffers who may not have a chance to eat but know they can find
sustenance or that quick sugar fix at your booth.
Remember for your promotional
product to be viewed as something other than a trinket, it must be the idea and
concept that link you with the item you select in an integrated manner.