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Using Promotional Products In Trade Show Marketing

May 2, 2008
Your company's use of promotional products could make or break your exhibiting program, so it is important to carefully consider your use of trade show giveaways before the event. Optimizing your promotional products for maximum effectiveness at a minimal cost will allow you to increase the return on your investment; making trade shows more profitable endeavors for your company. By examining typical promotional products and their effect on visitors and attendees, you can drastically improve the effectiveness of your trade show giveaways while keeping your costs stable.

Typical promotional products include pens, stress balls, notepads, and candy. Trade show giveaways like this work well if you're attending a small local trade show and you're exhibiting using a table top display, but large corporate shows require more thought and energy. If you hand the CEO of a mid-sized company a stress ball, it will probably end up in the trash can within the hour. So what can you do to grab the attention of top level executives without spending a fortune?

1. Offer promotional products that directly relate to the products and/or services you sell. If you sell stereo equipment, offer attendees gift cards to iTunes or another online music retailer. If you sell cell phones, offer attendees inexpensive but functional accessories for their cell phones. Your trade show giveaway should be directly related to the product you sell in some way because this will ensure that visitors to your trade show display leave the show with a good idea of who you are and what your company is all about.

2. Offer trade show giveaways that match the branding environment created by your trade show display and your trade show literature. Promotional products should be an extension of your company's branding efforts, and should reflect the look and feel of your trade show marketing program as a whole. It would be unwise to give away an incredible and expensive promotional item while exhibiting with a poorly designed pop up display. If you use a modern, high-end trade show exhibit, your promotional products should continue that feeling with attendees. If you're not careful, the feel of your promotional items may negate the feel of your exhibit and ruin the work of your trade show booth staff.

3. Be sure to put your company name on the promotional product. Only 30% of attendees can remember the name of the company who gave them a promotional giveaway, but if your company name is written on the item, 100% of visitors will remember who gave it to them. If your promotional product is useful and valuable, your potential clients will remember the name of your company for years to come.

4. Tailor your promotional item to the type of client you are attempting to solicit. If you sell products to businesses, you will have more success with a work-related promotional item. The attendee is likely to keep the work-related item at work, which is also the place where he or she is likely to make a work-related purchase. If you sell consumer goods, it is important to offer your potential clients promotional items that they are likely to take home with them after the trade show.

Generally speaking, promotional items are a great way to improve the return on your investment at a trade show, but following a few simple rules will ensure that your trade show giveaways don't harm your overarching marketing efforts.
About the Author
Andy Keeler is the President of MODdisplays, a leading provider of portable trade show displays and trade show booths. If you're shopping online for Xpressions displays or Entasi displays, look no further than MODdisplays for your exhibiting needs.
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