Trash or treasure
Are you debating the value of a tradeshow giveaway? Walk around any trade or consumer exhibition and you will be able to collect a bagful of advertising specialties or giveaway items all designed to promote. But look a little more closely, and then ask yourself how many of these items really do an effective job? Are they something you want to keep, or are they likely to end up in the bin, or better still, in someone else’s possession?
Admittedly, everyone enjoys receiving a gift, even if it is “just a little something.” Gift giving creates a favourable impression. It can build goodwill, be an incentive, communicate a message and create awareness. However, before jumping into the giveaway game for your next exhibition or event or if you happen to be there already, consider the following nine points using GIVEAWAY as an acronym to help improve the quality of your gift choice.
Give something worthwhile.
Ask yourself what do you want to achieve by giving away a premium item? Your giveaway items should be designed to increase your memorability, communicate, motivate, promote or increase recognition. Not only is it important that the message has an impact, but also the premium itself.
Identify your purpose.
There is a multitude of different items you could consider as a premium. However, which one will best suit your purpose? To select the right item, you need to decide your objective. Do you want it to enhance a theme, convey a specific message or educate your target audience? A clear purpose should help make your selection process easier. A promotional specialist can also help you make an effective selection. Remember that your company image is reflected in whatever you choose to give away.
Verify who should receive your premium.
Having a clear objective for your promotional item will also help you decide who should receive it. You may consider having different gifts for different types of visitors. You might have different quality gifts for your key customers and prospects and other gifts for general passers by. Make sure that you keep the quality gifts hidden and only offer them to special visitors when they exit your exhibition stand. It’s a token of your appreciation that they paid you a visit.
Endeavour to have your giveaway tie into your marketing theme.
Is there an item that naturally complements your marketing message? Have the message imprinted on the item, and make sure that your company name, logo and phone number appears clearly. An important aspect of any gift is memorability. The receiver needs to remember whom it was from, long after the fact.
Allocate a budget.
The price range for promotional items is enormous. Quality, quantity and special orders, all impact the price. Establish a budget as part of your exhibition marketing plan. Consider ordering the same item for several different exhibitions. The greater the quantity of your order, the lower the individual unit price.
Work out what visitors need to do.
Consider the different things visitors could do to qualify them for a gift item. There are several ways to use your promotional item effectively. For example, as a reward for visitors participating in a demonstration, presentation or contest; as a token of your appreciation when visitors have given you qualifying information about their specific needs; as a thank-you for stopping at the exhibition stand. Avoid leaving items out for anyone to take. This diminishes value and has little or no memorability factor. If you’re interest in having the giveaway directly help your future sales, consider handing out a discount coupon or a gift certificate that requires future contact with your company for redemption. Use promotional items that will help generate frequent sales visits to customers and prospects, such as calling you for free refills.
Assess how to complement your exhibiting objectives.
Promotional items can be used to pre-qualify your prospects. One company uses playing cards. Prior to the show, they send “kings” to their key customers, “queens” to suppliers, “jacks” to new or hot prospects. They request that the cards are brought to the exhibition stand in exchange for a special gift. When the cards are presented, the exhibition stand staff already knows certain information about the visitor. They can then act on their previous knowledge and use time with the visitor more productively.
Yell about your giveaway.
If your giveaway is sufficiently novel or useful, it can actively help to draw prospects to your display. So make sure they know about it. Send a teaser invitation with details of the giveaway, or create a two-piece promotional piece, sending one part out to key prospects prior to the show and telling them to collect the other half at your Exhibition stand. Remember: The more of an incentive it is, the more likely they are to come by to collect it.
Sow the seeds of success.
In order to evaluate the success of your giveaway programme, it’s essential to establish a tracking mechanism to measure its effectiveness. If you’re using a redemption item, code it so that you know it resulted from the show. Post-show follow-up could include a question about the promotional item. Did the visitor remember receiving it, and how useful was the item? After the show, critique your giveaway with your exhibition stand staff team: Did it draw specific prospects to the display? How clearly did the message come across? Is the message sufficiently visible? Is the giveaway useful or unique enough that they want to keep and use it? Was it eye-catching enough to persuade passers by to stop? Did your customers find it useful? Did it project the right corporate image?
All these questions, and more, need to be considered.
There are plenty of exciting promotional items for you to choose from so that you can avoid the usual pens, pencils and key chains. Make your giveaway work for you, and it will be money well invested.