Are giveaways at exhibitions useful or useless? The truth is; some are useful, some are useless. So what makes the difference? Here, Richard Edwards, director of Quatreus, explains that you need to work what you are trying to achieve first – promoting your brand, selling directly, or collecting customer data.
The key to a useful giveaway is to make sure it is aligned with your company’s key objectives.
Broadly speaking, key objectives tend to fall into one of three categories:
- Creating more awareness around your brand
- Pushing particular selling points
- Collecting as many contact details as possible
So, when planning an exhibition giveaway the first step is to pin down your key objectives.
Once you’ve decided on your key objectives it is time to think about what type of giveaways will best help you achieve them.
Based on the three possible objectives, here is some advice:
Objective 1: Awareness
Your giveaways should focus on visibility. Frequency of impressions is a key indicator as to how memorable your brand will be. As such, your giveaways need to be designed entirely around your brand name and logo and be the type of item that people would actually use, preferably in a working environment.
Giveaways like branded post-it notes can be great in achieving this objective as they are useful, visible by staff at the prospects office, and notes written on them will be passed between colleagues.
Some other ideas that we have seen work well include:
– An environmentally-friendly tote bag – everyone else’s giveaways go into yours
– Branded teabags – So that everyone in their office will know your brand
– Something for the kids – Novel branded toys can keep your logo bouncing around a prospects home for years to come
Objective 2: Brand messaging
There is no single best way to convey these messages and to get them remembered, but your giveaways can provide useful visual reminders and/or include extra detail. For example, a print and fulfillment company may be able to demonstrate their personalised printing process on a small scale, printing visitors a personalised business card to take away with them.
If your USPs are more complex and difficult to visually represent, then brochures are tempting but these are often lost among the pile and may never be read. Quatreus has helped clients combat brochure overload by sending them information as a digital attachment. It goes straight to the visitor’s inbox, while they are still on your stand.
This technology, called qbit, allows you to form an instant and lasting connection with visitors without loading them up with expensive and heavy printed brochures.
Some other creative ideas for you to try:
- Witty t-shirts – turning prospects into walking billboards
- Branded USB drive – Small USBs with lots of space will get used a lot, and there is the opportunity to put some fun and/or informative digital goods on there too
- A clever gadget – for example, if you run a foreign exchange platform you could give away a free costing app that would instantly show them how much they would save by using your site
Objective 3: Contacts
Traditionally this was done by exchanging business cards, but the sheer scale of modern trade shows makes finding the right business card afterwards an event in itself.
Using a cool freebie as an incentive for people to pass on their contact details can work but it does mean some visitors may simply signup to get the freebie, providing low-quality leads at a high cost.
Digital signup or contact exchange can be facilitated with an online data capture tool like qbit. There are also QR-codes printed onto signage or flyers that can be scanned with a smartphone to reach a signup form. Or a live-tweet screen can provide visitors with the perfect excuse to connect over social media whilst contributing to your marketing effort.
Some other interesting ideas include:
Demonstrate with their details – Use your product or service to demonstrate using a visitor’s details, e.g. Quatreus might use qbit to help sell qbit, collecting contact details in the process
Prize draws – Giving away one high value item to the winner of a prize draw can often be more attractive than little giveaways
Offer coffee – Good-quality free coffee or tea is the holy grail of trade-show giveaways, and the advantage of offering it is that it keeps visitors at your stand while they drink it
In conclusion, whatever objective you decide to pursue, the important thing is to think creatively. If you can come up with a creative item that is fun or useful, and which represents your brand and/or USPs, then it will draw in visitors and you’ll remain in their minds long after the exhibition has finished.
Richard Edwards is the director of Quatreus Ltd, which specialises in creating face to face experiences that strengthen relationships and improve communication – for both internal and external audiences. Activities include customer facing events and activities, exhibitions, trade-shows, road-shows and interactive experience centres, as well as conferences, AGMs, and staff and stakeholder engagement programmes. For more information, visit www.quatreus.com.
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