Every booth at a trade show is different. Each exhibitor works long and hard to create that unique experience that will draw attention and ultimately potential clients, to their booth. In a room full of prospective leads, you can bet that companies will go above and beyond to make that touch-point connection. And what we’ve noticed is that sometimes the perfect takeaway items can draw a crowd.

Giveaways, if executed wisely, are an investment in brand equity and relationships. In contrast, if executed poorly, these giveaways can be a waste of money, time, and even sour a company brand-name if perceived as cheap or useless. So, the question is, how do you choose an appropriate giveaway? Here are a few questions to consider as your company looks for the perfect option.

What is the purpose?

A giveaway item should make a statement. No company wants to spend money on something that will be thrown away. It’s important to utilize the opportunity to give away an item that has an intention and purpose to the company. These giveaway items ought to communicate and promote a message or increase recognition in some way. So, as a company, decide what purpose the giveaway will serve and make sure it leaves an impact.

Is it desirable?

Is your giveaway a pack of company pens? If so, the demand for it will most likely be low. Though more desirable giveaways may make you fear your company dollar, it doesn’t have to. Your company can find a quality, budget-friendly giveaway item that, in the end, may even serve you more ROI. Because the truth is, even clients who make top dollar, will still stand in a long line waiting for a giveaway that speaks to them. However, make a dubious effort to understand your target audience before you choose a giveaway - for it to truly speak to them, it’s important to know who they are. Once that’s understood, choose a giveaway that has people running to your booth from every side of the trade show.

What is your budget?

There are ways to cut costs when looking for a quality giveaway item.  Quantity discounts do exist, and we recommend using the same giveaway for multiple trade shows to save on quantity shipping discounts. Give yourself room in the budget for a quality giveaway that creates “buzz,” knowing it will generate leads and ultimately that return on investment you long for. A giveaway is ultimately an investment in a relationship - a relationship that could turn long-term and be worth millions of dollars to your company. Be sure you set these giveaway dollars aside in the budget each year.

Should VIP customers have different giveaways?

If you want yet another reason to use a quality giveaway, let it be that it can also serve as a marketing tool for your company, especially your more VIP clients or potential clients. Whatever the item is, coin it to your brand. Also, look for an item that effectively ties into your overall marketing theme. Imprint the message on the giveaway item, as well as your company’s logo, but make it special. For example, if you do decide to go with a water bottle, make it a desirable one that everyone loves and wants. Many know the brand Yeti and the fad for their stainless-steel tumblers – it’s a desirable brand with a lot of buzz around their beverage holders. This product is probably too high of a price for an everyday giveaway, but, it could be an excellent choice for your VIP giveaway. Offering your VIPs a specific, desirable and more high-ticket giveaway can build intrigue and appreciation.

Giveaways need to be selected strategically. They’re smart resources that are more often than not overlooked by companies. These products aren't just trade show “swag” so-to-speak, but they’re marketing tools, brand generators, lead-catchers, and also cultivate memorability long after the show ends. They’re worth it - if done well. So, don’t fall into the lie that says giveaways are petty; instead, put forth strategic effort into the resource and watch how it affects your trade show impressions. You won’t be disappointed.