Mar 24, 2011

Tradeshow Giveaways 101

Time to bring on the banners, assemble the booths and start garnering mindshare—it’s tradeshow season. As companies seek to woo attendees and make their booths the must-see attraction, promotional items play a key role. When they’re creative and eye-catching, they can be a magnet-like force in drawing an audience to a booth, as well as an integral part of improving brand recall and perception. According to the Promotional Products Association International, 52% of recipients do business with a company after receiving its promotional item. Another study found that promotional products work hardest in the kitchen and at the office, among other findings.

Here are a few tips to help companies make their tradeshow giveaways—and, by extension, their brand—exciting and memorable.

Stay true to company identity Let creativity reign while selecting items that reflect your company spirit. Be wary of cheap gimmicks—you don’t want recipients to associate a broken item with your brand. (And how you package those items can have a real impact on perception.)

Know your demographic It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on promotional items if they’re not directed to the right audience. As you plan tradeshow purchases, consider the venue and the profile of attendees—including age, profession and likely interests.

Keep the excitement going Use pre-show mailers to generate excitement about your promotional items. Also, consider using your promotional items at the show as part of a larger contest to maximize your audience’s interaction with your brand.

Choose items with staying power Giving a calendar, especially at a tradeshow early in the year, gives your brand 12 months of visibility. Magnets and magnetic picture frames are other popular items that recipients tend to use and see all year long.

Go for utility Be memorable by being useful. Branded sports bottles, eco-friendly grocery totes and journals (someone always forgets a notebook!) are popular, utilitarian gifts.

Keep recipients healthy Everyone is shaking hands and interacting in close quarters at tradeshows. In flu season, especially, as germs increasingly join the workforce, popular promotional items include branded hand sanitizers, lip balm, aspirin, band-aids and other first-aid products.

Cater to travelers Ceramic or other delicate items may get broken in transit. If your audience has flown in for the show, avoid bulky/oversized items and other products that may not make it onto the plane.

Give top guests some TLC Express appreciation to top clients and partners whom you’ve specially invited to the booth. Consider ordering a small quantity of higher-end items and reserving them for these visitors. Personalizing high-end pens, portfolios and flash drives for these recipients is a nice touch.

Consider the quantity When possible, it can be better to err on the side of over-ordering, especially when leftover items can be used at future shows, and since ordering in bulk will get you a better deal.

Want more info?
Download our FREE tradeshow tips presentation at

Need signage for your tradeshow booth? The Icebox has a new division specializing in large format printing and event displays. Call for 404-522-COOL more information.


  1. Thank you for sharing all your fabulous ideas.

  2. Great post and very real. The biggest distinction we've seen is that some companies make tradeshow giveaways a large part of the budget right from the beginning.


  3. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it. Trade Show Exhibit Displays

  4. All great ideas you have posted here. I really liked the comment about appealing to travelers. I think a lot of people ignore the fact that travelers will have to board a plane and head home; if there freebies do not make it, they through it out. Great post!

  5. Trade Show preparation and execution can often be hectic at times and it is not uncommon to forget important things that are crucial to your success. The following items can come in handy at your booth and should be included in your trade show giveaway