Make an Impact with Swag


Marketers, start your engines: the fall tradeshow season is quickly approaching, and while you tackle big picture event strategy, don’t forget the devil is in the details.  What are we talking about? Swag, and the impact it can have on tradeshow success. While premiums primarily drive booth traffic and create band awareness, your event team should tie giveaways with larger goals and pre- and post-event communications for a cohesive campaign.  Consider event priorities: Are you gathering names for nurture in a new sales territory? Are you announcing a new product? Are you a show regular, attending to maintain momentum?  These factors can determine what types of premiums you leverage to build brand, draw attention and create buzz. Combine those goals with the following tips for maximum mileage:

  • Make it Relevant – Understand the audience and select accordingly. Where a technical crowd appreciates gadgets, HR professionals might prefer charitable or wellness-based take-aways.
  • Make it Useful – Perhaps the most useful giveaway received to date is a screwdriver set (which I use regularly), but don’t ignore other obvious useful items: food, drinks and snacks.  Brownie points if they’re branded.
  • Make it Memorable – It’s a good idea to provide notebooks and pens to presentation attendees as a courtesy, but they’re lackluster booth premiums. Select unique items that tie with broader messaging.  We’ve seen custom superhero action figures, magic tricks, and other unique items – and, more importantly, we remember the companies and solutions with which they’re associated.
  • Make it Visible – Swag won’t drive traffic if no one knows what it is. Let it do its job and keep it out in the open. Also, think visible on the floor – there’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing a sea of reusable tote bags in your company’s colors during the show.
  • Make it Portable – Luggage space is prime real estate, and if you want attendees to take your swag home, be sure it’s convenient to pack.  Steer clear of mugs, umbrellas, and anything too bulky for lasting brand power.
  • Make it Easy - Work with a rock star vendor who will help you brainstorm, give feedback, work within your budget, and send samples. They should understand your brand and goals, and make suggestions based on popularity, quality, availability and audience.

So, get thinking now – it seems like all the best premiums have the longest lead times. With a little creativity and planning, you can make a significant impact with tradeshow loot that’s much more than just “free stuff.”

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