Design Elements – Giveaways

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Trade Show Giveaways (Swag)

Trade shows are about building relationships and trust. The gift of giving can help spark conversation and initiate a new relationship, or even reward the loyalty of an existing one. There are thousands of choices when it comes to0 giveaway items, but the goal is the same – to capture the interest and attention of attendees at the show and have them remember you afterwards.

There are four primary categories of giveaways:

  • Apparel (T-shirts, hats, golf shirts, etc..)
  • Office supplies (pens, calendars, clocks, mouse pads, mugs, etc..)
  • Fun stuff (toys, gag gifts, electronics, etc..)
  • Perishables (candy, mints, food and beverage, etc..)

Giveaways are both a gift and a marketing tool. If used effectively, the buyer will appreciate the gesture and will recall the sellers marketing campaign and product. These are all positive benefits of giveaways.

Giveaways can be a distraction if improperly managed or poorly incorporated into the marketing campaign. Booth staffers spend too much time guarding them from pilferage, and buyers, so singularly focused on the giveaway, can’t recall (or don’t care) what company distributed them.

Giveaways carefully folded into a marketing campaign are the most effective use of this tool. The premium incentives industry is filled with companies that provide all kinds of products that can be printed, embossed, programmed, or custom-made. A number of them are dedicated almost exclusively to trade show giveaways.

Here is an excellent example of an effective giveaway campaign:

Corillian, a company that provides banking software, was exhibiting at a show in New Orleans. New Orleans has a world famous jazz club called The House of Blues. As part of the promotion strategy, Corillian reserved the place for a party on the last night of the show. Jim Belushi and his Blues band were hired to provide the entertainment. As a giveaway, the company purchased harmonicas with the Corillian name imprinted on each one. Booth staff handed out harmonicas to attendees for all three days of the show. They also gave out laminated guest passes to qualified clients and attendees for the private party. When the guests entered the House of Blues, company employees greeted them and again gave out the harmonicas. During the show, Jim Belushi pulled out one of these imprinted harmonicas and used it to rock the crowd! It was a great promotion strategy, perfectly executed. This was clearly an ideal use of a trade show giveaway.

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