JB’s Space: Trade Show Swag Strategy

What’s the best ROI for a piece of trade show swag? We used to call things like this “tchotchke” – loosely defined as, “… a small bauble or miscellaneous item”, but today it’s called “swag”.  So when considering the value of the swag, some people measure the return on investment with branding, others with how often someone uses the swag, and some might have a call to action with a phone number or web page that users can go to get a special offer.

The idea is to not just give something away, but to use the opportunity to create a possible lead today or in the future, and to provide a prospect with something with which they’ll remember your brand. In most cases it takes planning and time for the call to action to work. The fact that someone made it to your trade show booth and picked up the swag at least offers an on-going opportunity to promote your brand.

Some organizations look at the overall trade show and trade show booth theme and try to include a giveaway that is related to that theme. An example might be a golf theme with a putting green in the booth and the giveaway being golf tees, golf balls, or a golf hat with your branded logo.

Business or Consumer
There is a huge difference between B2B and B2C trade shows. The key is to look at the demographics of who you want to target and then provide something of value to that person. An example would be that an influencer in the B2B space may value something that is functional or that would look good on their desk.

A consumer may want something that they can use when not working, like a shirt, pens, coasters, or Frisbee.

Business Trade Show Swag
For business oriented trade shows an argument can be made to offer something that is related to the products or services that the company offers.

Examples include product samples, mouse pads, or jump drives – all with your branded company logo on them.

Many business trade shows take place during the week and take attendees away from their families. It may be useful to offer a giveaway that the attendee can take home to their children or spouse. Examples include branded stuffed animals, toys, or a gift card. to their favorite smoothy place.

As in most cases it all comes down to budget and time. Giveaway items can range from $0.50 to $10 or more, so projecting how many booth attendees you expect (perhaps from previous shows) will help you determine your budget. The goal would be to bring just enough swag to give away so that your marketing team does not have to ship anything back. No marketing team wants a closet full of unused swag.

Bottom line: Consider a giveaway during your trade show booth planning process. Do not wait until the last minute. Make sure that the giveaway compliments your brand and your overall trade show theme. Consider the purpose of the swag, is it a way to generate leads, does it have a call to action? Is it unique and memorable –something that will help keep your brand top-of-mind?  If so, then you know you’ve made the right choice.