What is the best promotional product to give away at Trade Shows

Events PlusAs a promotional product expert, no doubt you get asked all that time, “What is the best promotional product to give away at Trade Shows?” Of course the answer is “It Depends.” Massive amounts of money are wasted on poorly thought out, poorly presented and even pointless promotional products every year.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of promotional products. Like all business decisions, a little bit of strategy makes all the difference on the return that you get. As with a great deal of marketing, businesses seem to forget that the promotional product is not about them or about what they think is “cool” but it is all about their customer and their prospect. It has to meet their needs and be something that they want and will use.

Here are five of the key factors to consider when selling your client promotional products specifically for a trade show:

1 – What is the Outcome they want?
If they are just giving their visitors a gift then they will give them something different than if they want their visitor to buy something.

The outcome maybe that they want their existing customer to feel appreciated and show that they value their patronage. If that’s the case a branded Frisbee is not for them, they will need something a little more upmarket. Another outcome they may want is for their prospect to see their logo frequently and be reminded of their services so that when the time is right they come to them.

Understanding the outcome or purpose of the promotional product is essential. So what is the Outcome your client is after?

2 – What is the Value of the Gift?
What is the perceived value of the gift? This is different to what your client will spend; it is what the gift means for the recipient. For example, elegant cufflinks with no branding may be seen to be far more valuable than a branded drink bottle. For others who may be in to exercise, the drink bottle will be of more value.

To understand the best value, you need to help your customer to first consider who is their target market and how will they perceive the gift. Everyone will place a difference value on the gift but it is the target market or gift target and the purpose of the gift that will best define its value.

3 – Does your client need Two Tier Gifting?
Some of the most cost effective use of promotional products is two tier gifting. That is, the quality of the visitor determines the quality of their gift. Trade Show visitors are renowned for their lust for “freebies” and many of them seem to arrive early and run around collecting anything that is free. They can be managed using the Two Tier approach.

The first tier is a relatively inexpensive gift that meets the clients outcome needs and that they don’t mind sacrificing for low quality leads. These items are given freely to any who ask for them.

The second tier is for a high quality lead. The conversation may start when they claim a first tier gift and as the discussion continues, your client discovers that they are exactly the type of customer they want. In return for getting further information about them or to continue the relationship, your customer will give them the second tier gift. A higher valued object suited to their ideal prospect.

The two-tier approach ensures financially responsibility with your clients marketing spend and getting the best return on that spend.

4 – What is the Cost per Impression?
This is one of the least considered but most important factors for your clients when choosing a promotional product. Too often companies spend significant money on funky items that are either single use or their prospect then turn around and give the gift to their kids, never to be seen again.

When your clients put their logo or contact details on an item, make sure it is an item that their customers and prospects will see time and time again. Give their details a chance to really embed into their customers psyche. This is why items such as branded shirts and office equipment are so effective.

For example, when your client gives a prospect a branded polo shirt they may wear it on many different occasions, and then as it starts to show wear and tear, continue to wear it around the house or garden. Over a prolonged period, the cost per impression or cost every time they see the brand is very low.

Another good item for this is a branded USB key. The continual use of the key with a brand on it can work out to a low cost per impression. But if they are giving out a USB key, maximise the opportunity and load it with a PDF detailing products and services, a short video or even a personalised message saying thanks for coming to that particular show.

You can use this cost per impression measure as a valuable selling tool.

5 – Brief your Clients on How to Distribute the Gifts

It is not just providing great products that is important to your client. You also need to give them advice on how best to use them and to instruct their staff and promotional contractors to do the same.

They have spent thousands of dollars on promotional items, they have a strategy for distribution, they have a specific outcome they are after when they are given out and if they don’t brief their team on what they are after, then they may have just wasted all of that time, effort and money. It is heart breaking to see people on the stand just distributing the products at random.

If you consider these five factors and how they may apply to your clients, you are more likely to get a larger sale, a happier customer and a repeat customer as well.

About the author:
Warwick Merry – PCO Association conference MC – 2015 – 2017.
Warwick Merry is the founder of The Exhibiting and Sponsorship Institute, host of the Get More Success show and a Success Speaker.
Warwick Merry is a Master MC, Exhibiting Expert and the host of the PCO Associations Meetings Industry Insights program. To watch the latest episodes click HERE