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How Promotional Products Complement Your Trade Show Display

by Gwen Parsons 4. February 2015 16:30

Promotional products can play an important role in an integrated trade show marketing program. They can be used to draw traffic to your trade show booth, to target your audience or serve as a parting gift to thank visitors for their time.

Promotional products are usually given away for to visitors in hopes of positively influencing their purchase decision. So it’s important to keep two points in mind when choosing your promotional items. First, your gift should align with your brand or the campaign theme expressed in your trade show display. Second, the item you giveaway should provide value to the recipient.

The Advertising Specialties Institute conducts a Global Impressions Study each year. Their findings confirm that the best trade show promotional products are those attendees will find useful after the show.

Promotional items keep your brand visible to recipients so they remember you. For example, people keep desk accessories for up to 14 months and over 60% keep them at the office. This may explain why practical items like writing instruments and USB drives are among the most often cited giveaways. Calendars are a popular gift if you want to give visitors an item they will reference.

Shirts, bags and caps are popular too. Trade show attendees keep wearables such as caps and shirts if they’re attractive. Plus your brand gets the added benefit of being seen by more people.

Premium giveaways can also be used to target customer types. For example, reserve a higher priced gift for your most qualified prospects and offer a different, yet useful, item to all other visitors. Promote a gift to your top prospects in your pre-show marketing campaign and when they arrive to claim it they’ve identified themselves to your booth staff.

For further details on promotional product preferences by age, gender, income, geography or political persuasion, read the full report.

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.


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Promotional Products are the Gifts that Keep on Giving

by Gwen Parsons 6. June 2013 01:06

Swag is a staple at trade shows and events. Promotional items enable exhibitors to thank visitors for stopping in, and to extend the brand experience beyond the show floor. That’s because visitors keep their premium giveaways for an average of six months. Since your giveaway is the ad that keeps on giving, you want to choose wisely.

Ideally you want a promotional product that will not only reflect positively on your company’s brand, but that will also align with your marketing strategy and creative theme.  Whatever you select, invest in a giveaway that is durable and, most importantly, useful. Usefulness is the key reason recipients keep their promotional items.

The most popular ad specialties have a practical use. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Advertising Specialty Institute last fall, the ten most popular promotional items are:


1. Writing instruments
2. Shirts
3. Bags
4. Calendars
5. Desk/office accessories
6. Caps/headwear
7. Drink ware
8. USB/flash drives
9. Health and safety products
10. Outerwear

As you research promotional products, consider your target audience.  Some promotional items appeal more to certain demographics than others. A few interesting takeaways were revealed in the ASI study, for example:

*Younger consumers are more likely to have a branded item on their desks.
*Consumers over the age of 35 own more drinkware.
*Men are twice as likely as women to own a branded cap.
*Women are twice as likely as men to own promotional bags.
*Latino consumers are the most likely to own a promotional t-shirt.
*Asians consumers are most likely to own branded USB drives.

Swag is available at a variety of price points, and ultimately your choices will need to fit your budget. So you may want to consider having different promotional products for different types of visitors at your trade show display. For example, have a lower priced giveaway for most visitors, such as a clever writing instrument or LED-lit tumbler, but reserve a more expensive item with a higher perceived value, such as outerwear, for your current clients or best prospects. 

Remember that trade shows and events are about engagement, so while your giveaway should be practical, it can fun or humorous, too.

What was the best promotional product you ever got at a show and why?