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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?