Businesses only have a few opportunities to generate dozens or hundreds of leads in a short period of time, but that's just what trade shows offer. Exhibitors can engage attendees and start dialogs that eventually lead to new sales. There are a wide variety of factors that go into a successful trade show booth appearance, but few are as necessary as promotional giveaways. These advertisements have become fixtures in marketing efforts at almost every type of convention.
Companies that don't capitalize on promotional items often struggle to make a sizable impact during an event. Below is a look at why the marketing tools have become absolute necessities for success at a trade show.
A distant memory
Trade shows can be extremely hectic. Most expos have dozens of exhibitors and attendees have to decide which ones they'd like to visit over the course of the event. This means that most consumers only spend a few minutes talking to sales representatives from a handful of companies. While these conversations can lead to ongoing relationships and new sales, not all of these chats will be memorable or yield any positive results.
Promotional marketing products serve as long-term reminders so prospects remember to follow up with businesses after the trade show. For instance, if a consumer brings a promotional pen back to the office, he or she will see that enterprise's brand imagery with each use.
Making creative use of promotional products can also encourage prospective customers to visit a business’ social media pages. For instance, a pen that spurs consumers to check in with a company’s Facebook or Twitter profile – whether for a contest, promotion or video - will result in greater and longer-lasting engagement with customers than traditional items can offer. By creating this relationship, businesses increase the chances that consumers will be thinking of them long after they’ve headed home from the trade show.
Exhibitor Online points out that one common mistake that businesses make with giveaways is that they choose items that aren't appropriate for the audience. Obviously, if a company is presenting at an event geared toward a specific industry, it's not a great idea to distribute advertisements that aren't designed for that market.
However, this also serves as an opportunity for enterprises to stand apart from the competition. By handing out marketing tools that were created for a specific group of consumers, organizations can demonstrate that they understand what consumers want and are willing to deliver just that.
Industry experts recommend that businesses ask their sales teams to help select promotional items. These employees spend the most time dealing with customers and understand what advertisements would be most effective for starting relationships and boosting brand recognition. Capitalizing on this internal expertise is the best way to ensure that marketing materials will lead to new sales.
Functionality is key
Perhaps the most important part of picking out promotional products is determining whether they’re functional. Phil Cavanaugh, Monster.com's vice president of events, told Inc. Magazine that he believes that the best advertisements are the useful ones. "I'm hoping the heyday of stress balls has come and gone. We still believe in giving people something tangible to walk away with, but you want something beyond the useless tchotchke," Cavanaugh said.
That's why some items have become staples in many marketing campaigns. Wall calendars, pens, keychains, notepads and tote bags all offer everyday functionality that consumers love. Many people appreciate it when businesses offer useful advertisements because they simplify daily tasks.
This is the most effective strategy for bolstering brand equity. Businesses that give away items that are only meant to be used once are hurting themselves. Meanwhile, enterprises that distribute useful items are ensuring that consumers will be exposed to branded content on a regular basis. That recognition can lead to sales and help the company grow in the long run.
Author bio: David Parker is the Director of Ecommerce at Myron Corporation, a company specializing in promotional products and business gifts. He is a web marketing professional with many years of B2B experience in small businesses and large corporations.