AND SOME FREE–ASSOCIATION
By Paul Bridson
GIFT GIVING builds goodwill, can be an incentive, communicates a message and creates awareness. When thinking about giveaways for your next trade show, consider the following ten questions.
1. What do you want to achieve by giving away a premium item?
Give-away items should be designed to communicate, motivate, promote or increase recognition and memorability. The premium and the message should make an impact.
2. How will you select your premium item?
With so many items available, your challenge is to find one which will best suit your purpose and meet your objective. Do you want it to enhance a theme, convey a specific message or educate your target audience? Remember that your company’s image is reflected in the choice you make.
3. Whom do you want to receive your premium?
Having a clear objective for your premium item will also help determine who should receive it. Consider having different gifts for different types of visitors – quality gifts for key customers and prospects and a lesser valued item for general customers.
4. How does your marketing giveaway tie into your marketing theme?
Look for an item that naturally complements your marketing message. Have the message clearly imprinted on the item along with your company name, logo and phone number. Remembering who the gift was from, long after the fact, is key.
5. What is your budget?
Premium items vary considerably in price. Quality, quantity and special orders affect pricing. Consider using the same item for several different shows to save on quantity discounts.
6. What must visitors do to qualify for a gift item?
You can use your premium effectively in several ways. For example, as a reward for visitors participating in demonstration, presentation or contest, as a token of appreciation when visitors give you qualifying information about their specific needs, as a thank you for stopping at the display. Avoid leaving items out for anyone to take as this diminishes value and has little or no memorability factor.
7. Will your giveaways directly help your future sales?
Hand out a discount coupon or a gift certificate that requires future contact with your company for redemption. Consider premiums that will help generate frequent visits to customers and prospects, such as calling you for free refills. Make your premium work for you and it will be money well invested.
8. How does your premium item complement your exhibiting goals?
Premiums can be used to pre-qualify your prospects. One company uses playing cards. Prior to the show, they send "kings" to key customers, "queens" to suppliers and "jacks" to new or hot prospects. They request that the cards are brought to the display in exchange for aspecial gift. When the prospect visits the trade show display and cards are presented, the display staff already know certain visitor information. They then act on previous knowledge and use their time more productively.
9. How to inform your target audience about your giveaway items?
Novel or useful giveaways can actively draw prospects to your display. Send a "tickler" invitation with details of the giveaway or create a two-piece premium, sending one partout to key prospects prior to the show telling them to collect the other half at your display.
10. How will you measure the effectiveness of your premium?
Establish a tracking mechanism to measure the success of your giveaway. Code redemption items so you know they resulted from the show. Post-show follow-up could include a question about the premium, such as "did visitors remember receiving it and how useful was it?" After the show, critique the giveaway with your team. Did it draw specific prospects to the display? Was it eye-catching enough to persuade passers-by to stop? Did your customers find it useful? Did it project the right corporate image?
Paul Bridson and Kelly Sargent
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