Taking a stand at an exhibition, conference or trade show often requires a significant financial and time investment. We believe promotional merchandise is one of key tools to helping your business get the most out of the exhibition and maximise return on investment.

Promotional items are an excellent way of drawing visitors to a stand, increasing brand recall following an event and providing easy-to-access contact information. However, we often hear clients mentioning that they will need to buy extra due to the “trophy seekers” (those people whose sole aim is to collect as many “freebies” as possible and have absolutely no interest in your business). This can be avoided:

#Tip: Always have your merchandise in the middle of the stand (not the outer edges). Freebie collectors will rarely come onto your stand to “grab and go”!

The first decision to make is what you are looking for from the event. This could be increased sales from existing clients or looking for new business opportunities. Branded items can assist with your strategy and you should consider having three levels of merchandise available to achieve those objectives:

Level 1 item: Your team need to assess if a visitor to the stand is the right target audience. A couple of qualifying questions along with the offer of a low cost branded item will quickly find out if the visitor is a good prospect.
Example items: Promotional pen, Trolley coin keyring, pot of sweets, keyring.

Level 2 item: Once a member of your team has assessed the visitor as a good prospect, you will need to gain the information from them that is key to being at the exhibition in the first place. This could be:

  • Completing a contact form.
  • Discovering their existing buying habits.
  • Showing them your products or services.

Use a second branded item to achieve this. For example: “We would really like to show you our latest product range, and we are giving “x” to every visitor that spends time with us on the stand today”. This item should be slightly higher in value, will be kept for longer and will give the visitor exposure to your brand long after the event.
Example items: Smartphone stand, USB Flashdrive, Executive pen, promotional mug.

Level 3 item: This is a product that you don’t even take along in bulk to the event, you merely discuss it or show an example to your qualified visitors. Once you have all the information from a good prospect and they have discussed the products or services, your team needs the opportunity to follow up the after the event. This could be to place an order, arrange a site visit, a product trial, a test drive, whatever it is that will help encourage this new business. The prospect should be encouraged to agree to this taking place, and a high value item can assist. You should only need a small run of these items, as these would be reserved for the hottest leads you have gained from the event.
Example items : Umbrella, laptop bag, leather folder, embroidered fleece.

Example of the quantities / ratios you might need (but of course adjust based on the event footfall) :
Level 1 : 1000 – 2500
Level 2 : 250 – 500
Level 3 : 25-50

Every item should carry your logo and call to action. Mentioning products, services and USP’s are also worth considering. #Tip : Printing the event / date on your promotional merchandise could give more focus to the event than your business.

Choosing which branded items to have on the stand, will depend upon your objectives, budget, type of exhibition, target market, visitor profile, time of year. Any promotional merchandise should support your product image, reflect your company positioning and differentiate you from the competition. A member of our sales team can help you get the right selection.

Promotional merchandise is one of the key marketing tools for your event and should obviously be used in conjunction with PR, advertising and other communications to get the right people to the stand and generating the quality leads that you and your team require.