Is the New iPad a Good Trade Show Giveaway?

Is the new iPad a good trade show giveaway?

A resounding “yes” if you are Apple or are an Apple supplier. If you’re anyone else, “definitely not.”

Why am I so against this new and exciting addition to the hi-tech market? It’s definitely not because I have anything against the iPad, in fact, quite the opposite.  I’m not sure who wants one more, my husband, or myself!

I’m against this type of high-end giveaway for the simple reason that it attracts all the wrong people to your booth.  It’s magnetic effect lures attendees who, for the most part, are only interested in being a winner, and are often not at all interested in what product or service you have to offer – if they even know what it is.

I’ve just returned from a small, yet highly prestigious show in a niche market, where three out of forty exhibitors were giving away an iPad.  Two of the biggest names in that industry where side-by-side on the show floor, (guess what) giving away the same exact thing. I watched as most of the attendees diligently filled out a card with their key information, and dropped it into a fish bowl saying a little prayer that theirs will be the lucky one.  What did the booth staff do? They just watched, and once in a while, had a brief interaction with the visitor. Not the best scenario!

If you want to do something else, how can you make the best use of giveaways, and what’s the best one for you?

Here are five guidelines for you to follow:

If you want to do something else, how can you make the best use of giveaways, and what’s the best one for you?
Here are five guidelines for you to follow:

1.    Understand the purpose of a giveaway item
The purpose of a giveaway item is to increase your prospect’s memorability of your product or service long after the show is over.  It’s a token of appreciation, a way to thank your prospect for visiting your booth.  It’s like a souvenir you have from a fun vacation. Every time you look at it or use it, you conjure up memories – hopefully good ones!

2.    Fit your giveaway into your exhibiting objective
There are so many quality logo products to consider. However, which one will best suit your purpose?  To select the right item, you need to decide on your objective.  Do you want it to enhance a theme; convey a specific message, create brand awareness, or educate your target audience?   A clear purpose helps make your selection process easier.  Consult a promotional specialist to help you choose an effective solution. Having a clear objective for your premium item makes deciding who receives it, easier. Consider different gifts for different types of visitors – quality gifts for your key customers, and prospects, and something else, if necessary, for general passers by.

3.    Give visitors something to do to qualify for a gift
There are several ways to use your premium effectively.  For example, as a reward for visitors participating in a demonstration, presentation or contest; as a token of your appreciation when visitors give you qualifying information about their specific needs; as a thank you for stopping at the booth.  However, avoid leaving items out for the masses because this lowers the perceived value, and lacks the “all important” memorability factor.

4.    Use the giveaway as a traffic builder
A sufficiently novel or useful giveaway can actively help to draw prospects to your booth.  Make sure your prospects know about it beforehand.  Send a “tickler” invitation, add it to your Facebook page, tweet about it, or use any other social media so that the right people know about it, and will make a point of coming to see you at the show.  Remember to include your booth number.

5.    Measure the effectiveness of your premium
Develop a tracking system to measure the success of your giveaway.  If it’s a redemption item, code it so that you know it resulted from the show.  Post-show follow-up with your booth visitors could include a question about the premium – did they remember receiving it, and how useful was the item.  Critique your giveaway with your exhibit team: Did it draw the right (quality) prospects to the booth? Did your customers find it useful?  Did it project the right corporate image? Remember that your company image is reflected in whatever you choose to give away, so make sure that it’s quality!
What’s the right giveaway that’ll attract qualify prospects?  Anything that’s related to your products or services that will educate, or help your target audience in a positive way!

So, forget the iPad unless you’re Apple!

Susan Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, internationally recognized exhibit marketing expert working with companies to increase their profitability at trade shows. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing,” “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies” and many other titles. For more great information on trade show marketing strategies that work, and for a complimentary copy of “Exhibiting Success,” visit Click to download the “Riches in Niches” app.


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