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.


Five New Rules for Trade Show Technology

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This the fourth and final part of our Trends for 2010 tips. Today, I’m focusing on five rules to help you leverage technology to add to your trade show success.

1. Online is not an add-on.

The virtual component must be integral to every step of your trade-show planning.  Select the best online communities to reach your customers. And maintain your brand voice and image in every message.

2. Accessibility is key.

Make sure your trade-show web page is optimized for all the browsers, including those on smart phones. The design that looked great on Internet Explorer may be unreadable on a Droid.

3. Make your message move and speak.

Use web video, still images, and podcasting as well as text. Multimedia approaches engage more of the user’s attention. Live feeds from your booth can extend your trade show message to customers around the world, and YouTube videos can make it accessible months or years after the event is over.

4. Update often.

Keep your customers coming back to check for more. Good content may be news and links, helpful tips, community-building, or just the sense of a warm, engaging person as the face of the company.

5. Listen as well as talk.

Twitter, Facebook, and blogs offer almost instantaneous feedback on what’s working and what’s not. If a member of your booth staff was rude to a customer, you can be sure the news will be all over Twitter in five minutes. Monitor the Internet and the Twitterverse with automatic searches, and respond instantly to any problems.


6 Questions to Ask to Integrate Social Media Apps into Exhibit Space

These days when you’re comparing trade shows, you have a new factor to consider: whether the show offers an integrated platform for social media. These platforms, such as GoExpo and ChirpE, help link exhibitors and attendees in a new and exciting dimension.

When you consider these platforms, ask yourself the following six important questions:

1. How does the software bring together attendees and exhibitors?
ChirpE works by  integrating familiar applications and services, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and FacebookGoExpo is proprietary, but offers newsletter capabilities and maps of the floorplan so attendees can easily find your booth.

2. What’s the learning curve?

You may not have much time to learn to use the interface. A well-designed, intuitive system should make things much easier.

3. What usage metrics does the software offer, and when are the results available?

Measurable effectiveness is vital. Look for software that gives you clear, targeted reports in a reasonable amount of time.

4. What support is offered?

In the midst of a busy trade show, you need reliable service. Find out what kinds of support are available and what the downtime is.

5. How about data format and backups?

If the software allows you to gather names for your mailing list, you will need a way to save that data—and in a format that lets you use it later.

6. What is the privacy policy?

You may be entrusting important company data, from customer lists to passwords, to a third party. Make sure the information is secure.