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.


Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History

David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan present the most compelling case study in the history of social media and inbound marketing based on the band that pioneered it all.

Long before the terms ‘inbound marketing’ and ‘social media’ were coined, the Grateful Dead were using these strategies to become one of the most successful bands of all time. They made a series of difficult and often unpopular decisions in order to differentiate themselves from their competition by providing the highest quality service to their fans, not just a product.

Deadheads and marketing strategists David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan explain how smart businesses can learn from one of the most successful rock bands of all time in MARKETING LESSONS FROM THE GRATEFUL DEAD (Wiley; $21.95; August 2010). The Grateful Dead broke almost every rule
in the music industry book and profited as a result. The lessons—and the effect the band had on the music industry and their fans—apply to businesses of all kinds.


3 Ways to Avoid Social Media Suicide On Or Off The Tradeshow Floor

A few weeks ago I watched on Twitter as a marketer committed social media suicide.

Within hours after someone tweeted about having a severe, nearly fatal allergic reaction, she received a marketing message from a company that sells non-allergenic products. So far, so good. The marketer had obviously set up a search on the appropriate term and used the information to reach out to a potential customer.

Unfortunately, the marketing message was poorly targeted and offensively presented. Not only was the recipient angry at the clumsy overture, she responded in such a way that everyone reading her tweetstream would become aware of the problem. The marketer garnered some bad publicity for his company.

Then, instead of apologizing, the marketer made a bad situation worse by defending his actions. The potential customer has now publicly vowed never to use the company’s products, and she has told a number of people about the problem. More bad publicity.

Three lessons from this marketing debacle:

1. Search terms are not enough.
If the marketer had actually read the tweet, he would have known enough about the situation to avoid offending a potential customer with mistaken assumptions. If you are selling cat toys, for example, don’t try marketing to someone who has tweeted either “I hate cats” or “My cat just died.” Either one is likely to be unproductive at best.

2. Social media messages are not ads, they are personal conversations.
The strategies that work well in a print or TV ad don’t work in door-to-door selling—and social media are much more akin to direct sales. Always remember that you’re talking to an individual on her own territory. Be respectful, friendly, and aware of her feelings.

3. When you’ve angered the customer, apologize.
Arguing with the customer’s reaction just makes matters worse. It’s okay to explain that you didn’t intend to be insensitive, but apologize sincerely for having caused offense. This leaves the potential customer in a forgiving mood, and you may make a sale anyway.