Last week, we explored what your team’s afraid to tell you about your trade show uniforms. This week, we’re giving you the straight talk about event giveaways that you may not hear directly from your team, especially if you’re the one who chose them. Reap the rewards of event gifts and giveaways that make a big impact and extend your brand further than the typical trinket.

We’ve attended our share of trade shows and events. We’ve had every manner of trinket thrust upon us, only to leave them in the hotel room during the mad dash to the airport. The tchotchkes that made it home were great souvenirs for the kids. We’ve navigated our way through crowded aisles of trade show trinket collectors with totes of goodies trailing behind them. And we’ve asked ourselves, “Who uses all this stuff. Did it really result in real brand impact, new customers or deeper customer relationships?”

Your team may be afraid to tell you, but we’re not. The harsh reality is that many event giveaways fall into one or more of these three pitfalls:

  1. The Quantity vs. Quality Quagmire
  2. Me-Too Mania
  3. The Payback Puzzle



What Your Team’s Afraid To Tell You: “Cush balls and keychains are cheap, but they don’t earn me customers, so that’s money wasted.”
Rethink the way you budget for event giveaways. Move away from the age-old “total budget divided by the number of attendees” formula that gets you to a per-unit amount, but ignores key business goals. Start with the value of a new customer and a keen understanding of your average close rate. If your average customer spends $500/year and you close 30% of the meaningful conversations you’re able to have with qualified prospects, how much would you spend to have the right conversation? Then build a strategy that gets you there. Instead of “stop by our booth for a free gift (trinket)”, up the ante. “Schedule a tour of our new product line and receive a special thank you gift worth $100.” Sound steep? Review your new formula. If a $100 gift in exchange for 30 minutes of face time with a key prospect results in more closed deals, that’s an investment worth making. What’s more, that $100 gift, whether it’s a Patagonia backpack, a Woolrich blanket or a Columbia fleece pullover will make it all the way home from the show and be used long afterward, to reinforce your brand and your thoughtfulness.


What Your Team’s Afraid To Tell You: “We’re trying to set ourselves apart from the competition, but we chose the same ‘hot new giveaway’ every other booth is giving away, too.”
Some event giveaway providers pitch the hottest new trinket for your upcoming show, from new styles of USB drives to flashy new drinkware. Then they take that same pitch to everyone in town, resulting in “me-too” giveaways that fall flat. Instead of looking outward at what everyone else is doing, start with the unique personality and distinct offerings of your company. Then consider what powerhouse brand you want to align yourself with. Success associates with success! By selecting well-known, well-loved brands and high-quality gifts that match your company’s unique value proposition, you make a remarkable statement.

Consider your target audience, too. If your customer is a 35-year-old software developer who loves the great outdoors, Columbia or Patagonia makes a great choice. If your target customer is most likely an executive woman in her mid-40s, make sure your gift is tailored to her. Partner with a provider who offers great brands and styles for women entrepreneurs.

For a unique approach, consider waiting until after the event so you can personalize the gift further. Instead of handing them a polybagged shirt they have to lug home after the show, package a beautiful gift-bearing your logo (tastefully embroidered), chosen precisely for them, in their exact size together with a personalized proposal recapping their key interests you learned at your meeting. Better yet, let them choose an item in their favorite color and fulfill their request after the show. Going the extra mile shows you’re listening and thinking of their unique needs, not just trying to put a logoed tchotchke in every hand at the show.


What Your Team’s Afraid to Tell You, “We spent $5,000 on trinkets, and it’s not clear what we got back.”
Even a $1 trinket is too costly if you can’t be sure it delivered a return on your investment. Every dollar counts. Take the time to develop a strategy for what you most want to achieve with each prospect, as well as what you’ll give in return, when and how, in order to thank them for their time and consideration. As you plan your next trade show or event, choose 100 $50 gifts that make a priceless impact on your most valuable prospects, instead of 5,000 $1 tchotchkes that disappear into the ether without clear value. Combine the right business gifts that carry your brand further, with the right strategy for getting them into the right hands, the right way, at the right moment.

With thought and attention to these key event giveaway truths that your team knows, but may have been afraid to tell you, you can explore new territory for your company with high-end, high-impact gifts that carry your brand further. We’d love to be your guide on the journey. Shop or call one of our Threadfellows experts at 844-588-6275 for ideas and insights for your next event. We’ll help you make your mark, remarkably!