From Drag to Swag - Tips for Choosing Promotional Products

July 13, 2015 Megan Stoeckel

Whether you hate them or love them, there is no doubt that promotional products are the bread and butter of the event planning industry in NYC. In fact, it’s approximately $17 billion worth of bread and butter. An excellent product can build interest and create a great impression for your brand. Whereas a not so bueno product can ultimately turn a potential customer off making it a waste of your money. So what’s the best way for NY event planners to increase the odds of the latter?

Ask yourself if the item is needed. Promotional products have earned their bad rap because of decades of wasteful purchases. From frisbees to stress balls, various promotional giveaways have an “I forgot to plan for this item, so I went with the fastest and cheapest thing I can find” message about them. So do you get rid of them? No. They are vital to attracting potential customers, so instead put some thought into it. Ask yourself, “is this an item this target market can make use of?”

Focus on your potential customer. Remember that just like when you give a friend a gift, your goal is to leave a good impression. Choose an item that shows you understand and care about your attendee. Don’t forget that giveaways are a gift so be careful on the strings you attach to them. In other words, don’t force the attendee to sign up to some sort of service because they want a giveaway. Make them feel like you really cared to give them something for nothing. The gesture will pay off more than appearing like you’re just trying to trick them into becoming a customer.

Analyze what the product says about your brand. Ever wonder what the Promotional Giveaway Hall of Fame may look like? Well the top exhibit items would probably look like a broken pen that never worked to begin with, a keychain with all of the wording rubbed off, and a magnet with no adhesive to actually stick to anything. Pay attention to the quality of the event giveaway you choose. Keep in mind that you want them to remember you as a quality vendor so anything you attach your brand’s name to should reflect the quality of your service in some way.

Connect emotionally. To create a connection with your potential customer, you want a giveaway that is helpful to them. Most promotional products invite the attendee to an experience and pushes them to participate. Something like that is partially a gift and partly a solution. For example, a tote bag, a water bottle, or a badge holder. You want a promotional giveaway that transcends usefulness that converts to a handy souvenir. It’ll remind them of their participation at the event, their experience at your booth, and it has all of your contact information so they can follow up with you or at least check out your website after the show.

Don’t wait until you’ve spent your entire marketing budget before you realize that you gave away items that went straight into the garbage and didn’t help you build a solid list of new leads. Plan ahead and get creative while keeping the tips on this post in mind. It’s time you elevate your event giveaway strategy so it can help you go from drag to swag!


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