I was teaching an exhibitor workshop recently when a participant told me about this GREAT giveaway item she’d recently picked up at a trade show. It was a can cozy, an insulated foam wrap designed to slip over beverage cans and keep them cold. She thought it was the most amazing product.

“That’s great. Can you tell me what company gave it to you?” She could not.

“And what did you do with the can cozy?” I asked.

“It was so nice, I gave it to my dad!” she promptly replied.

Now, was this a great giveaway item? No. The participant couldn’t even remember who had given it to her. To add fuel to fire, she’d given it to someone completely unrelated to the business. This marketing message definitely failed the “keep it” test!

The purpose of a giveaway is to increase recognition of your company. Make your giveaways memorable and effective by considering these four essentials:

1. What your target audience wants

2. What will help them do their jobs better

3. What they can’t get elsewhere

4. What is product/service related

Don’t be afraid to think far outside the box – You want attendees to remember the giveaway AND your name!

Bonus Tip: Think about having different gifts for different types of visitors. Giveaways can function in two ways: as rewards for visitor participation in a demonstration, presentation, or contest or as a thank you to the visitors who give you specific information about their needs.

Written by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, internationally recognized expert working with companies to increase their profitability at tradeshows. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market” and “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies.” www.thetradeshowcoach.com & www.richesinniches.com