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hether you're trying to lure the masses at a trade show or schmooze a chosen few, swag has long been the proverbial carrot to draw people into a display. As such, there are tens of thousands of items to choose from, all waiting to be printed, etched, or silk-screened in quantities large or small with a company's message.
But as marketing budgets are scrutinized and tales of trash bins full of tchotchkes grow, exhibit managers are left wondering whether these branded promotional products matter, and what they should give away – if anything at all.
While it is true that attendees report tossing swag at a rate that makes marketing managers shudder, there are items at all price points that can do some heavy lifting for your brand long after the show floor closes. If your goal is to make a lasting impression, whether you're spending a dollar or $20 per giveaway, the best chance you have for getting an item into that coveted spot in a recipient's suitcase rather than the garbage can is to make it useful. Landing swag in an attendee's home, car, or office to be seen or handled regularly is akin to hitting the tchotchke bull's-eye.
So to help you select swag with staying power, EXHIBITOR rounded up examples of useful promotional products categorized by per-item price points (based on orders of 500 items). All capable of being branded with your logo and/or marketing message, these items are more likely to end up in recipients' treasure piles than in the trash.
Luggage Grip and ID
Show goers will spot their bags – and your brand – on the baggage carousel thanks to one of these branded bag grips with an integrated identification tag. RushImprint, $0.86
Earbuds in a Branded Case
Whether attendees keep these earbuds or hand them over to kids, having a pair handy thanks to you will keep them singing your praises. All That Jazz, $1.95
Attendees will be reminded of your brand every time they sip their drink when they take home a ceramic coaster to protect their desk or home furniture. Branders.com, $1.07
Handing out branded bags can turn attendees into walking billboards for your company. Available in various price ranges and materials, bags that can be reused are more likely to make their way home in recipients' suitcases – or as improvised carry-on bags. Bagmasters, $1.77
Go everywhere with attendees when you give them a Gadget Grip to keep their portable electronic devices from slipping on hard surfaces. Crafted of Griptyte material, the pads adhere to a mobile phone or case with removable adhesive and can last for the life of the device. Trade Show Source, $1.75
Send the message that you care – and make your brand a constant companion –
by giving booth visitors
an item that protects their valuable mobile devices.
GNP Branded Gear, $4.25
For attendees on the go, travel mugs can come in handy long after the show has ended. Plus, with many event venues offering beverage stations with coffee or water throughout the day, these mugs offer at-show usability as well. Bagmasters, $2.84
Desk Docking Station
Position your company's name on an attendee's desk when you give away a docking station that manages a cellphone charging cable as well as odds and ends. RushImprint, $4.70
Sport Water Bottle
Give attendees something besides a plastic cup to drink from during those long education sessions, and workshop tabletops will become a sea of your logo-adorned swag.
All That Jazz, $3.50
Everyone needs a backpack from time to time, and giving attendees one to have handy will ensure your brand is associated with lasting usefulness. USimprints.com, $4.09
with Carry Strap To maximize positive association, give attendees an item that is useful in their personal lives, like this picnic-sized fleece blanket with a carrying strap. Branders.com, $10.17
Igloo Lunch Cooler
Insulated lunch carriers are a practical giveaway that can keep your brand in front of attendees every day as they plan lunch for themselves or members of their families. RushImprint, $6.85
Bostonian Business Card Case
A rugged and stylish business-card case is an indispensable possession for attendees of all professions. Keep in mind that the more unique it is, the more likely it will become a prized
accessory. All That Jazz, $6.79
16GB Flash Drive
When giving out flash drives that can be used after the show, go for large memory capacity to make sure yours is the one that attendees reach for. Custom USB, $10
Multifunction Bar Tool
Integrate your company name into an attendee's daily life when you engrave your logo on useful items like this five-function bar tool.
Nylon Folding Golf Umbrella
It will be raining brand recognition when you give attendees this folding umbrella that goes with them whenever they need protection from the elements. Branders.com, $11.65
Pen With 4GB Flash Drive and Stylus
Make your gift the one that doesn't get tossed in a drawer when you give out a multifunction ballpoint pen that has an integrated 4GB flash drive as well as a stylus tip. GNP Branded Gear, $11.76
Roadside Tool Kit
Attendees facing a driving crisis will remember you with gratitude when they avail themselves of the items in this 27-piece roadside tool kit. RushImprint, $12.32
Custom Branded Wine Glass Charm Set
Get your brand featured at an attendee's next party when you give away sets of custom wine charms that can be cast from your company's logo and accented with different colored beads. Vineyard Marketing Solutions, $11.48
Deco Desk Caddy and Clock
Getting a prominent spot on an attendee's desk is the homerun of giveaways, and a stylish desk caddy with a clock is a sure thing when you're looking to hit one out of the park. Trade Show Source, $13
Grill Master Barbeque Kit
If you want your brand to be a fixture in the lives of show goers, you can't go wrong with a branded barbeque set they will reach for over and over. RushImprint, $18.89
Debossed Leather Tablet Case
and Presentation Stand
Make your promotional products indispensable in business meetings when you give attendees an elegantly debossed tablet cover with an integrated presentation stand. USimprints.com, $18.50
Deluxe Cooler Chair
Giving key attendees a high-quality cooler with added functionality will make your brand a staple component of their recreational plans after the doors of the show close. GNP Branded Gear, $18.11
Mobile Power Bank and Flashlight
Go everywhere an attendee does – and save the day more than a few times – when you give away portable power packs that can be charged up in the car or on a computer and include a multifunction flashlight. Bagmasters, $19.22
Mini Pop-Up Speaker
Earn a spot for your brand among an attendee's most valued take-along items with this rich-sound pop-up speaker that fits easily in a briefcase or carry-on luggage. All That Jazz, $17.99