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Choosing the Right Trade Show Giveaway: 5 Essential Questions

Trade shows and exhibitions offer great opportunities for businesses to showcase their brand and create lasting impressions. However, the practice of distributing generic promotional items like plastic pens, USB drives, or inexpensive key chains has become outdated and harmful to the environment. Studies show that many giveaways are unwanted, often discarded, and end up in landfills. Nearly 50% of consumers feel more favorable toward brands that provide environmentally friendly promotional products.

As we move into 2024, the promotional product industry must prioritize sustainability. Here are five essential questions to consider before selecting your next company giveaway:

1. Are They Useful?

Understanding the utility of your giveaway is crucial. Consider your target audience and the context in which they will receive your gift. For instance, avoid offering bulky items like a large bottle of dessert wine at a conference where most attendees travel with carry-on luggage. Similarly, handing out an umbrella at an event in a desert city like Dubai would be impractical. Choose items that are relevant and useful to the recipients.

2. What Footprint Do They Leave?

Evaluate the entire lifecycle of the product, from production to disposal. Consider how it is made, its environmental impact, and its end-of-life scenario. For example, 35 billion plastic ballpoint pens are produced annually, with most ending up in the trash once the ink runs out. This contributes significantly to plastic waste. Opt for products that can be recycled or upcycled to minimize their environmental footprint.

3. Do You Have Proof They're Sustainable?

In an era of rampant greenwashing, it is crucial to substantiate any claims of sustainability with verifiable data. Ensure that the promotional products are genuinely eco-friendly by asking for documentation from your supplier. Look for certifications such as B Corp or a valid Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) report. Confirm whether the company has set goals through initiatives like the Science Based Targets initiative to achieve Net Zero emissions.

4. Do You Rate Price Over Quality?

While cost is a significant factor, it’s worth considering fewer, higher-quality products over numerous cheap items. A well-made, useful, and ethically produced product reflects positively on your brand, unlike low-quality swag that breaks easily or is produced under poor working conditions. The giveaways you choose should embody your company’s values and standards.

5. What Type of Feedback Do You Get from Attendees?

Aim for giveaways that are memorable and can serve as conversation starters. Gifts that are useful and have a second life after their initial use tend to be well-received. They also stand out because they break the norm of typical event swag. Collect feedback post-event to assess the success of your giveaway. If a particular item was not well-received, it’s beneficial to reconsider your choices for future events.

Choosing the right trade show giveaway involves more than just selecting a popular or low-cost item. It requires thoughtful consideration of the product's utility, environmental impact, and overall quality. By asking these five essential questions, you can ensure that your giveaways are not only appreciated by attendees but also reflect your commitment to sustainability and ethical practices. Let’s move towards a future where promotional products enhance brand image while being kind to our planet.

Navigating the competitive landscape of trade shows requires a strategic marketing approach. While the strategies mentioned above provide valuable insights, partnering with UltraTend can further elevate your efforts. With over 8 years of industry experience and a wide range of comprehensive solutions, UltraTend is equipped to meet your needs. Contact us today at +44 20 3807 9480 or via email at to expand your global market presence.

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