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The Best Trade Show Giveaway Ideas of 2017

What may seem to be one of the easiest decisions associated with exhibiting at an event always tends to be more complicated than one originally anticipates.  This decision is the Trade Show Giveaway.  The purpose of this article is to provide a variety of trade show giveaway ideas that will not only be hot in 2017, but effective as well.  There is a significant difference when it comes to giveaways being interesting and being effective.

There are many unique giveaway ideas that the consumer will find compelling at first but ultimately end up trashing on the way out of the exhibit hall.  The goal is to find a trade show giveaway that is cost-effective, branded, and useful for the intended audience. 

As a study done by PPAI Research called The Effectiveness of Promotional Products as an Advertising Medium proves, “69% of people would pick up a promotional product if they found it to be useful.”  Accordingly, the list below contains Trade Show Giveaway Ideas that have been proven to be useful beyond the exhibition floor.


First, I’m going to talk to you about the biggest issue Exhibitors have when trying to create a strategic lead generating tactic such as giveaways.

Here’s a hint: It’s actually turning those trade show giveaways into actionable leads. 

Trade show giveaways attract visitors much like the overall quality of your exhibit design, but after that, it’s up to the exhibitor to make those visitors count.


Don’t leave it up to giveaways. Make sure your exhibit design catches the attention of everyone at the trade show. Your giveaways are a great way to get someones information so that your sales team can follow up with them after the show.

Ask your visitors questions and hand them their giveaway for a small piece of information, such as email addresses. Get to know their company name and create an experience that helps them associate their brand with yours. Now, what should you actually give them?

Best Trade Show Giveaway Ideas:

  • Key Chain Light – The key light is a is a concept so simple and yet so useful.  The LED promo key light can attach directly to your car keys.  Being one of the most cost effective promo items to date, this giveaway is a great idea. Imagine having your product name on someone’s keys, in front of their eyes almost every day. You cannot go wrong there.

    Here are some trade show key chain lights

key chain light

  • Power BanksPower banks are great at events because your prospective can now recharge their essential electronics while on the move. This makes it extremely useful. The major concern with technology innovation is convenience and providing your target audience with the ability to prevent themselves from being “device-less” while simultaneously having your brand name involved in their daily lives is like hitting the giveaway jackpot.

    Here are some promo power banks

Power Banks

Power Banks Being Given Away

  • USB Flash Drive – With so much technology comes the need of so many USB flash drives. It’s a huge convenience to hae multiple USB because there always presents a time to use one. What better time for a brand to be visible than when you really need a USB and fast. Sitting at my computer now, I have two different Thumb Drives from giveaways that I received at the International Franchise Expo. Every business is guaranteed to have a moment like this which is why this trade show giveaway’s a hit wherever you take it.

    Here are some promo flash drives

Usb Flash Drives

Time-Tested Trade Show Giveaway Ideas:

  • Pens – Pens are a time-tested, giveaway classic that despite not being very showy, pack a big promotional punch. According to a study done by ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute), Most Popular Promo Products by Category, Writing Instruments were the most commonly received promotional product by far.  This is because they follow the three rules of an effective giveaway item as depicted in this article’s intro.  They are most certainly cost effective, easy to brand, and useful to the majority of trade show attendees.

    Here are some custom pens for trade shows

Promotional Pens Best Giveaway Idea

  • Stainless Steel Sports BottlesAlthough slightly more expensive than branded water bottles, Stainless Steel Sports Bottles have a much longer life-cycle. These are great because they not only provide a large print area, but they also come in a multitude of colors so it is easy to match your brand’s colors to those of your giveaway.

    Here are some custom steel sport bottles

Stainless Steel Sports Bottles

  • Drawstring Bag– This cost efficient trade show item is another perfectly useful and significant event giveaway that can be used right away. These bags will be continually used for every day things, keeping your company’s identity front and center. Let the traffic to your exhibit walk away with an item that reflects the utility your company truly reflects. Drawstrings bags are perfect for this reason.

    Here are some trade show drawstring bags

Promo Bag Drawstring

  • Reusable Bag or Tote With reusable bags/totes being as popular a giveaway item as they are, you would be surprised as to how few exhibitors receive these at any given trade show. Not only will your attendees and prospective clients use them at the trade show for toting around their other materials, but they will almost always make it home.  Beyond the trade show floor, clients will use these for bagging groceries, shopping, and much more.  In addition to these substantial benefits, they provide the largest print area of any trade show giveaway item on our list. (Hint: You can also get Eco-Friendly bags if “going green” is part of your image)

    Here are some trade show tote bags

Tote Bag Givaway Idea

Bonus Trade Show Giveaway Ideas:

  • Padfolios and NotebooksWhat’s more relevant at a trade show than a padfolio and notebook? It’s a perfect giveaway for an event or conference where you have to take notes. This gift will be used often, especially in industries that require a lot of travel. This is another useful, and one of the best promo ideas.

    Here are some trade show padfolios

Padfolio and Notebook Giveaways

  • Stainless Steel TumblersMuch like the water bottles, coffee is something a lot of people drink daily. This means, more opportunities for your brand to be top-of-mind with a stainless steel coffee tumbler. In the book, “Contagious” by Jonah Berger, Kit Kat used coffee as a way to keep their brand top of mind with consumers. “Have a Kit Kat with your coffee break” was a slogan that increased sales tremendously, by simply increasing top of mind awareness. Associating yourselves with something done more often increases top-of-mind awareness.

    Here are some trade show tumblers

The Ultimate Trade Show Giveaway


When it all comes down to it, the absolute best giveaway at a conference, expo, trade show, or other event is one that is relevant and useful. Mix your brand in the scenario and you can’t go wrong. Take your time choosing a promotional item that is either relevant to your business or to an event scenario and you can create a branding experience that will last. Trying to be unique when offering an item is a slippery slope. When handing over something that is free, make sure it happens to be useful to whomever you are giving it to. Otherwise, the trash bin that’s closest to your exhibition space will most likely be full of your giveaways. Keep this in mind and you will do fine. Happy shopping!

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Trade Show ROI – Measuring Your Return on Investment

Measuring Event Return

Before attending a trade show, what’s your strategy for determining your company’s return on investment (ROI)?

How can you increase your ROI while attending an event?

ROI is a measurement of profitability on an investment or an expense. As we know, developing an ROI strategy for a trade show or event is critical to measuring your performance.

However, due to lack of understanding ROI, some companies begin to see trade shows as an expense and begin cut ing them from their budget. Even some of the most experienced marketing professionals can have trouble creating an ROI strategy.

Anthony Miller, Chief Marketing Officer of Lanyon admitted that he himself did not have a strategy going in.

Anthony Miller Calulating ROI


“We cut a number of trade shows because I was unable to tell you what we got in return for it. So we focused on the ones we could see a return from and started to build backup. I urge you to spend as much of your time as you can to find those metrics. It can be a yawner, but fundamentally for me the metrics are what will feed our ability to continue to do events…”


Recently, BizBash and eTouches released a report that analyzed how event planners defined ROI. Some event planners believe ROI is extremely important. However, each one defined it as one single measurement (ex: people walking into your booth). Looking at event ROI through one lens can skew the measured value that actually came out of the trade show. Moving away from a singularity approach to a more holistic approach in calculating trade show ROI is key in measuring success.

A Holistic Approach to Event ROI


Whether attending a conference, exhibition, or trade show, starting with a holistic approach to measuring your success could affect future trade show budgeting. If you define your ROI at an event as one single number (ex: people that signed up for your email list) your brand will miss the big picture.

Trade show marketing can leave impressions on attendees without you fully realizing it. Collecting the origination data from future purchases, contract signings, or other sales data could reveal the affects of your trade show appearance.

Collecting data is one of the most important factors to proving your ROI to the managers in charge of your marketing budget. This is where Key Performance Indicators (KPI(s) come in handy.

KPI’s are sets of data that act as your key objectives while attending the trade show. Some examples of KPI’s are booth traffic, number of trade show leads collected, business card hand outs, purchases, etc.

For instance, if you’re a food vendor trying to build brand awareness around a new pizza franchise you’re starting, you may measure the number of samples you handed out, the number of attendees who’ve been through your restaurants unique brand experience, or the number of coupons distributed to attendees.

Each event you attend will be different, so plan accordingly and adapt your business goals and KPI’s to the target audience. Once you define how you are going to calculate KPI(s) you need to determine the best way to collect the data.

Using Technology to Measure ROI

Technology is making it easier to collect critical data for measuring your trade show ROI. With more flexible platforms such as tablets and kiosks, getting information about your target audience is easier than ever.


A lot of brands have used games, free giveaways, and contests to get trade show attendees to fill our their information. Utilizing technology such as your company’s CRM, email marketing platforms, or event management software can be critical for storing lead information.

This information can be used to create a great experience associated with your brand. Whether it’s a grand prize winner, a fun giveaway game, or even an email marketing campaign that provides helpful information to your subscribers so they can be more effective at trade shows.

Trade show KPI’s can be an effective starting point for future marketing campaigns. For example you can use email sign ups for future email marketing campaigns and create new KPI’s such as open rates, responses, and conversions.

Profit / Investment  = ROI

The direct definition of ROI is a percentage. The percentage represents your return on the expense invested. Calculating ROI for trade shows is smart, effective, and can produce actionable data to help improve your event success…

But, Engagement + Brand Image also = ROI

Trade show ROI metrics can tell a story, but sometimes not the full story. Transforming a prospective consumers’ interaction with your brand from “meh” to advocacy is something that isn’t measurable in post trade show evaluation.  The experience your brand delivers has a long-term effect on the people you’ve interacted, and it’s tough to put into numbers.

One way to try to put it into numbers is by tracking the sale. Asking your customers, “How did you find us,” is a small yet effective way of understanding the lingering effects of your trade show experience.

Pick The Right Event


It may seem obvious but a lot of businesses waste their time going to a conference or a trade show that they shouldn’t be at. There are two types of events to focus on. Determining which to attend depends on your goals.

Direct to Consumer Shows

Is your company’s goal to make a sale as soon as possible? Maybe you have a product that needs buyers right now or you need test a product that’s still in the research phase. You need to go where your consumers are. Attend a show that may not be specific to your industry but specific to your target audience.

Trade Only Shows

These types of shows are specific to your industry. They may have buyers, your competition,  or industry influencers who are analyzing and interacting with new brands. This is a good time to simply make your service or product better.

Learn and interact with other vendors to get ideas on what shows they attend and how they are currently marketing their business. These trade shows naturally have some buyers who attend the show looking to do business in your industry, however your top goal at these events is not typically sales oriented.

Budget: Project vs Actual

Staff at events tend to measure the R.O.I by comparing the project budget to the actual budget. By maintaining good records, a company can easily add up the cost of an event but assessing the revenue generated by that event can be complex. New contacts acquired during the trade show has the potential to improve the bottom line but is potentially hard to quantify. Determining how to value the sales revenue generated from a new or existing customer who visited the event is important to do before the show. When calculating budget is important to be as consistent as possible to give the opportunity to compare on a yearly basis.

Return on Investment in a Booth


Do you have booth space at the event or are you simply an attendee? Having an exhibit or display at an event turns your strategy into a more inbound approach, allowing consumers to come to you instead of you going to the consumer.

If consumers are engaged with your booth they will associate that experience with your brand.  This is why it is so important to get a booth design that stands out from the others. Take your time working with your exhibit design team and get ideas from people who have experience in this field.

A display, whether a rental or custom design, increases your return but also increases investment. The appearance of your booth gives a first impression to a consumer in under one second. That impression is associated with your brand in the blink of an eye. Make sure you get an exhibit done by experienced professionals who won’t leave quality design to chance. It could make or break your success at a trade show.

When you have an exhibit that is designed well it can turn events into a positive ROI machine. This machine is one that many companies use as the their number one sales tactic. 

It’s good to know that a lot of factors can skew the final return on investment at a trade show. The location of your booth can determine the amount of foot traffic you get. If optional, choose a location close to a stage or an area that will receive a lot of visibility. Making foot traffic a KPI can create varied resultsin your data.

Communication Before the Show

Social media can be used to tip off your target audience of your appearance at an event. Leading up to show, should be heavily communicating your appearance. This will get more people to seek you out while at the event instead of leaving it up to them stumbling upon your booth.

Experiences During the Show

Interactive Engagement to Improve ROI by NIKE

Nike took over an entire streetcar and turned it into the Snkrs Xpress

Another way exhibitors increase ROI at events is by having creative activities or game ideas before entering an event can increase engagement with your booth.

Training your event staff to engage with your audience in an effective manner can cultivate more opportunities to increase your return.

This is were thinking outside of the box can go a long way in separating your brand from other exhibitors at the expo.

After the Show

As you are preparing for the actions you’ll take during the show, your staff should be prepared for post show action. A specific plan should be in place to follow up on all potential prospects or centers of influence met at the trade show.

Creating post-show sales and marketing strategies can increase return on event budget.


Developing the 360 degree program to calculate ROI is considered one of the most difficult parts of event planning but done, it can easily be adapted to new trade show appearances. Remember to understand your audiences reasoning for attending a show before creating any of your strategies.

How do you measure trade show booth success?

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New Year, New Technology at Trade Shows

In 2016, technology will once again play a key role in how consumers will experience brands at trade shows.  Last year was no different which saw live streaming applications such as Periscrope and Meerkat, change how consumers interact online/offline with brands at trade shows.  Frank Supovitz, former Vice President of Events for the National Football League (NFL) has seen how technology at events has been advancing.  “There are so many ways to engage with guests using exciting new apps, social media and streaming before, during and after events.”  If you want your consumers to be engaged with your exhibits at an event, your brand needs to evolve as technology continues to grow.

Mobile is Everywhere

Did you know that the majority of Google searches are now on mobile? So, if an attendee visiting a trade show searches for you on a mobile device, would you be prepared?  If you are not prepared that means the digital components of your event experience are not mobile ready which is not okay since mobile is how people are exploring today’s digital universe.

A commonality between people at events is that they are always looking at their mobile devices so the ability to design experiences to pull people away from the screen and experience your booth is key.  John Woo of Global Experience Specialists agrees that the question in 2016 for brands presenting at a trade show is:

“How do we tie technology through their mobile device back to what’s happening as a real experience on the show floor or in a common area?”

Understanding the User

Your brand’s space at an event should incorporate various technology such as beacons, apps and digital signage with the goal of connecting with the user.  As Internet of Things (IOT) continues to advance, more brands will be able to have their technology work together to connect to the consumer and remove redundancy.  The ability to have your technology work together to understand their consumer will be changing as Internet of Things continues to evolve.  Kirstin Tunbull of Mosaic enjoys when brands get rid of redundancy and simplifies the engagement because it “turns an attendee into an active participant.”

Facial Recognition

In 2002, the movie Minority Report staring Tom Cruise brought attention of facial recognition to the masses. While the technology is in its infancy in the trade show industry, it’s gaining popularity as a way to see what dwell times are, when they are coming in, how many times they have come back.  Movement tracking can help determine where to relocate a brand’s staff to ensure that the staff is acquiring all leads and where to place products and literature for the highest impact on attendee.

Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality

CES 2016 has seen the launch of augmented/virtual reality for the consumer market but can brands take advantage of this technology for consumers visiting their event space.  Mo Twine of MKG believes that this technology has the potential to boost consumer interactivity and the overall experience consumers have with the brand by having more physical elements in the virtual reality activation space, longer experiences and integration of more sensors to create a more complex virtual world.

Tourism and retail companies, are two industries that have been taking the technology to trade conferences, where they show off videos and other immersive “experiences” to impress those who can help drive their businesses.

Take a journey through a virtual reality world:

360 Degrees

After YouTube and Facebook began supporting 360 videos, more and more brands are adopting this technology to provide a unique experience for their consumer.   Event professionals like Jamie Barlow of Sparks believes there is strong potential for this technology at trade shows such as:

“Having a 360 rig in the middle of a sports event or a trade show hall, a consumer could look around from a particular vantage point and visually explore the environment on their own.”

Gesture Technology

Imagine you are in your favorite brands’ exhibit space and a simple wave of hello allows you to interact with the brand. Digital architecture has given brands the opportunity to develop environments that are reacting to people that are at your space.

Personalization Technology

Technology has grown from the one size fits all approach to personal content interaction within an exhibit space.  The technology within the exhibit space has the ability to change dynamically based on the data received from the participant’s preferences and prior interactions with the brand.

LED Displays

Jim Kelley, VP of Production Resource group has seen significant advantages of LED Displays through an event space.  “By using some of these newer technologies that can overcome the ambient light of meeting space, it allows you to have a brighter learning environments…which has been proven to keep people’s attention and it’s much more conducive to adult learning.”


Advancements in drone technology is a hot topic at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show.  The technology has advanced to the point that brands are using it to engage their consumer by simply mounting cameras to live-stream video, analyze foot traffic or to provide unique experiences to attendees.

Data + Data = Remarketing

Looking at the numbers behind consumers engagement to your brand during a show is key for future success.   As technology continues to evolve it has allowed us more opportunities to see how engaged consumers are with your brand during an event.  The data collected allows brands to gather meaningful insights, and the brand will be able to figure out a Return on Investment (R.O.I).

Technology has the opportunity to tell stories and stories are what draws consumers to a brand. Adrienne Johnson of Spell Bound states: “While there seems to be new apps and technology almost daily that makes events more creative, unique, and highly stylized, the concern is that the story behind it at times gets lost to the spectacle.  So the challenge then is to create an event engaging enough to have guest get out from behind their mobile screen, be in the moment and discover the story.”  Technology in your booth during a show can have many benefits but make sure you are using the technology for the right reason in order to be engaging to your consumer.   This technology allows most exhibitors to benefit from better leads and tailor the experience for the attendees.

Sorrells, Mitra. “2016 Preview: Tech Trends for the Coming Year.” BizBash. BizBash, 22 Dec. 2015. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

“Tesco Petrol Stations Use Face-scan Tech to Target Ads – BBC News.” BBC News. BBC News, 4 Nov. 2013. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Marshall, Jack. “How Has Advertising Lived Up to ‘Minority Report’? – Digiday.” Digiday. DigiDay, 06 Feb. 2014. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Chen, Angela. “Why Marketers Are Embracing Oculus and Virtual Reality.”CMO Today RSS. WSJ, 4 Mar. 2015. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Leung, Sarah. “Trade Show Trends: How Trade Shows Are Evolving.” Trade Show Trends How Trade Shows Are Evolving Comments. Handshake, 22 Apr. 2015. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

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Fitness Trade Shows List

Your List of Fitness Trade Shows

Top Fitness Trade Shows, Expos and Conferences

The health and fitness industries have been booming in recent years.  As of January 2015, there were 34,460 US Health Clubs in the United States with more than 54 million members.  An industry that generated $24.2 billion dollars in revenue in the U.S. during 2014 has seen a drastic increase in trade show availability and involvement. 1

Fitness trade shows play a vital role in introducing innovative products to the market, increasing brand awareness and for networking with fellow industry enthusiasts.  However, there are many fitness trade shows, and it can be difficult to know which show(s) are relevant as an attendee or prospective exhibitor.  We have compiled a comprehensive fitness trade show list to make the selection process easier.


TheFitExpo is a unique fitness expo experience.  TheFitExpo shows are the “Largest Consumer Fitness Expos on the West Coast and Now Chicago with more locations to come”, according to the official FitExpo Website.  This year there will be four events: Anaheim, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Jose.  TheFitExpo is expecting attendance to consist of over 100,000 fitness enthusiasts and professionals.  Each of these FitExpo events provides free fitness competitions and events, special guest appearances by industry celebrities, a massive exhibition floor and much more!

Check out the FitExpo on their website https://www.thefitexpo.com/

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Top Fashion Trade Shows in America

The Top Fashion Trade Shows in America

This article was written to assist all the fashion focused entrepreneurs, businesses and passionate individuals out there.  Selecting which fashion show(s) to attend, or even knowing what options are out there, can be very time consuming.  With so many choices, each of which with a relatively narrow focus, it would be ideal to have a list of the best fashion trade shows and their primary markets served.  Well look no further.

Here you can find the leading fashion trade shows specializing in men’s clothing, women’s clothing, children’s clothing, apparel sourcing, accessories, swimwear and everything in-between.


MAGIC is synonymous with fashion events.  It is the world’s largest fashion marketplace and takes place twice annually in Las Vegas, Nevada (February & August).  This truly unique fashion mega-event is a compilation of 11 individual fashion trade shows with unique focuses grouped into one.  MAGIC  is comprised of PROJECT, THE TENTS, WWDMAGIC, FN PLATFORM, SOURCING at MAGIC, PROJECT WOMENS, THE COLLECTIVE, POOLTRADESHOW, WSA@MAGIC, Playground, and CRUVENV@MAGIC:

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