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Swag That Makes It Home: Tradeshow Promotional Materials That Work

Convention centers use especially large trash cans. They’re positioned strategically near exits for a simple reason: attendees have no scruples about throwing away the vast majority of the catalogs, brochures, and other promotional materials they eagerly scooped up during the show. Industry estimates have the percentage of tossed swag as high as 90% – so how can you ensure that your promotional materials make it home?

Every piece of effective swag has three traits in common.

One: it presents an obvious, clear value to the recipient; items that attendees can see themselves actually using and enjoying on an everyday basis don’t wind up in the trash can. Remember that the value has to be to the recipient – while it may really benefit you, as an exhibitor, to make sure every potential customer has a copy of your 6 pound, 2,000 page catalog, it’s going to be hard to make the case to the attendee about why they want it.

Two: it is high quality. Tradeshow attendees have high expectations where swag is concerned. Anything that’s flimsy, feels cheap, or is obviously low quality doesn’t stand a chance of impressing this crowd. Quality is particularly important when it comes to your tradeshow bags. Attendees regularly push tradeshow bags to their limits, filling them to capacity with all of the swag they’ve collected. Bags that can’t stand up to the task split and tear under the weight. If your tradeshow bag can’t perform under pressure, attendees will assume the same is true about your brand.

Three: it can easily make the trip home. When we talk about tradeshow bags, we often say that bigger is better – but a bag can’t be so big that it makes it difficult for an attendee to carry it home with them. Ask show organizers how the majority of attendees are reaching the event. If most people are flying in, you’ll want smaller swag bags than you’d give out at a show most people are driving or walking to.