Promotional gifts for events are an essential part of the marketing mix. Events are probably the main situation that promotional gifts would be used. The reason is two fold
If visitors passing by see some freebies sitting on your stand, unguarded and lonely; there will be the temptation to quickly sneak onto your stand, reach out and help themselves. This is when one of your sales people comes swooping down with their smile and firm handshake. To then introduce and quiz the unwitting visitor about what they do, where they are from and how much they have to spend. Promotional gifts for events can be quickly swiped away, or used to this tactic.
If visitors are passing by your stand, handing out freebies is a great way to start a conversation. By blocking their path and asking if they would like a free (whatever) they most of the time would say yes. Bang, the conversation has started and you can start your sales vetting procedure. You can always take them back if they are a student or competitor!
There are hundreds and hundreds of items that can be used at an event. Ranging from simple economic gifts, up to larger more expensive ones. It is generally advised that if you are giving away items, then to try and pick ones that tie in with your business in some way.
There are lots of businesses that may struggle to find a suitable promotional gifts for events that relates specifically to their company. If this is the case, go with something unique.
Depending on your budget there is a wide choice available. However the key thing to remember is that you need something that will be used and not thrown away or given to a child. The worst thing is to have no promotional gifts for events. If all other exhibitors are giving away branded gifts and you are not, there will be a noticeable effect. Imagine, you are at the NEC, you have spent thousands on an exhibition stand design. You have paid your sales team to use 3 days for the event. Hotel bills, food, evening drinks. You have nothing to create the lasting reminder of the event for the visitors to your stand. One thing to watch out for however is students that are using the event as a day out to collect as many freebies as possible that will bleed you dry. Be sparing in giving out gifts but do not throw them away. If students come on and ask for any freebies, then give them a sweet or some nuts from the bowls on your stand (they do come and ask). Or just tell them to go away.
There is a fine line that needs to be drawn and a little science involved with promotional gifts for events. Some companies put their items right at the front of their stand where the lurking students are walking back and forth hoovering up your gifts. Stockpiling their new business of selling them on. Some companies put their items right at the back of the stand behind the imperial guard. That is the sales force waiting with clipboards poised and brimming with massive tie knots. There does need to be a happy medium. So that you can draw people in with the promise of a free meal, but not tease them with the toys at the back of your stand, way out of sight. The key is not to be naive and not to be stingy. Somewhere in the middle is fine to make promotional gifts work well for you and not become a cash burner.
Promotional gifts come in all types, if you are selling cars, then you can afford to go the extra mile with a free Rolex with each sale. If you are selling cardboard boxes then pens or sweets are fine. If you have a large stand you could even have a vary of gifts available ranging from sweets, mints, pens. If you have a small stand, then just one type is fine, but choose carefully. Items with your name or website are better than just free gifts. The idea is that people will go away from the event, keep your freebie and then during the moment of need when all else has failed, they contact you.
It is worth getting advice from a few agenies as to what sort of gifts would be good for your particular event. What fits well with your company and of course what deals are on offer. Promotional gifts for exhibitions are a powerful marketing tool, but do need to be chosen and used wisely.