Segment Promo Items To Spend Marketing Dollars Wisely at a Trade Show

For businesses who exhibit at conferences or trade shows, it is common to give away products printed with a logo and advertising message.  Generally speaking, this is a great way to create brand awareness and stay top of mind with attendees who visit your booth.

Let’s be honest, while brand awareness is great, your strategy should drive results that look like a return on your investment.  Trade show’s are costly events! In order to showcase your brand to receive results, your strategy should be more aggressive than simply placing products on your table for people to randomly pick up.

You may not know this, but, promotional items can help contribute to your return on investment! That’s one of the many reasons why you should always have a strategy for your promotional items. 

Having a strategy (or not) is the difference between throwing away your marketing dollars and investing  your marketing dollars.

If you use promotional items as tools, it can go a long way in helping you invest your marketing dollars, better on your promotional items and your trade show. By segmenting your promotional items, you will be better off in the long run.

Here are a few ways you can segment your products to get the maximum benefit at your next trade show:

Tier 1 Promotional Items

These items are medium priced $3-5 range items that you should purchase for qualified leads at trade shows. 

As you may know, some attendees at trade shows (sometimes called “collectors” or “trick or treaters”) are notorious for stopping by for the sole purpose of grabbing promotional items from your table without interest in your company. For this reason, keep your Tier 1 promotional items behind your table, out of sight so these types of attendees can’t grab the items and run.


Which is pretty self-explanatory – qualify first, then give the qualified lead the promotional items behind your table. Plus, using Tier 1 products serves as a surprise to the attendees you have a conversation with and qualify to be a great lead for your company.

Tier 2 Promotional Items

These items are base level items which are small, inexpensive items that cost $1 or less.  These are the items you can display on your table for attendees to randomly take as they pass by, if they want. 

I KNOW I said do not leave items on the table, but Tier 2 products have potential to help you gain leads.  These products catch the attention of attendees passing by who may not be interested in your company (that they know of).  It is possible to turn “trick or treaters” into qualified leads – IF you are fast enough!  If you catch them and have a conversation with them before they grab the product and run, you COULD have a new lead in the process.

If an attendee ends up slipping past you and taking a Tier 2 product without talking to you first – hey,  it’s under $1 and if you decorate it in an engaging manner, that $1 item is still doing its job of advertising your company. Especially, because you never know who they know that may see the item or who they may give the item to.  But, that’s a story for another day…

Gifts and Prizes

Your gifts and prizes are high quality and higher ticket items that you can give away as bigger prizes for your contest winners. These can be single items that you can personalize with their name to make it extra special.

Giving away a tangible prize ends up benefiting you more than if you offered a discount or free products.  This is because if you give away your products and services for free or at a discounted rate, you are taking away from your bottom line on your actual products and services.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how to segment your promotional items at a trade show so you can be one step closer to strategically using them to meet your trade show goals and gaining a positive return on your investment.

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