THE RIGHT GIVEAWAY?
Dr. Gary Witt
the March issue of Exhibitor Magazine
are the most ubiquitous items at any trade show.
has freebies, ranging from hard candy to expensive CDs. Yet, if
ask many regular exhibitors, they'll be hard pressed tell you if most
a Psychological Marketing viewpoint, what are the best types of
To answer that question, the exhibitor must determine what the
PURPOSE OF GIVEAWAYS
are several overlapping reasons to give something to a visitor:
Branding -- the sample or giveaway reinforces the company's name and
benefit, such as a pencil with the phrase "Dinette Warehouse:
Home of the
Discounts in Town."
Image-building -- the giveaway helps to reinforce the company's
Create a positive feeling -- in most situations it is human
to think well of someone who gives you a gift.
Reminder -- a traditional and useful reason for giveaways is to
people remember the company's name and benefit after the show is over.
Build a List: -- giveaways that are exchanged for names and e-mail
of prospects offer one of the best values for a company's
dollars. It gives the company a low-cost way to contact
buyers over and over again.
ON SELECTING THE BEST MARKETING GIVEAWAYS
on the psychological marketing analysis of desirable exhibit
and the potential benefits of giveaways, we can draw some
about the most and least valuable types of giveaways.
Giveaways which are consumed will generally have little marketing value,
the giveaway food is made by the exhibitor, in which case it is
which do not have the company's name on them are useless.
Giveaways which do not have a branding message are of less value than
which do. That means a coaster with a company's name is of less
than one with a company's name and a slogan which enhances its
Giveaways which involve the visitor are superior to those which don't.
example, a cable TV company offered a virtual reality experience --
in a virtual reality world of dinosaurs. It was exciting, new and
memorable. And it
visitors a chance to tell friends on the bus about a product most
had heard about, but few had seen.
Giveaways which offer an immediate benefit are useful. The chiropractor
offers you a thirty-second massage gives you immediate
and creates a stronger positive response than those
give you something you must wait to use. It's important to also give something
will remind visitors of their company, such as a notepad. It is a
terrible mistake to make your
fall in love with your product or service, then not provide a way to
let them call you.
Giveaways which create involvement are better than those which allow the
to remain passive. Involvement can be created by many means.
creates a personal relationship between the visitor and the
personnel and may help reinforce the company's message.
Giveaways which allow people to feel good about themselves are superior
those which are neutral or negative. Visitors feel good about
when they do something which is worthy of praise. This usually
a contest of some sort, such as guessing the number of items in a
or putting a golf ball. The positive feeling is associated with the
and adds to its image in the visitor's mind. However, there are
hidden dangers in this strategy.
HIDDEN DANGER IN SOME GIVEAWAY PLANS
evergreen trade show classics are putting and shooting baskets.
the giveaway -- putt the golf ball into the cup and win a coffee mug with
company's name on it. People line up for this, even thought they all
plenty of coffee mugs at home. Why? To test their skill, to compete
their friends, to DO SOMETHING, not just passively take in the show.
is a big problem with skill-related giveaways, like putting
shooting baskets. When a person is standing over that ball looking
four feet away, their ego is on the line. Others are watching. Will
succeed -- and get applause -- or fail and feel like a loser?
will fail. Many of them miss, try again, and again, feeling more and more
a charity case ("I couldn't sink a ball from just four feet
away with three tries!")
short, this giveaway -- or any other requiring certain skills --
designed to make a few people feel good about the company, and embarrass
rest. That isn't an appealing marketing strategy. Even worse, there
generally no strong relationships between good putters and the most
end marketing result is the company often allows a person who has no
of buying anything to feel like a prince, while making some good
feel like a spastic boob. Then the company then compounds the psychological
by presenting the "loser" with a free charity cup in front
of friends and strangers to help
remember this failure, and the company which made it possible.
alternative would be more marketing-friendly? From a
Marketing standpoint, you want an activity which involves the visitor,
like fun, and offers them a chance to compete for some prize. But
there should be no losers,
one who gets the booby prize. The contest must seem challenging
enough to suggest some
or mental skills is necessary, but which in fact can be done by most
people in a try or two.
example, you might use a tricky-looking miniature golf hole which is
designed to draw the ball toward the hole. [Remember, you want to
them the positive experience and get them on their way so long lines
discourage others from stopping.]
goal is to help people succeed and feel good about themselves. That's
they play. They don't really want the cup. It is just a symbol of
their success, and a reminder
the good feeling your company gave them. Don't make them feel like a
loser with a booby prize.
can be an effective way to enhance a positive corporate image,
gather prospective leads,
generate repeated reminders of your company long after the show is
over. Or they can be a waste
money, and even create a negative impression. All giveaways are not
created equal. For the best
try to see them through the eyes of your targeted show visitors.
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