Trade Show Guru

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Best Trade Show Giveaway Idea Ever?

May 3rd, 2010 · 12 Comments · Trade Show Marketing

I’ve been to many a trade show and I’ve seen and collected many a trade show giveaway (also known as trade show swag, or just swag). The vast majority of trade show giveaways are the same things, year after year. I think we’ve all collected more than enough stress balls, frisbees, letter openers, and even pens. There is nothing wrong with these kinds of generic trade show giveaways, as long as you have your company name and contact information printed on them. I even wrote about the benefits of handing out trade show giveaway pens. But let’s face it, stress balls and frisbees aren’t very unique or memorable. So what is the best trade show giveaway idea ever?

In my humble opinion, for a trade show giveaway to qualify as the “best trade show giveaway idea ever”, it has to be unique, and “best” probably varies from person to person (just like the question “what is the best flavor of ice cream” or “which of the Rocky movies was the best one”).

One of the best trade show giveaway items I ever got was at WESTEC, a huge machinery show in LA that I’ve gone to many a time (and not because of the Makita Tools calendar girls and other booth babes there… not that there’s anything wrong with them though). WestTec is the place to see huge mills, lathes, and machining centers. The HAAS trade show booth had a brand-spankin-new, super-expensive, state-of-the-art multi-axis, computer-controlled, does-everything-including-making-a-kitchen-sink HAAS machining center on demonstration. They were feeding in a 4 inch diameter bar of steel on one end, and 8 inch long parts that had been lathed, machined, and engraved were being spit out the other end. I had no ideas what one could do with these part (it was simply to demonstrate all the machining things that could be done with this machine), but the parts looked cool so I asked it I could have one – and they gave me one. I quickly realized that the part weighed several pounds, but nonetheless lugged it around the show, and in the end, the part ended up being a one-of-a-kind door jamb in my office for many years (until it disappeared in a move).

The door jamb was a great conversation starter – countless people asked me what it was or what it was for, and I’d tell them the story behind it and how it was made by this super-amazing HAAS machining center. No, I never did purchase that HAAS machine – because I had no need for it and wasn’t a trade show prospect. But I spread the word. I’m not sure if it was really the best trade show giveway idea ever, but it certainly was unique. I personally think that the best trade show giveaway items are those that are unique, and that say something about your company.

What do you think? What’s the most amazing, think-outside-of-the-box, best trade show giveaway idea that you have ever seen, gotten, or handed out at a trade show? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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The Trade Show Guru’s Enigmatic Insight of the Day

Are you stuck in a trade show conundrum, and does everything seem trade show greek to you? If you are searching for trade show enlightenment, or simply the best trade show giveaway idea ever, may you find it and your trade show mojo, and may you conquer your trade show enigma and have your best trade show ever! As for the proceeding insight, if it seems like trade show greek and makes as much sense as a trade show geek singing in the shower, then stay tuned for a future post that will hopefully explain at least a little.


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