A popular strategy for trade show exhibitors wanting to attract increased numbers of visitors and boost ROI is providing free exhibition giveaways like branded promotional items, trinkets, stationery, product samples or even food and drink. While this tactic has the potential to be highly effective, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before deciding whether to incorporate giveaways into your exhibition strategy.

Pros of Exhibition Giveaways

1. Attract more visitors

Exhibition stand giveaways can be a powerful tool for attracting visitors to your stand. They provide the “bait” that can lure visitors onto your stand and provide the opportunity for your stand staff to engage them in a conversation about your products or services.

2. Build Brand Awareness

Exhibition giveaways featuring your company logo or branding can serve as walking advertisements that go home with your stand visitors.

When visitors use, wear, see or even eat these items, they are once again exposed to your brand, which helps to increase your brand awareness even after the event is over.

3. Gather contact information

Your stand staff can use freebies as a means to collect contact details and turn your stand visitors into leads.

By giving away freebies in exchange for contact details, you encourage visitors to take your brand home with them while also providing the means to follow up with them after the show. When you call and tell them your company name they remember that they have a pen with that brand on it. It improves familiarity and is a big win for brand recall.

4. Leave a lasting impression

Offering high-quality, useful giveaways at your exhibition can leave a positive and lasting impression on your visitors, making them more inclined to remember your brand and consider you in the future.

Visitors will subconsciously relate the quality of these items to the quality of your business, so providing high-quality exhibition giveaways is a great way to present yourself as a high-quality business.

5. Creating a Buzz

Unique, exciting giveaway items can generate significant buzz amongst exhibition visitors, drawing more people to your stand and creating a memorable experience that has your brand name all over it.


Cons of Exhibition Giveaways

1. Added costs

There’s no denying that exhibition giveaways, whether branded or unbranded, can be expensive.

For branded items, costs can include designing, manufacturing and shipping, as well as eventually transporting them to the venue. If you intend to offer food or drink on your stand, some venues have licenses covered by external catering companies and may charge you corkage or concession fees.

If not managed carefully, the expense of providing exhibition giveaways can end up outweighing the benefits that they offer.

2. Attracting unqualified leads

While giveaway items can help your staff collect contact details, not everyone who visits your stand for a free stress ball will be genuinely interested in your products or services.

With this in mind, you may end up with a long list of unqualified leads that are extremely unlikely to develop into paying customers.

3. Clutter and litter

Exhibition giveaways can sometimes lead to clutter on your stand or, in some cases, even litter on the surrounding floor.

This can diminish your stand’s aesthetics, make it difficult to move around and, in the case of litter, could even land you in trouble with the event organisers.

4. Competitive environment

Many exhibitors will be offering giveaway items at your event, so what you offer will need to be unique to stand out.

This over-abundance can make it difficult to attract visitors solely based on stand giveaways, and expensive to offer the most attention-grabbing items.

5. Mismatched branding

The giveaways that you offer on your stand must match both your brand and the messages that you want to convey with your exhibition stand. If the messages are conflicting or misaligned this can confuse your stand visitors and be seriously detrimental to your brand’s consistency.


Tips for Effective Use of Exhibition Giveaways

There’s no doubt that providing giveaway items can be beneficial to exhibiting businesses but to avoid the potential pitfalls this strategy must be approached with a degree of caution. Below are some of our top tips for using exhibition giveaways effectively.

1. Focus on quality over quantity

Invest in high-quality, useful freebies that resonate with your target audience. A single, memorable item can be more effective than a large collection of generic ones.

2. Keep giveaways relevant

Make sure that the items you give away align with, and complement, your brand, stand visuals and business offering, as well as the exhibition’s overall theme.

It helps to have items that are branded and useful so that your brand remains a part of visitors’ lives even after the event is over.

3. Ensure responsible lead collection

When collecting visitors’ contact details, be upfront with them about how their details will be used and ensure that you remain compliant with all data protection regulations.

4. Try to stand out

Choose your exhibition giveaways wisely. Make them unique, attention-grabbing and engaging to distinguish your stand from the plethora of others giving away freebies.

5. Promote Sustainability

Everyone loves a quirky sustainable freebie. Try to offer eco-friendly giveaways that effectively demonstrate your commitment to the environment.



In conclusion, exhibition giveaways can be a powerful tool for attracting visitors to your stand, creating buzz, building brand awareness, collecting leads and leaving a lasting impression on your stand visitors.

When used properly, exhibition giveaways can offer a valuable addition to your exhibiting efforts but, to make the most of this tactic, it is essential that you carefully consider the costs and potential drawbacks, as well as how they fit into your overall exhibition strategy.