7 Unique Giveaway Ideas for Your Next Trade Show or Conference

Trade shows and conferences are rife with competing businesses clamoring to grab attendees’ attention with promotional items and gimmicks. How does one stand out above the crowd? Sure, pens and the like are useful, but they can be a dime a dozen at a big event.

When in doubt, we recommend choosing gifts that are unique. Think about how to you’ll breathe new life into your marketing efforts with an original giveaway idea that far exceeds expectations!

A unique promo item can be:

• Unexpected
• Creative
• Original
• Limited
• Luxurious
• Funny
• Experiential
• Personal

The benefit to this approach is that you have a better chance of being remembered, and hopefully, gaining new and engaged customers. In this piece, we suggest seven unique giveaway ideas to draw visitors to your table, and make sure they remember you when they walk away.

1. Experiential: The Gift of Relaxation

Trade shows and conferences are a blast… but they’re also exhausting. Hours on your feet and continuous stimulation (talking, music, mingling!), not to mention the travel to get there, are all a recipe for burnout. Earn attention by providing a promotional gift that guests will need: Items geared towards R&R.

This is a unique idea because it provides a reprieve to the high energy buzzing around the event – a perfect juxtaposition.

Give these items out in style by creating a dream-like relaxation station for guests to pop into during breaks. Diffusers misting out relaxing scents like lavender, an overhead canopy to allow you to filter out harsh conference lighting, herbal teas, and Zen-like music playing softly in the background. Ahhh. Kick it up a notch by having masseuses on-hand for free 5- or 10-minute chair massages.

When guests are ready to depart your relaxation station? Send them off with a branded swag to remind them of the oasis you offered (and your business!), with ideas such as:

Back massagers
Fragrant candles
Essential oils and incense
Bath and body products

2. Creative: Promotional Favorites with a Twist

Anyone who’s been to a trade show has received a pen, t-shirt or candy bar on numerous occasions – and for good reason. They’re practical items that guests like and use, which allow for easy customization.

But if you’re heading out into a big crowd and want to stand out, consider getting creative with your promo staples. For example, these classics use uncommon materials to make them more memorable and valuable:

• Wooden shades – Sunglasses are a great giveaway, especially if the conference is in a sunny locale. The wood tone style is a nice change from plastic and metal, which are the more traditional options.Our Woodtone Custom Sunglasses
Glass water bottles – Ditch the plastic and go green with a beautifully made glass bottle. Or, if you want to stay with plastic (it’s more lightweight, for example), consider a unique shape, like a foldable/reusable or flask style water bottle, which is a great way to add some humor into a busy day.
Novelty calendars – Wall calendars are the norm, and magnetic calendars are a dime a dozen. There are more unique options out there, including pop-up, wallet-sized and other novelty calendar designs. Best of all, they guarantee visibility of your logo the whole year long!
Special magnets – Speaking of magnets, not all designs must be made with vinyl! For a cost-effective gift that’s a unique departure from your competitors’, consider a magnet made of stone, chalkboard, metal, cardboard, or even a full color memo board.
Glass candy jar (with candy!) – Every conference goer can use a pick-me up between meals, which is why snacks and candy are great promotional giveaways. But rather than gifting an item that’s eaten and then forgotten, gift attendees a small glass candy jar they can refill and reuse. There’s a good chance an item like this will make its way onto their desk, where you’ll get some serious shelf-life and continued advertising.

3. Unexpected: Something Living

While puppies would be cute, we’re thinking something more along the line of plants. Adding greenery into an office space is a great way to make it feel comfier. Gifting attendees with plants, outfitted in customized planters, is a unique way to get your brand name on something valuable with staying power.

You can build an entire theme around the gift, too. Imagine: a green, plant-filled oasis in the middle of an otherwise beige conference. Your floor space will definitely stand out! A few plant and gardening giveaways to consider are:Our Seed Paper Logo Matchbook with Wildflower Seeds

Herb Garden
Plant Kit
Flower Pot Pen
Seed Paper Matchbook

4. Funny: Socks

It sounds simple, but of course we’re not talking about boring old white ones. Branded socks are a fun and unique way to make your brand known. Especially for 2+ day events, guests will be able to put your gift to good use at the hotel or on the plane ride home!Our Custom Rainbow Knee Highs

Some of our favorites:
Tube style
Rainbow knee highs
Crew style

5. Luxurious: Hip Tech Accessories

Considering how plugged-in we all are, tech accessories are always a hit at trade shows. Instead of the usual USB key or screen cleaner, why not opt for something more unique? Choose an item that can add great value through convenience (not to mention, price point), and you’ll have a memorable gift that recipients reach for again and again.

Check out these gifts to get your creative juices flowing:
Bluetooth speakers
Wireless charging pads
Webcam covers
Well-designed iPad/tablet cases

6. Original: Not Directly Related to Industry

If attending a tech or internet marketing conference, you likely wouldn’t get much attention with the gifts mentioned above. Effective giveaways are not just unique products; they are often unique to the industry in which your company and recipients work.Our Custom Apron with 2 Pockets

Consider this:
• At automotive events, gift desk and office toys
• At sports and fitness conferences, give novelty kitchen products
• At trade shows for entrepreneurs, offer health and wellness giveaways
• At conferences for creatives, supply thoughtful office supplies

You get the idea! Find the perfect gift that is tangentially related to your target audience, and unique enough that they won’t have seen it before on the trade show floor.

7. Personal: Individual Care Packages

Especially for the budget-conscious marketer, traditional giveaways are sometimes still the best option. But that doesn’t mean you can’t put a unique spin on them!

Consider creating small swag bags or care packages that bundle useful items together. Offering them in a paper or plastic bag makes them feel more special and speaks volumes about the kind of care and attentiveness you put towards your customers.

To add a personal touch, fill your care packages so that no two are exactly alike – by mixing and matching inexpensive items, and including various color or design options. Here are a few items to consider stowing inside:

Notepads or sticky notes
Snack foods
Small travel accessories
Stress balls or other toys

A unique promotional giveaway is a great way to grab attentions in a space that is buzzing with people, conversation, and loads of other tables and booths. Throwing some pens on a table is not going to have the same effect as a giveaway idea that is funny or unexpected.

The more you design your booth space to create a unique and inviting atmosphere, the more attention and traffic you’ll earn. When it comes to trade shows and conferences, we say don’t be afraid to get creative!

For support in designing a custom promo item, logo or other marketing artwork for your next event, get in touch with the professionals at ePromos!

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