The perfect freebie for customers

Corporate Giveaway Umbrella

There are still no exhibition stands busier than the ones giving away free stuff. Seminar attendees expect something to take home with them. It’s nice for salesmen to have a small reminder they can leave behind on a call.

But these days everyone has to be really careful about what they accept. The days when any of us arrived home from a supplier visit armed with bottles of wine or nice pieces of consumer electronics are long gone. So what do you find yourself putting your company logo on nowadays? What do your customers appreciate receiving, and what do your sales team enjoy distributing? Let us know in the comments.

20 thoughts on “The perfect freebie for customers”

  1. Working in the healthcare industry we are still able to give away branded alcohol hand sanitisers, as they are directly related to what they must do in the workplace – all pens/lanyards/mugs/postits/USB sticks are now a no-go!

  2. Interesting question! We just use USB sticks and pens at the moment, two item which are useful, easy to brand and have a long usage life. But always open to new suggestions…

  3. Some years ago we had our logo printed on to yo-yos for distributing at an exhibition. We couldn’t believe the interest. It must have taken people back to their childhood and as the news circulated the queues built up at our stand.

  4. As a rule, I purchase giveaways which have some level of staying power. I never understood the point of spending money on branding water bottles, or chocolates/sweets, as people will consume the product and throw out the package before your brand has a chance to “sink in”. Things which people will use are worth giving away – it’s like having a billboard for your brand on their desk. Pens, despite the fact that they are ubiquitous, always go like hotcakes. Clever items which reinforce your business proposition are also a good idea (e.g. lego blocks given away by a housebuilder); the best I’ve ever seen was a toilet-shaped stressball which bore the logo of a law firm and stated “legal advice for instant relief”. People at that tradeshow were actively seeking out the stand that had those, and they ran out halfway through the show!

  5. This is a discussion we are having at the moment in-house, as we are re-branding at the end of the year. Under the current branding we have bags, pens, coasters, USBs and foam ‘stressballs’ in the shapes of two-way radios.

    A few years ago we did posh gifts, floating pens, desk sets, clocks etc. The gift which sales enjoyed giving the most were the engraved yo-yo’s.

    I will be very interested to see what other companies do and what the feedback is.

  6. For training delegates we usually give a personalised mugs (our logo, their name), also we have folders/notepads/pens and a USB (shaped like one of our dataloggers) with the training details pre-loaded – all useful during the training and hopefully useful ongoing afterwards too.

    As ‘giveaways’ for events we generally have some low cost (<£1) items out on the stand: pens, screwdrivers, measures, compasses, LED torches, bags etc. and some more costly items to hand out to people we actually engage with – mugs, USBs, multi-tool, note books and such like.

  7. Any gift should look/feel expensive, or at least not be trivial or cheap. Unique is not always achievable but useful (either for work or taken home for a family member) is a must.
    Small items such as a ‘quality’ keyring bottle opener, medium priced china mug or rubber/wooden coasters, a good quality golfing umbrella. If budget allows a ‘colour conservative’ fleece, that is taken home for garden/weekend use can be interesting and act as a regular reminder of the company.

    With all gifts though, they must last and not fall apart in a matter of weeks, they are after-all representing our company.

  8. I’m an absolute sucker for a nice pen, albeit not the most imaginative freebie! The best things I’ve received over the years are a tool kit and a measuring magnifier, both of which are still in almost daily use after well over 10 years.

  9. This is always a tough one TBH – it’s got to be light to minimize transport to international events; useful; of a reasonable quality but still cheap. I’ve no problem giving away pens or LED torch key rings to the hoards but our customers and target customers are a small proportion of the overall exhibition attendees. I still haven’t come up with a perfect solution and TBH, with some budgetary challenges in the coming year am cutting my spending in this area.

  10. I want to give something that stays available – coffee mugs are good, but my current give away is a business card sized memory stick with my business card on one side and an optical resolution target on the other – as a supplier of inspection cameras, many users need a resolution target to check image quality so it always reminds them who they got it from – if we get time before an event we will load current literature onto the memory card as well, or load the specific info they need at the event.

    The worst one I ever received was a screwdriver with a flat blame at one end and a cross head at the other – but the first time it was used the handle sheared away and the tool couldn’t be used – leaving a bad impression of the company that had supplied it.

  11. We sent out branded mousemats with a calendar and a ruler printed on them, for the new year, to our best customers. We would all have one in the office too so we could quickly look up dates (or measure things!) It worked for some years but mousemats aren’t so much in demand now with the migration to touchscreen devices, that we are looking at apps instead of physical products as freebies now.

  12. As a trade-show attendee, I still use a large ‘golfing’ umbrella from a trade show 10+ years ago! Now I love re-usable grocery bags because here in San Diego, CA, they’re often required. Also, keep thumb drives for years.

  13. I can equal that, Cynthia – I have a “Telemecanique” umbrella in the boot of my car which I think is from 20 years ago! The idea of re-usable grocery bags might be interesting here in the UK, as a charge for single-use bags is in place in Scotland and Wales, and comes into effect here in England next month. Also, bags are acceptable to those folks who can’t be seen receiving any “freebies”, as you stuff them full of brochures and they become a necessary part of the take-home package.

  14. We have recently has some branded mugs produced, we haven’t handed many out just yet but the response seems good so far. We also have a batch of calendars every year to give out to the top customers, these always seem quite popular and are a good way of having your company details on your customers wall for a whole year! I think this year we are looking at purchasing desk calendars instead, which work out slightly cheaper per item meaning we can order more and send out to more customers/potential customers.

  15. Bookmarks! If you have a book for sale on your stand bookmarks are excellent to trip people up as they are passing your stand. Many will stop and ask, so what is it you do…

  16. We sell to manufacturers largely, so this year we gave away branded safety glasses. The goal was to give something that they could actually use in their workplace. They were well received. We also had pens, and buttons we made with creative phrases/imagery that fit our industry.

  17. We wanted something slightly different for an exhibition last year and went for a wooden spinning top for the desk, this had a two fold use as a stress reliever and a retro toy – went down a bit too well, but most people said can i have two for my kids, so does this mean its a waste of money as its not going to the people we intended it for?

  18. Personally I really like the strong canvas bags. I have a cupboard in my kitchen full of them which I use for shopping (haven’t used a single-use bag for months!) and also for taking my lunch to the office in the morning. I often refer to them by brand to so it’s definitely a favourite of mine.

  19. We were looking for a give-away that allowed for a large color imprint (not just a tiny one-color logo), so we ordered micro-fiber cloths for cleaning eye glasses/computer/tablet/phone screens. They come in various sizes (we used 6 inch square), are lightweight and you get a huge full-color image for excellent branding! They have been well received at trade shows around the world.

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