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The Best Merch For Trade Shows

Exhibitions, Expos, Trade Shows and Trade Fairs – they’re all a chance for your brand to shine in front of clients and competitors and the best way to make a good impression is with the perfect promo products. Read our guide to find out how to choose the best merch to stand out from the crowd.

What’s in this blog.

    Are Trade Shows Effective for Businesses?

    Filled with curious clients that fit your exact target audience profile, Industry Trade Shows and Expos are a great opportunity for you to get your brand name out there and reach the right people. According to the Centre for Exhibition Industry Research and The Tradeshow Network:

    • 70% of trade show attendees plan on buying one or even more products
    • 77% of executive decision makers found at least one new supplier at the last show they attended.
    • An average of 76% of attendees ask for a quote with 26% signing purchase orders
    • 72% of attendees revealed that expos or tradeshows influence their decision to buy
    • 87% percent of attendees pass the information gathered from the show with at least 64% of this group telling 6 or more people
    • The cost of a face-to-face meeting with a prospect at a tradeshow is $142. The cost of a face-to-face meeting at a prospect’s office is $259.

    The numbers clearly show that expos are the most cost-effective and direct way to meet your perfect customer. The only drawback? Your competitors will be there, and they’ll have the exact same goal. So, what’s the best way to ensure it’s your name that a potential new customer or contact remembers? You guessed it: top-quality merch.

    Why is Merch Important for Trade Shows and Expos?

    It’s no secret that swag is one of the best parts of any kind of industry event. Everyone attending will be itching to accept all the free pens, totes and keychains that they can grab. Research shows that branded merchandise is the most highly regarded form of marketing by consumers, and it’s efficacy at trade show and expo events has a proven track record. In one study, 71.6% of attendees who received a promotional product remembered the name of the company that gave them the product, and 76.3% of attendees had a favorable attitude toward the company.

    With so many eager hands ready to take your merch, it needs to be eye-catching enough that they’ll continue to reach for it first amongst their collection of swag, and useful enough that they’ll hang on to it long after the event is over. This not only maximises impressions, but also creates and maintains a long-term positive association with your brand.

    How To Make Your Merch Memorable

    To create the perfect promo products, there are three key areas to consider:

    • Your Message
    • Your Customer
    • Your Budget

    Read on to find out our recommendantions for finding the right promo fit for your next trade show. Already know what you’re looking for? Browse our Promo Merch range here or talk to one of our experts, who can help you create your ideal branded merch.

    Stay On Message

    This is a straightforward rule to follow: keep on brand!

    It’s important to turn heads at your next event, but you shouldn’t try to grab attention at the expense of a cohesive brand message. Stay true to who you are and the unique service or product that you’re offering to ensure that you’re attracting and keeping the right kind of eyes on your brand.

    However, that doesn’t mean you need to be boring. There are plenty of creative and interesting ways to keep your merch on brand and on message, beyond just popping your logo on the front.

    Stay Sustainable

    Are you taking an eco-friendly focus this year? Consider choosing a sustainable merch item to help drive home your message and demonstrate your commitment to your cause. Even if you haven’t got any specific campaign to tie it to, using earth-friendly products can help call attention to your pre-exisitng sustainability projects or policies, and will help garner extra good will with your clients.

    Browse our Sustainable Collection

    Make It Yours

    You can really make an impression when you make your merch 100% unique to your brand. Strike a balance between memorable and useful with something like a custom-designed USB or Power Bank. The options below show you just how creative you can be, and how interesting you can make something as simple as power bank! Given that USBs and Power Banks are always highly-rated by consumers, this product is also something that will give you plenty of long-term positive brand assocations.

    Don’t Stick to the Status Quo

    Find products that are related to your industry in fun or unexpected ways, for a promo product that will bring in more attention to your booth on the day, and leave a lasting impression with prospective clients.

    Consider Messina’s Golden Gelato Scoop, which directly relates to their industry, but will last much longer than an ice cream cone. Other novelty ideas include a branded waterproof bag with a phone window (excellent if your brand is connected with the great outdoors), a clip-on selfie ring light (perfect for any tech related company or if any portion of the conference is happening via video link!) or a branded lip balm (think self care, beauty or health!).

    Need help figuring out what your next merch item should be? At Total Image Group, we pride ourselves on cultivating a comprehensive understanding of your brand, so we can find the perfect fit for you. Reach out to one of our experts to get the very best advice on what your next promo product should be.

    Consider Your Clients

    Knowing your target audience is a vital part of running any successful business, but it’s also valuable when choosing the merch you’ll be giving out at your next Trade Show. Just like gift-giving in our everyday lives, knowing your recipient and the way that you want to make them feel is vital to the merch decision-making process.

    The biggest reason that a client will want to hang on to a piece of merch is if it is useful. Don’t waste time or budget on items that will be immediately tossed into a drawer or worse – the garbage bin outside the expo hall. Usefulness is a subjective parameter that varies from person to person, but understanding who exactly you are trying to reach will help you optimise the cost per impression ratio. USBs and outerwear are universally appreciated items, whilst women favour tote bags slightly more than men. The under 34 demo love electronics and stationery, whilst the 55+ bracket are fans of calendars and umbrellas. Umbrellas are generally kept longer that any other merch item – more than a year on average!

    You can find all the most popular promo products in our promo merchandise range

    Aside from broad demographic information, it also helps to think about what would specifically be useful to your target consumer. Are your industry decision makers typically at their desk, on the road, or at a work site? What would make their daily lives a little easier, or give them an extra spark of joy on the weekend? How do you want them to be feeling when they see or use your merch? These are the questions that will help guide you to the perfect merch that will make all the difference on the day and beyond.

    What’s Your Budget?

    To make sure you’re getting the best ROI possible, you need to know exactly what your budget is, and find the best way to work within it.

    As with all things, better products generally mean a bigger price tag. It would be amazing to hand out free luxury goods to any person that walks past your stall – they’d certainly be paying attention to your brand! – but there’s not that kind of cash hanging around in most marketing budgets.

    However, before you resign yourself to just ordering 5000 units of the most basic sticker set on the market, there are a couple of strategies you can employ to use your budget more effectively.

    Don’t Over Order

    Know exactly how many attendees this Trade Show attracts, and keep your order within a reasonable margin of that number. This is especially true if your products aren’t evergreen – i.e. they include specific dates or campaigns that will be irrelevant very quickly.

    Order In Bulk

    This might seem counterintuitive after the previous paragraph, but bear with us. Promotional products are nearly always cheaper per unit when you order in larger quantities. You could reduce the cost to mere cents per unit if you buy in large enough quanities! This is an effective strategy if you are attending a high-traffic show or expo, but even if you order more than you need for the day, you can find other occasions where that merch might come in handy. Company events, employee gifts, or even other industry shows – branded products will be an effective marketing tool beyond the initial expo date!

    Order Multiple Types of Merch

    Plenty of your ideal clients will be at your next industry event – but they’ll be mixed in with lots of people who are less interested in what you have to offer. Handing out free products will help attract people to your stall, but once they are there, it will likely be readily evident who you’d like to make a lasting impression on. Consider creating one, two or even three “tiers” of merch for the day – one that’s a more budget-friendly item to giveaway to everyone, and then some pricier, more exclusive items to give to those that are important decision makers or seem actively invested in your product or service.

    Not only will this make your “VIPs” feel more valued and exclusive, but also means that you’re channeling your budget toward the most valuable leads. You could also consider doing a giveaway or competition with only a few more expensive prizes for those that agree to sign up to a mailing list or similar.

    Ready to order? Browse our range or speak to one of our experts now to guarantee your merch will arrive in time for your next industry event!

    Book in a consultation call

    Do you need help working out the best uniform range or promo gifts for you and your business? We can help! To ensure we direct you to the best person in our team to discuss your requirements – whether your uniform and promotional needs are now or in the future – let’s learn a bit more about you. We look forward to speaking soon!

    Who is TIG

    Total Image Group was founded on the basis that workwear in Australia had become generic and uninspiring. We’ve changed all that.

    We believe corporate uniforms should never be boring.

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