Condit Exhibits Design Team

Do Tradeshow Exhibitors Really Need SWAG and Giveaways?

How Your Event Exhibit Can Succeed With The Careful Use of Promotional Items and SWAG

The decision to include SWAG (promotional items) or giveaways at tradeshows is always subjective and depends on various factors, including your marketing goals, the type of conference or event your business or brand is attending, and your overall marketing budget. While they can certainly pair well with a custom exhibit design, exhibitors need to make sure these items are serving their overall event strategy. Here are a few points to consider when evaluating the need for SWAG and/or promotional giveaways at your next tradeshow, conference, other event marketing opportunity:


1) In-Person Brand Visibility

SWAG at your exhibit booth can enhance brand visibility and serve as a reminder for attendees after the event. Useful or unique items with your company logo can help keep your brand top of mind. However, when done in excess, attendees may become more focused on giveaways and free items (i.e. “tradeshow shopping”) without acknowledging your core product/service offerings.


2) Attendee Engagement and Foot Traffic

SWAG can attract attendees to your booth and increase foot traffic. People are often drawn to booths that offer free items, creating an opportunity for you to engage with potential customers. With high traffic in mind, though, it’s important to design your exhibit with enough space for attendees to take advantage of SWAG while still having room to speak with you about your organization. Staffing correctly to manage this mix of qualified leads and SWAG-minded attendees needs to also be considered.


Examples of Tradeshow Promotional Items

Diversifying your promotional items can mitigate cost while attracting tradeshow attendees en masse.


3) Tradeshow Lead Generation

SWAG can be used as an incentive for attendees to provide their contact information and become a lead in your CRM or team sales account. By exchanging their details for a giveaway, you can generate leads for potential future sales or marketing efforts. Promotional efforts can also create visual cues about your exhibit and brand when it comes time for lead outreach post-event.


4) Competitive Exhibit Differentiation

Tradeshows are typically crowded with numerous competitors vying for attention. Well-designed and thoughtful SWAG can help differentiate your booth and make it more memorable, potentially setting you apart from your competitors. Depending on the size and type of exhibitors at each show, you may want to consider the amount of giveaways and their scale. Higher-end shows tend to attract innovative, top-dollar giveaways while smaller shows may only require a few inexpensive promotional items to differentiate.


Tradeshow giveaway pens

Offering SWAG with utility can create better, long-term brand recognition.


5) Marketing and Advertising After Events

SWAG items can serve as a tangible marketing tool. When attendees hear about giveaways, use or display your branded items, or show them to industry peers after events, they effectively become walking advertisements, potentially reaching a wider audience beyond the event itself. Offering viral promotions can continue to have staying power, especially if you consider offering a big-ticket item or something useful to attendees well beyond the show.


6) Cost Considerations

SWAG can be an additional expense for your tradeshow budget. It’s essential to consider the cost of producing and distributing the items, ensuring that it aligns with your marketing goals and budget. While giveaways may sometimes seem like an easy answer for boosting the effectiveness of your exhibit, certain sponsorships and premium exhibit spaces may provide a higher tradeshow ROI.


7) Relevance and Utility

It’s crucial to offer SWAG items that align with your target audience’s interests and needs. Providing useful, high-quality items can increase the likelihood of attendees keeping and using them, reinforcing your brand’s positive association. Items that “sit on a shelf” for years after the event may not be as effective as a giveaway that’s used everyday.


8) Environmental Considerations 

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of tradeshow sustainability and reducing waste. Consider eco-friendly options for your SWAG, such as reusable items or digital giveaways, to align with evolving consumer preferences and minimize environmental impact. These promotional items can also better align with sustainable exhibit design practices.


Start Incorporating a SWAG Strategy With Your Exhibit Design

Ultimately, the decision to include SWAG and promotional items at tradeshows depends on your specific marketing objectives, target audience, budget, and the overall experience you aim to create. Careful consideration of these factors can help determine if SWAG will effectively support your tradeshow goals. 

Condit’s expert team of tradeshow exhibit  designers can advise on all aspects of your exhibit experience. Collaborating with your internal brand team, we’ll work together to consider if SWAG is right for your event environment and if so, which options make the most sense across your show space.

Contact us today or start an exhibit design project online.

Be Social

Tips for First-Time Exhibitors:... Tips for First-Time Exhibitors: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Condit Receives Zeigler Award,... Condit Receives Zeigler Award, Top Portable Modular Exhibit Honor

Condit Secures Top 40... Condit Secures Top 40 Exhibit Producer Spot In 2024