Event Giveaways: Earning Value from Your Freebees


Why would you want to have a giveaway at your event? Well, to truly answer that question, we need to get a little philosophical and ask what happens to your event once it is over?

 While that may appear to be a mind-bender, the answer is pretty straightforward: the event becomes a memory. Now, how do you ensure that your event becomes a lasting memory? Well, unfortunately, on that point it seems that you have a great deal of competition.

 Not only is your event contending with the memories of all the other events that a person has attended throughout his or her life, but it turns out that you are actually at a disadvantage if you give someone a great time. 

 According to a New York Times article on memory, negative experiences create stronger memories than positive ones. “The brain handles positive and negative information in different hemispheres,” Clifford Nass, a professor of communication at Stanford University, said in the article. “Negative emotions generally involve more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive ones. Thus, we tend to ruminate more about unpleasant events — and use stronger words to describe them — than happy ones. Some people do have a more positive outlook, but almost everyone remembers negative things more strongly and in more detail.”

 So, for the memory of your event to remain fresh (and build anticipation for events to come), periodic reminders are necessary. A strong social media presence and a solid marketing plan are crucial, but they are not the only solution.


 One key method of keeping the memory of your event alive is through a giveaway. When someone sees your branding every day (or, at least, occasionally throughout a month), it keeps the positive feeling and memory of your event alive.

 Of course, for this to work, someone has to be able to see your branding. This means that your giveaway has to be something they periodically use to that otherwise provides value. Unfortunately, many event giveaways are simply left behind in someone’s hotel room or wind up in the garbage.

 How can you ensure that your giveaway has value and will withstand the rigorous test of time? 

 Make Them Functional

 What is the actual value of a branded pen? How much worth does a USB drive have in this time of cloud computing?

 Look, people love free things, and they will happily accept anything given to them. The problem is that when the shine wears off, once the buzz of the show floor has faded and they are back in their quiet hotel room, the gift that once seemed priceless now looks more like a useless hogger of precious suitcase space.

 Your job, when selecting a giveaway, is to find an item that your audience needs and will use. Maybe you’re in an industry where a pen is always required. That would dramatically increase the value of a branded pen. However, most businesses don’t even write notes anymore; instead, people tap or speak notes into their mobile devices.

 What does your target audience need? What could you give them that they would use every day? Or, maybe it’s not an issue of daily use. Is there something you could give to your guests that they would cherish and be proud to display? To answers these questions, you have to know your audience, so you can understand their needs, and then tailor your giveaways to their requirements.

 Make Them Durable

 There’s no point in going through all of that brainstorming to find the perfect giveaway if the item is going to break within a few days, weeks, or even months. The whole point of this giveaway is to keep the memory of your event alive and top-of-mind. That is impossible to accomplish from a landfill.

 Let’s say you hand out portable mobile device chargers. A cheap charger will last just long enough for someone to start enjoying its use before it stops holding a charge. If your goal was to annoy your attendees, congratulations, mission accomplished. However, we all know that is not your goal. So, don’t cheap out.  

 That’s not to say you have to spend a fortune. Your intent should be to purchase quality items, not extravagant ones. Also, you can find bargains by shopping around. Different vendors will often sell the same (or similar) items at considerably diverse prices.

 Purchasing higher-quality will cost more, but the minimal cost difference could pay massive dividends in attendee appreciation and marketing value. The more time that someone utilizes your giveaway, the more value you – and they – will receive.

 Make Them Consequential

 A portable charger, even the best, is only as good as its functionality allows – until you instill it with further meaning. The message you include on your giveaway will personalize the item, infusing it with even greater importance. This can be as simple as the logo and year of your event, or it can go further by including a slogan or a personalized line that relates to your event and the item.


 You can also tie your item into the message of the event. For example, if environmentalism is important to you and your guests – and you’ve taken steps to host a green event – your giveaways could tie directly into this theme. Attendees will notice and appreciate when they receive reusable goods and items made from recycled materials. Some ideas for green giving include:

·      Reusable water bottles

·      Votives made from recycled glass

·      Reusable shopping bags

·      Gifts where a portion of the sale went to charity

·      Solar mobile device chargers

·      Reusable straws

·      Biodegradable items

 Similarly, if your event has a tech focus, or if you have a tech-savvy crowd, you can hand out a variety of tech-friendly gifts. Electronic gadgets will always be a hit and include items such as:

·      Mobile device chargers

·      PopSockets / phone rings

·      Wireless chargers

·      Bluetooth speakers

·      Webcam covers

·      Waterproof phone cases

·      Dual USB car chargers

·      Headphones / earbuds

·      Smart wallets

·      Screen cleaners / keyboard cleaners

·      Wireless key trackers

·      Phone stands

 Health and wellness are topics that are incredibly important to many attendees. If you know your crowd is likely hitting the gym before they spend the day at your event, you can impress them with items like:

·      Yoga mats

·      Yoga blocks

·      Aromatherapy oils

·      Essential oils

·      Gym bags

·      Reusable water bottles

·      Blender bottles

·      Exercise bands

·      Sweat towels

·      Mini first aid kits

 It can also be fun to tie your giveaways to the moments that surround your event, such as the time of year. Seasonal items for the warm months can include:

·      Pool / beach towels

·      Flip flops

·      Sunglasses

·      Picnic blankets

·      Plastic drinkware

·      Sunscreen

·      Mini fans

·      Waterproof containers

·      Bottle openers

·      Cooler bag

Or for events held when the cool temperatures strike:

·      Touchscreen gloves

·      Winter knit hats (pom-poms optional)

·      Hand warmers / foot warmers

·      Warm, comfy blankets

·      Ice scrapers

 When handing out your giveaways, don’t just set them on a table and let your guests grab one on their way out the door. The best part of these giveaways is the personal touch, so be sure to have employees on hand to directly hand out the gifts to your guests as they leave. This will add yet another connection with your audience. 

 By knowing your audience and giving them a gift that they will use and that will last, you will achieve your goals for the ideal giveaway – something that will serve as a reminder of your event while building anticipation for the next one to come.