Promotional products can increase traffic to an exhibitor’s trade show booth. A 1991 study by Exhibit Survey Inc., found that using promotional products can give you an advantage over other exhibitors for buyer attention.

To promote traffic at its booth, an exhibitor sent invitations to 4,900 trade show registrants. These registrants were further broken down into smaller groups, each of which received from zero to three gifts (before, at, and/or after the show).

To learn what gift combinations had the best results, researchers measured booth traffic, post-show memory of having received the invitation, and registrant goodwill toward the company after the show. Results are described below.


Invitation response (booth traffic) was significantly higher for Groups A, B, and C (who all received an invitation to receive a gift at the show) than for Groups D and E (who did not).

The response rate was highest for Group B (11.6%), whose members received a gift set (a coaster before the show and a matching coffee mug at the show). This is 61% higher than the runner up (Group C) and almost three times higher than Groups D and E.

The gift set also increased the memorability of the invitation. Group B remembered receiving the invitation 37% to 304% more than the other groups. Groups A and C also remembered receiving the invitation significantly more often than Groups D and E.

Group B also showed the most goodwill (positive feelings) toward the company.

These findings demonstrate the effectiveness and flexibility of using promotional products to increase customer awareness, goodwill, and traffic at trade show exhibits.