Heard a rather good talk by Gordon Glenister of British Promotional Merchandise at the B2B Marketing Expo today. After spending two days at this kind of trade show you do get a certain merchandise-fatigue, which I think Glenister hit on well. To him, a successful product needs to be (in descending order of importance): quality, memorable, relevant, useful, with a long desk life. So funnily enough, the long-maligned conference pen still performs incredibly well. In other words, being quirky might grab people's attentions at a trade show but if it's bad quality and not useful to them, it's going to get thrown away fast.

Glenister's recommendation is to start with your target audience before you even look at a catalogue. What will they find useful in their day to day life? And secondly, how can you make the most of the product to spread your message (witty slogans or educational text can be a great way to stay in people's minds long after the event).

Here are just a few of his suggestions for products:

  • Licensing spin off
  • Customer Welcome Packs
  • Umbrellas (147 days a year it rains)
  • Goody bags

We keep things simple on our stand and distribute stickems - little screen cleaners in the shape of our logo which people can stick to the back of their phones. It comes with a piece of cardboard on which we can share information about Passle. We never seem to order enough of these, and I frequently finding myself posting them to clients who want one!