Take it or Toss it?

Ever get bombarded at trade shows with useless junk?

Well, come to Chicago April 11th through the 15th and get bombarded with Romance themed junk! And I’ll be sure to bombard you, too.

But that’s my problem. In the past six weeks I have ordered TONS of promotional items that I never before thought I’d order and to be honest, as the time gets closer, I’m wondering what will people keep and what will they toss?

My idea is to put all of my “junk” into a wine-colored organza bag so it all stays together.

Here’s what I have so far:

  • Business Card with a Smashwords coupon on the back
  • Red and silver pen with my logo, name and website on the side
  • Screen cleaner or Cleansweep as the lady called them that can attach to any screen: phone, computer screen, or even an eReader
  • USB drive with my logo, name and website on it, plus two books preloaded on it
  • Chocolate truffle (wrapped, of course)–remember when I asked about favorite candy earlier this month, this is why

Then of course the postcards that I’ll sign, but those’ll be outside the bag.

All right, ladies, those who’d like to offer an opinion on what you’d trash or keep feel free to share. Also, if you have any suggestions, please share. No hurt feelings here, I promise!

21 thoughts on “Take it or Toss it?”

  1. Since I was raised in the trade show business ( 4 generations of custom trade show exhibit design and construction) I can honestly say that your promotional items are all keepers, however remember that cards get lost or discarded unless attached to something (like one of the other promo items). My favorite would be the USB drive and remember that some times food melts or gets destroyed and is sometimes thrown out rather than consumed.

    One of my favorite and most unique items we ever provided was an old fashion paper kite, The printing could be your logo with a tag line like Rose Gordon makes my hear Soar, Rose Gordon – Love is in the air! etc. – you get the picture. An inexpensive way to dress your booth is just to Assemble a few kites and mount them around the back wall and table and the tails can have book covers mounted to them or silk scarves, ribbons and lace. Just a quick inexpensive decor that ties into your promotional give away! Just a thought for next time!!!

    Just an idea for my queen from her humble servant – 41 states down with only 9 more to go! It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it!

    1. You know, it’s funny you mention the part about cards get lost or discarded. I was thinking that maybe I should hole-punch my business card and tie it to the organza bag? The postcard book covers I think are less likely to be tossed in the trash (I hope) because they’ll be signed. I just went to a conference where I got tons of book cover postcards and only kept the ones that were signed. To me, that added value. But still, I’m sure someone will toss that, there’s not a lot I can do about that. My hope in adding the coupon to the back of the business card was to make that more valuable.

      You know, I wondered about the candy. I’ve been thinking of how I’d get it there in the first place. I mean, it’s chocolate, it very well could melt on the plane. Hmm, I might have to go with either a hard candy or forgo the candy in general. The quickest way for everyone to trash what’s in my bag is if chocolate melts all over it. LOL

      I love the kite idea. I’ll have to remember that for next year! Thank you so much for the suggestions, Linda.

      By the way, wow only 9 states left? That’s promising! Any keepers yet?

  2. Every year, my company co- hosts a trade show with over 150 vendors and 3000+ participants, and I can honestly say, I would keep each of those things you mentioned. I have been doing this for 12 years and in my experience, people love the USB drives and clean sweeps. And I personally have a slight obsession with pens, so I am always up for those. LOL. I really love the idea of having it in a little organza bag too (very creative, btw!) because when you get those big plastic bags that you usually get at the door, all the stuff you pick up gets lost in the bottom and you have to sort through it all.

    1. Have you seen a lot of screen cleaners? I hadn’t seen them before. I hope they don’t “catch on” before I can give mine away. LOL

      I also have a pen obsession and almost ordered twice as many pens just so my office could be well-supplied for the year.

      I was hesitant at first about the USB drives, so we’ll see how it goes. We all use/need them, so it’s useful, but I don’t know if this is the right audience for them. We’ll see!

      Exactly on the organza bag! I guess if all my stuff just floated around in their bag, they’d see my name more as they kept pulling stuff out, but at the same time, the USB drive and the screen cleaner are just the right size to get lost amid a ton of junk and get trashed.

      By the way, I cannot imagine 3,000 participants. Good grief.

      1. Last fall was the first time I had ever seen the screen cleaners and only one vendor out of those 150+ had them (and they were a technology company). I have been to some smaller trade shows since and haven’t seen them. Everyone loved them! So I really think those will be a big hit. I really think the USB drives will go over well too. Candy…you could use Twizzlers because they are “twisty” and it goes with your ‘romance with a humorous twist’ and the color of love! πŸ™‚

      2. Hmm, hadn’t thought of Twizzlers!

        The only other company I’ve seen with these things is a huge national company (I think), but since they’re so expensive, I imagine it’ll be a while before they show up everywhere.

  3. I definitely would keep everything, except the chocolate wrapper, if you did chocolate. I too have an odd collection of advertising pens and always take the pens and pad of paper from the hotels we stay at when we drive across the country. I would probably get the most use out of the “clean sweep” because I cannot stand fingerprints on my phone and nook. I use those microfiber cloths they give you to clean your glasses. So something that would attach so I wouldn’t lose it would be great.

    1. Nothing wrong with keeping the pen and paper from a hotel. LOL

      Even my husband uses the clean sweep! They are totally useful, if not a bit weird that it’s red and “lovey”.

      Good to hear that you’d keep everything but the wrapper! Now I feel much better about what I’m taking! Thank goodness.

  4. I’m using the business card idea with the SW coupon on the back, but I’ve decided I’ll offer a coupon for whatever book someone picks. So I think the business card with a free book offer on the back is a great idea. I’ll sign it if the person wants. So I see a lot of uses for a business card, but the SW coupon on the back is an excellent reason to use one.

    I’d throw out chocolate because I’m a clean freak and would have to throw out everything in a bag if the chocolate melted. I had no idea what a cleansweep was until reading this post. I’d probably toss it because it’s an odd ball item I wouldn’t use. Unless the postcard was signed, I’d toss it. I would keep all the pens ever offered because I use those all the time (outside and inside the house). As for the USB drive, I would be too scared of a virus to use it. I’d go to SW, Amazon or B&N and buy the book instead. (BTW, I should add my knowledge is so limited in this area that I don’t even know if a virus can be carried on a USB stick. So I might be showing how little I know.)

    1. Had I not already printed up all of these cards with the coupon for Her Secondhand Groom to take with me to that conference in FL, where that book was a finalist, I would have done the same–written in the code on the back. Now, I’ll just write it on the back of a postcard.

      Yep, I’ve nixed the chocolate. I was a little surprised when someone recommended I give out chocolates as a way to help “move” my items… The more I ask around, the more I’m finding that is NOT a good idea.

      I have no idea if you can or cannot get a virus from a USB drive, but they’re in sealed packages (left the weird graphic, too much work, LOL) that they came in from the factory. I imagine some will toss them, but virus wouldn’t be the first thing I’d be thinking about, personally. But I’m glad you mention it because others might have the same thought.

  5. You have really put a lot of thought into this! I love, love, love the pre-loaded usb drives. I keep one on my desk at home, two in the media drawer near the tv, one in my purse, and my husband has one on his keychain. I use them all, all the time and would freak if one was offered as a promo item. Very high-end! I also love the organza bag idea and would definitely tie the card to the bag. I’m with the other posters on loosing the chocolate… even though they’re super yummy, your other items are so nice it would really be a shame to risk something being ruined by melting candy or squished truffle. Everything else sounds great.

    Question: Which books will be on the usb and what book can the SW coupon buy? Will you pre-sign the postcards or only autograph the ones fans ask for?

    1. Darah,

      The USBs are 2G (I think…the may just be 1G), but my books take up very little space on them so I’m hoping people can be like you and continue to use them for more than just to get my books in PDF form.

      The books on the drive are Intentions of the Earl and Her Sudden Groom. My thought on that was “First in Series”—it’s a marketing strategy, sadly.

      The coupon on the back of the business cards is for Secondhand. I had some 500 of them printed up for that conference in FL (where that book was up for their award). I didn’t give nearly enough of them away, so I still have tons of them and this seems the best use.

      I have eight different postcards. Seven are my seven book covers and the eighth is that generic Rose Gordon one with the dancing couple and the quill and ink pot. They can have whichever they want and I’ll sign it with a quill pen then. Heck, they may NOT want my messy writing on it.

    1. Thank you, LeeAnn!

      I was hoping to find things that would be kept and not trashed. While the trash guys who service my house might enjoy romance novels, I doubt the majority do so I don’t want to market to them, but to romance readers. So my goal was to think outside the book at what would be kept and used. Glad you approve!

  6. Personly I’d keep everything. truthfully though it’s likely that people will throw away the pens because most people have lots of pens. Depending on if the chocolate is melted also determineds if they will throw it away. Another thing people might throw away is the business card after they have used the code of course. Other then those things I’m sure everyone will like the stuff. If I could make it to the event I’d love to get those things alas I can not go. Well hope everything turns out well.

    1. I agree on the pens. I think those could go either way. They’ll be some who’ll keep them and others who won’t care. That’s expected. I personally leave them everywhere I go–on the table at a restaurant, on the counter at the bank, at the checkstand when I buy groceries. I’m sure some get tossed this way, but it’s the ones that don’t that I’m counting on.

      I do expect people to toss the business card. I used to be a paper hoarder, but truly, a business card like that does me no good. My main goal with that is to get people to download and read my book.

      Thank you for the well wishes. I hope it all turns out well, too!

    1. LOL It’s funny because I just went to a conference where candy was stapled to cards and whatnot and I only ate the chocolate…all the rest went to my kids!


  7. Having been to lots of trade show type events (and participated in a few), I would eat the candy and keep the rest. Good choices!

  8. Ok…I should have read other comments before commenting. If you really want to do chocolate, put it in a beautiful dish on your table! We always have candies at our tables.

    1. LOL Tami!

      I love the idea of the dish. I’ll have to do that. Thank you so much.

      I normally eat an chocolate I pick up, but I can see where others might toss it or give it to their kids.

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