True or false?
There are many ways that exhibitors have attempted to build traffic, some successfully, many not so much. Back in the ‘70’s (ancient history to millennials, like yesterday to septuagenarians like me) “booth babes” were often used to attract trade show visitors, the majority of whom were men. It wasn’t particularly effective in generating sales then. Today it is a tactic rarely employed and even more rarely successful. Given the current heightened concern with sexual harassment, booth babes are tres passé.
Dispensing gifts to visitors is a tactic that seemingly will not die. There will always be visitors for whom scoring a freebie is of high importance. Providing a gift for every visitor is unlikely to impact sales positively. In fact, the better the give-away, the more counter-productive the tactic. You wind up spending your most valuable trade show resource, time, with many people that have little interest in your product, no application for your product or no influence in the purchasing decision within their organization.
If you do have a fruitful discussion with a visitor to your exhibit, dispensing a gift to a visitor as a gesture is acceptable, especially if it is something that she will find useful in her daily life. It can be a reminder of your organization and its products. Here has some excellent tips on selecting trade show giveaways.
The key to trade show success is attracting persuadable visitors, those for whom your product can provide benefits. Pre-show promotion is very important. Compelling exhibit graphics that highlight your products’ most relevant benefits are essential. It's not the quantity of leads that count, it's the quality.