Chamber Promotional Items vs. Giveaways

A member of the Chamber Professionals Group on Facebook asked:Chamber giveaway

Beating my head against the wall trying to come up with a logo gift/giveaway to give our members at our Annual Meeting. I am torn between quantity vs. quality, traditional vs. modern. What giveaways do you like? throw away? use all the time?


The first part in making a decision on items is deciding whether they are giveaways or promotional items.

There is a difference.


Promotional Items vs. Giveaways


A giveaway is something you’re doing as a thank you, in appreciation for something – their service, their membership, etc.  It should be given the same thought a chamber gift would; something nice and tied into the occasion for which it’s given.

A promotional item is a marketing piece aimed at getting people to remember your chamber. Your chamber promotional items should be tied into your marketing campaign and ultimate goal.

Identifying the recipient is important in a giveaway and a promotional item but for different reasons. For a giveaway, you’re identifying the recipient because you want the gift to be meaningful to them. For a promotional item, you want to make sure it accomplishes your chamber marketing goal.

If your chamber is hosting an annual meeting and you want to give members an attendance gift, a gift that is significant to your community and priced moderately at best. If the gift is to thank them for their membership, the cost of it should not be a large percentage of what they pay in dues, nor should it be a cheap, meaningless token.

On the other hand, if you are giving away an item at an event in the hopes that people receiving it will think about joining your chamber, it should be correlated to the stage in the sales process. For instance, a promotional item that is meant to get people asking about your chamber should be far less substantial than an item you bring to the office of a CEO who’s about to join your chamber.

Simple Rules about Promotional Items

  • Promotional items should not be disposable. Their point is to create awareness or keep you top of mind. If the item has been eaten, so has your marketing.
  • Although cute is fun and the promotional items will disappear rapidly, you don’t want to do anything that will end up in your potential members’ children’s rooms.
  • Items tied to your area or tied cleverly to the event are good.
  • Promotional items should be broadly used by most people, unless you’re aiming at a niche market, such as recruiting more women business owner.
  • Aim for a promotional item that will be kept where the potential member does business.

When deciding on an item for your chamber, the first questions to ask are who is it for and why? Once you’ve decided that you’ll have a better idea of how to proceed.

Guest post by Christina Green

“Dawn of Prosperity” Image via Flickr by Birmingham Public Library


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