It all starts with your VP of Marketing asking, “Do you have a valid passport?” After you say yes, she replies, “Great, we need you to cover our upcoming company tradeshow in Hamburg!” After you return to your cube and confirm with Google that it is in fact, Hamburg, Germany, you think to yourself, “But I don’t speak German!” This school of hard knocks is the foray into the international event space for many event and marketing specialists. Here are the top tips I’ve gleaned from helping my customers with their promo items for events in 7 countries and 2 continents.
- Source Promo In-Country. If at all possible, source promo/swag in-country or at the very least, the region your trade show is taking place. A reputable, US-based promo product supplier will have contacts and connections at their disposal. This will help you save a large amount on shipping costs from the United States and will also help avoid unnecessary delays with customs.
- Do Your Homework. Some regions are more subtle with how they brand their giveaways. For instance, it is not uncommon in Europe for swag items/giveaways to either have a small, discreet imprint or no imprint at all. In America we are not nearly as subtle, but many European businesses who give away promo items at tradeshows believe less is more.
- Plan Ahead. Even when sourcing in-country, you will still need between 4 – 5 weeks to execute a promo product order from start to finish. While the average promotional supplier in the United States takes 4 days, most international suppliers are between 12 – 15 days.