Swag items and bags are a staple at large professional events, and most attendees try to grab as much of the stuff as they can. Event sponsors who invest in these take-home items usually review attendance rates after the gathering and if they meet expectations, celebrate what they believe to be a successful marketing campaign. However, what event sponsors don’t realize is that the large majority of their items are just being left in hotel rooms and dumped in trash cans before departing. So, how can your business step up its swag marketing and avoid funding hundreds of one-way trips to the landfill? By reviewing these tips below!

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Think Logically

Conference-goers probably don’t plan on going back to their rooms during the event, so keep in mind that everything you give them will be extra mass they have to carry around. If you’re handing out paperweights, the only thing they’ll probably end up holding down is crumpled stacks of ads in the trash can. For the same reason, don’t give attendees unusually-shaped items like tall umbrellas. Besides being hard to tote around, they’ll never make it into most of the attendee’s luggage due to space constraints.


Imagine Yourself as the Consumer

If the event is using swag bags to deliver your items, it’s almost a guarantee that the entire package will be sorted through within five minutes of initial contact. Therefore, it’s important that attendees can immediately see the value of your item. Electronics and digital accessories sit at the top of the list for immediate recognition, seeing as most items are pieces that the professional already buys. Flash drives, tablet accessories, and earphones are all small items that attendees always need anyways, so they’re almost sure to make the trip home.

Clothing and wearable items fall right below electronics in the value hierarchy, but frequent conference-goers complain that the sponsor’s graphics are often too large. To combat this, either make your graphics so abstract that they look like art, or simply place a small logo somewhere on the sleeve/pocket area. You’ll get the most out of your investment if the attendee wears your item at all, so put yourself in their shoes and design a product that can be worn without feeling like a billboard. Also, if you can't afford to give out pens that actually work, please just don't give out pens.


Theme Your Swag Around the Event

Is the event going to take place outdoors? Perhaps your target audience would be more inclined to remember your company if they were reapplying branded sunscreen all day. Centering your item selection around the event itself is a great way to ensure that your item gets used and recognized. Blank notebooks and pens are a classic way to connect attendees with the conference and add value to their experience. Not only will they use them to take down quick notes during lectures, but they’ll also make use of these once they get home. That means more exposure for your name.


Go Digital

Flyers and postcards are usually the first items to be tossed, but there is a more covert way to market your business and services. Besides being a great idea due to the previously described reasons, USB thumb drives also offer you the chance to include a pre-saved digital download or file. Most flash drives make it back to attendee’s homes or offices, and your pre-existing file can serve as a great welcome party for the new owner. It’s a good idea to include links to your website or download offerings during initial contact since users will be most involved during their first investigation into the file.

Swag marketing is a classic part of professional events, and we don’t see it going anywhere soon. Now we want to ask you! What’s the best swag item you’ve ever received? Let us know in the comments below!

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