In the past we’ve discussed items your event attendees will love. However, on the flip side, we’ve all received an item at a trade show or corporate event that left us underwhelmed (to put it gently). It happens. There is no one thing that appeals to everyone. M&M’s come close though…just not the plain ones.
This is true with swag.
A recent post on HubSpot dove into this a little deeper by listing the good and bad of swag. This got me thinking about the items I’ve received along the way, and I realized that there is no such thing as bad swag.
For example, HubSpot singles out the following as bad swag: key chains, pens, USB drives, large items, and paperweights. Why are these things so bad? To be fair, large items logistically do not make sense in most situations where your attendees must travel to/from your event. But being that that particular call out is not specific to any given item I’m going to throw it out.
As for the rest, good vs. bad swag is entirely dependent on the event, audience, campaign and overall communication strategy.
Raise your hand if you have a keychain that features a brand or event you are passionate about, or that conjures a feeling of nostalgia. That keychain will likely mean nothing to the person next to you. But for you, it was great swag.
Unless your event is called Tablet Users United, a pen is something that everyone can and will use. However, choose a pen that will stand above the rest. Low quality pens are less likely to make the cut when people sort through their event bags. Don’t misrepresent your brand with a throw away item.
USB drives may have had their heyday a few years ago, but they are still highly relevant and useful to most everyone. Not everyone has moved to the “Cloud” yet and having a USB drive handy has bailed me out many times.
Finally, the paperweight… OK, this may qualify as bad swag if it serves no other purpose than to sit on paper. Yet, if it doubles as a helicopter with a pen for propellers, it’s awesome swag. I love mine!
So what it boils down to can be summarized (long version here) as this…
- Know your audience.
- Drive your message with the swag.
- Have a goal/purpose. Don’t give stuff away just for the sake of giving something away.
So now, I pose to you the same question as HubSpot, what’s the best or worst swag you’ve seen at a conference?