Conferences inundate guests with brands that they will likely forget over the course of the day. Because of this, swag came along as a means of remembrance. Whether the guests actually remember you specifically is of no consequence. What they remember of the company is. So while it might be tempting to release the wackiest swag to grab attention, wackiness doesn’t have staying power. Instead, use swag to your benefit by sending the right message.
Your product needs to be needed by attendees and visitors. Apart from the obvious fact that useful items get more mileage from their owners, word gets around very quickly. If you have schwag that is far superior to others handed out, many more people will head your way if only to pick up the free gift. Though you may not engage every single visitor, you’ll still have caught the attention of a large majority, meaning word is spreading and your brand is reaching individuals that would have otherwise overlooked your product. Pens and mugs are great, but flashlights and USB drives are even better. Anything and everything can be printed on nowadays, so why limit your imagination?
One of the modern bonuses of schwag is that it no longer has to be material goods. By thinking outside the box into the realm of potential of technological schwag, you can come up with a truly unique way to promote your company. The downside to this is that it is still a new market so there is not much data as to its effectiveness. Instead of opting for one or the other, however, begin to merge the two. Create physical schwag that then leads customers to your virtual gifts. This type of transition means you’ll begin paying less for this marketing technique while communicating to the audience that you are onboard with further integrating technology and business.
It comes as no surprise that more and more consumers are shifting their practices to those that are beneficial to the environment. From reusable bags to biodegradable everything, this generation’s war is about saving the earth before it’s too late. This means that wasted paper flyers and useless schwag are not looked highly upon. Look to recycled materials or having attendees vote on what charity the schwag budget will go to. By giving gifts that help others, you leave visitors with a sense of pride and fulfillment that regular schwag can’t provide. They will then associate your brand with being a giving, conscious company that cares more for others than it does for profits.
Every major company is guilty of this. They use supporters or employees posing as supporters to get the message out about their brand. Social media alone is proof enough of this practice with dummy accounts lauding companies for being the best thing since the invention of the printing press. You can do this too. If your budget can’t support high-end schwag for everyone you expect to visit, invest in some schwag a few select supporters can use with the stipulation they spend a certain amount of time promoting your company in the crowd. Use them to generate the hype and the schwag as a gift for their time and effort. It’s an efficient, affordable way to use free gifts in the capacity they were designed for—to spread brand awareness.
When you begin experimenting with schwag, remember that it’s not about how loud you are so much as it is about how effective you are. Bobble pens with crazy feathers on them are only hilarious for so long but quickly lose precedence for less cumbersome writing utensils. Even if you have an unlimited schwag budget, never stop pushing the bounds of possibilities. With pad printing processes you can print on pretty much anything. It’s through inventive and useful means that free stuff becomes more than just free stuff. Only by letting go of convention can you truly learn how to market to a new audience with guaranteed return on your investment.