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Swag that we want

Marketers love to put their logo on stuff.  Useless stuff.  Hats, mugs, bags, shirts.

Swag ("some worthless advertising gimmick") is expensive to make and environmental mistake.

We get it at conferences and throw it away.  Unless we take it home and throw it away. (Dude, nobody wants your clever t-shirt. It’s not as funny as you think it is.)  Or we give it to interns, which is better than paying them.

If you really want high-impact giveaways, be smart about it.  I’m at 2-3 events every week, so here’s my review of what works:

  • Food always works. Coffee in your booth, snacks, etc.  I put little boxes of cereal on every seat when I give a breakfast speech. Everyone needs Froot Loops.
  • Normal pens. Good pens get saved.  Weird, giant, odd-looking pens get tossed.  The amazingly tasteful, attractive, and smart Cisco event team gave me a Tiffany pen. (No, you can’t borrow it.Ec_2
  • Nf
    Good Bags
    . but only if they are worth keeping.  Everyone already has a briefcase when they arrive at your meeting. If you’re going to give out more, make sure it’s something they will appreciate, not toss out. VF Corporation has given me amazing gear, including the Eagle Creak Switchback and North Face Base Camp Duffel. I know they will last as long as the 1990 JasSport backpack I’m still using.  They make good stuff!
  • Books.  Everyone loves books.  At a WOMMA conference, we gave away 8 books one year.  So we also had to give everyone a good backpack to carry them.
  • Mints.  Everyone needs breath mints.

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  1. Craig Rentmeester September 26, 2007 at 9:44 am #

    I have been working at a new job for almost two months now. As such, I was brought in to help the company build its brand.
    On my first day, I was handed a box of can coolers with the company’s logo.
    I was very surprised and knew, right away, that the company needed to start thinking more strategically about its branding efforts.
    I liked your ideas about giving away mints. That is a small, inexpensive thing that any company can afford and get right.
    Great post.

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