Best Event Swag Giveaway Ideas on the Planet

Michael Brenner on May 24, 2017 in Content Marketing

Receiving event swag is as much a part of the corporate conference and industry trade show experience as getting holiday cards is a part of the Christmas season. There are just some situations in life when we want to remain present in another’s mind.

While many people display their season’s greetings cards on the living room coffee table or hang them on the fridge, the reality is–a lot of those swag bags filled with stickers, promo cards, magnets, and other items just end up in the trash.

Instead of accepting that this is the way things are, and putting in your order for 400 more boring branded pens with a sigh, why not up the ante with your conference giveaways?

Your attendees will walk away feeling inspired and informed by your event’s content, ready to return to their personal and professional lives a little more empowered than they were before. And, they’ll have a keepsake they actually want to keep.

So the question to answer when you sit down to come up with your best event swag ideas isn’t what would look good with your logo, but rather, what do people really want?

Giveaways to Use or Consume at the Conference

One approach to take is to giveaway items that your attendees can use at the conference. Hubspot recommends giving away mobile device chargers with your logo printed on them. The brilliance of this idea is that it also helps to keep those mobile phones charged for plenty of social media engagement during your event.

This is a more expensive option than pens or the dreaded keychain, but it’s a useful item that will make your attendees feel valued. You can still stay within budget, even with a pricier giveaway. By purchasing fewer items, you may not have a device charger for everyone, but everyone you give your item to will appreciate what they received.

Other useful during-the-event swag may include mini branded care packages. A snack bar, coconut water, breath mints, and a small pen and notebook for taking notes. You can use seasonal items like sunscreen in the summer or hand lotion in the winter. Ask, what items may my attendees need, but forget to bring?

Swag Tailored to Your Buyer Personas

Keep in mind your demographic when coming up with your promotional giveaways. For example, do you have an earth-friendly audience? Think green gifts like reusable shopping bags with your logo printed on them, recycled notebook for taking conference notes, and make sure any food items are healthy and organic.

Speaking to pet lovers? Use unique, related gifts like a dog water bottle or organic pet treats. Fitness enthusiasts? Go for gym gear. Millennials may be more interested in digital swag, where traditional professionals may prefer things like moleskin notebooks, quality headphones for business travel, or a tablet stylus pen.

Creative Ideas Leave a Lasting Impression

Another way to impress your attendees and make them glad they came is with unique swag. For anyone who works at a desk all day solving complex problems, from software developers to financial analysts, fidget spinners for adults are great.

Attendees at events attracting tech-related professionals may enjoy a little brain boost. Try individual packets of matcha or turmeric latte powder, which they can then take home and try out for themselves.

If your attendees have busy schedules and could use some stress relief, miniature adult coloring books are great. These are giveaways that are fun and unexpected, yet you can still work your brand logo onto the packaging or the items themselves.

Go Traditional, But Improve the Quality

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The traditional event swag items like t-shirts, coffee mugs and pens, can still be a smart choice, especially if your conference caters to a general audience. After all, it can be difficult to curate a swag care package if your attendees don’t fit within one easily identifiable demographic.

For example, what may work well for tech-savvy millennials may turn off the seasoned corporate vets who are coming to hear your speaking panel.

When in doubt, go traditional. However, you can still offer more value by simply using higher quality items.

  • T-shirts will always be great swag items for events that cater to Gen Y and X’ers. Spend a little more for a better quality shirt and make sure your logo design is something people would want to wear, and you’ve got a swag winner. Anything from a catchy quote to a stunning design, depending on what your attendees are more likely to appreciate. If you’re just going to print your logo on a cheap shirt, just understand your t-shirt will likely end up as sleepwear.
  • Coffee mugs and water bottles are practical items. But, if your attendees go to multiple conferences a year, they probably have an entire cupboard filled with branded cups and bottles. Want to stand out? Find a way to make your branded water bottle different from the rest. Use ones that have included water filters or use glass instead of plastic. For mugs, focus on the design for your coffee cups. If you make the visual appeal more important than blasting a huge logo on the surface, your cup may become a favorite.
  • Pens are probably the most common company swag item on the planet. Every conference gives them out. They are cheap, and, let’s face it; pens are useful. Don’t make pens your only swag. But, you may want to add a pen with your logo on it into a full swag package. As with everything else, it pays to buy higher-quality pens. If yours run out of ink before the conference ends, they’re definitely going in the trash. You’ll also end up leaving a sour impression on your attendees’ minds.

Event Swag Deserves as Much Effort as Your Content Marketing

Coming up with your conference giveaway ideas is really no different than coming up with your content marketing strategies. The underlying ‘why’ behind what you create or what you giveaway is to provide value, to connect, and to make their lives a little better. When you come from this angle, you’ll make the greatest impact, giving your event that perfect finishing touch.

Are you looking for your event’s next speaker? Check out my highlight reel below and BOOK ME TO SPEAK today!

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Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.