Don't Ban Swag at Events, Ban Lazy Marketing!

David Betke

Swag has recently developed a negative reputation associated with event waste. However, the real issue lies in lazy and last-minute marketing practices that lead to excessive swag production and environmental harm. This post will explore the importance of thoughtful and sustainable marketing strategies that engage attendees meaningfully. By shifting our focus from lazy marketing to swag done right, we can exploit its potential as a potent tool for brand awareness, engagement, and customer loyalty. Let's make our events more impactful and environmentally conscious.

The Problem with Lazy Marketing

Lazy marketing involves simply slapping logos onto generic items without considering the intended message or target audience. These items are then given away with the expectation of results without any strategic plan. This often leads to disappointing outcomes and a waste of resources. When branded merchandise is not given enough thought, it often becomes trinkets and trash, contributing to environmental pollution.

Organic cotton t-shirt, pen made from corn cellulose and paper printed on 100% post-consumer recycled stock

The Power of Swag Done Right

Swag, done right, can be a game-changer. Swag offers a unique sensory experience unmatched by other media forms. It allows your audience to physically interact with your brand, creating lasting impressions and driving engagement. By investing time and effort into strategic swag selection, you can maximize its impact on your target audience.

Planning to Reduce Waste 

To reduce waste and make the most out of your promotional merchandise, it's important to target the right audience. Don't hand out swag to everyone without considering their potential as a customer. Instead, conduct research to better understand your audience, set specific goals, and develop an engagement strategy that aligns with your brand narrative. Make sure to only give out swag on the condition of taking action, and accurately measure the response to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Avoid wasting resources on incomplete or ineffective strategies.

Strategic Swag Selection

It's essential to select swag that aligns with your brand and company values. Keep in mind your target audience and the purpose of the swag. Pick items your audience will connect with and integrate them with a story. Choosing the right product will remind recipients of your brand's story and the emotions it evokes, which can strengthen brand loyalty.

Swag as a Tool for Engagement and Brand Loyalty

Swag can serve a greater purpose than just being a giveaway item. By incorporating it into interactive experiences or campaigns, you can engage your audience on a deeper level. Hosting contests or giveaways that require participation provides opportunities for face-to-face interactions with potential customers. By integrating swag into the overall experience, you can build stronger brand loyalty.

Used as an example to 40 other women’s shelters nationwide

Make Receipt of Swag Conditional

To attract interested prospects, make receiving swag conditional on specific actions like signing up for an email list or completing a short survey before they receive their swag. By using this approach, you can ensure that you engage with people who are interested in your products or services, increasing the chance of converting them into loyal customers.

Measuring Swag Effectiveness

Remember to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Track metrics like website traffic, social media mentions, or customer surveys to gauge the impact of your promotional merchandise. Implement unique coupon codes or tracking URLs to gain insights into conversion rates and return on investment. Continually evaluate and refine your swag initiatives to ensure they yield positive results.

Planting trees to replace plastic swag

Addressing Environmental Concerns

While swag can be a powerful marketing tool, addressing its environmental concerns is crucial. Adopt sustainable practices like using recycled materials when creating promotional items. Opt for durable items that recipients can use for an extended period, reducing waste. Also, consider promoting eco-friendly alternatives such as virtual forests where recipients can plant trees using tree codes provided instead of receiving cheap plastic swag.

In conclusion, don't ban swag at events and overlook the true culprit - lazy marketing. Swag can be a powerful tool for increasing brand awareness, engaging customers, and fostering loyalty. To achieve this, we should prioritize reducing waste through better planning, carefully selecting our show incentives, incorporating promotional products strategically into interactive experiences, measuring their impact, and prioritizing environmental concerns.
Through better planning, we create less waste and more sustainable profits, leading to events that become sustainable for our planet and your budget.

About The Author

David Betke has dedicated his career to helping brands that give back, make a bigger difference. His campaigns have helped save a 65 000-acre forest forever, reduced carbon emissions in a city measurably, and helped recruit three senior engineers during the height of a labor crisis. One even generated a 6000% return within six months and attracted a couple of great customers for life. David has been personally recognized with seven national marketing awards.