The promo buyer paradox: someone holding a card that reads, "It's not about you"
02 February 2024

The Promo Buyer Paradox: It's About Your Customer, Not You!


The Promo Buyer Paradox:


The Promo Buyer Paradox refers to the disconnect between the buyer’s preferences and those of the attendees who receive the promotional products. Buyers often select promotional items based on their personal preferences or what they believe will appeal to their target audience. However, this approach ignores a critical aspect of event success - engaging and impressing the attendees to convert them into paying customers or engaged employees. It also ignores your business's marketing objectives.

In my 30+ years in marketing, I have witnessed some disturbing, to say the least, examples of this Paradox. One that comes to mind is an event for construction contractors. The owner asked his assistant to buy some swag for the show. I could not talk her out of pink bedazzled travel mugs. How do you think that went?

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The Importance of Attendee Satisfaction


The success of an event is heavily dependent on attendee satisfaction. If attendees are impressed and satisfied with their experience, they are more likely to perceive the brand and its products or services positively. On the other hand, if promotional products fail to resonate with attendees, it can lead to missed brand exposure and engagement opportunities.


Tailoring Promotional Products to Attendee Preferences


To overcome The Promo Buyer Paradox, buyers must consider attendee preferences when selecting promotional products. Understanding the target audience's demographics, interests, and needs can help you choose items that resonate with them. Conducting surveys or gathering feedback from past event attendees can provide valuable insights into their preferences.


Creating a Memorable Experience


Promotional products should be visually appealing and create a memorable experience for attendees. The goal is to leave a lasting impression that keeps the brand top-of-mind long after the event has ended. This can be achieved by selecting unique or innovative items that stand out from the typical event swag. Better yet, add a story to your swag to ensure that every time they see the product in the future, it reminds them of your story.


Aligning Promotional Products with Event & Marketing Objectives


To align promotional products with event and marketing objectives, it is essential to define them clearly. Determine your key messages, target audience, and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for the event. Once the objectives and target audience are established, select promotional products that resonate with the event theme and align with your marketing message. Consider the practicality and usefulness of the products to ensure they create a positive brand impression.

The Role of Promotional Products in Events


Before we delve deeper into the paradox, let’s first understand the role of promotional products in events. Promotional products are tangible reminders of an event or brand, creating lasting impressions and fostering brand loyalty. When chosen wisely, these items can generate positive brand associations and drive customer engagement.

A magnet pulling people towards it

Whether through clever design, meaningful messaging, or an engaging backstory, integrating a story into promotional products helps establish a deeper bond between the brand and its customers, making the brand more memorable and relatable.

Don't Forget Your Call to Action


To avoid attracting people who are only looking for free items, including a call to action is a good idea. This means making it necessary for them to take specific steps to receive the product. This helps filter out those who aren't genuinely interested. Additionally, it's crucial to have a reliable way of tracking the actions taken by people so you can accurately assess how practical your approach is.


Leveraging Technology and Personalization


Technology can significantly enhance the attendee experience with promotional products. Buyers can leverage interactive features such as QR codes or augmented reality to provide additional value or information to attendees. Personalizing promotional items with attendees’ names or custom messages can make them feel special and increase the likelihood of retention.

Adding Story to Enhance Recall


Adding a story to promotional products creates a powerful connection between the product and the brand. Incorporating a narrative that resonates with the audience ensures they are reminded of the brand's story every time they see the product. This connection goes beyond the functional aspect of the product, as it evokes emotions and creates a lasting impression.

Adding story such as in this promotion about shedding light on the facts around family violence can help with the swag buyer paradox

By analyzing attendee engagement metrics, buyers can gain insights into what worked well and what could be improved in future events. 

Collaborating with an Experienced Promotional Product Provider


Navigating The Promo Buyer Paradox can be challenging, but collaborating with an experienced promotional product provider can ease the process. We have in-depth knowledge of attendee preferences and trends, allowing us to offer valuable insights and recommendations on selecting the most impactful promotional products, strategies and metrics to ensure they become valuable investments instead of unneeded expenses.



In conclusion, The Promo Buyer Paradox highlights the importance of impressing attendees with promotional products to ensure event success for the buyer’s company. By understanding attendee preferences, tailoring promotional items accordingly, and creating memorable experiences, buyers can bridge the gap between their preferences and those of their target audience. Collaborating with an experienced promotional product provider and measuring attendee engagement are key steps toward achieving this goal. Remember, it’s not just about pleasing the buyer; it’s about captivating the attendees who can make or break an event’s success.

Why choose us?  We make promotional products work!

Measuring Success Through Attendee Engagement


To truly gauge the success of promotional products at an event, measuring attendee engagement and success against stated KPIs is essential. This may be done through various means, such as dedicated event tech, surveys, social media monitoring, or tracking website traffic generated through specific promotional links.

Measuring results with apps like thie Simple Leads exhibitor app can help with the swag buyer paradox
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