A Bag Full of Boring

As a child I’d invest lots of energy mapping out the neighborhood each Halloween. Consulting friends, I’d learn which houses would likely have the best candy. With a hard 8:30 curfew, I recognized the importance of maximizing Trick or Treating time to find premium sweets.

My typical success rate: 90%.

The adult version of Trick or Treating is the SWAG bag (SWAG means Stuff We All Get). Distributed at parties, awards events, conferences, and other gatherings, the contents change based on the audience and who’s sponsoring the merchandise. The concept remains the same.

This past December I attended a holiday party for a business trade organization. At evening’s end 40+ revelers were encouraged to take a renewable bag of goodies.

Inside this promotional bag I found coasters, koozies, golf tees, pens, magnets, imprinted sunglasses, keychains, bottle openers, brochures and business cards. There were also a variety of snacks, half of which had business cards attached.

In other words the usual suspects. No ROLEX watches…DANG!

Obviously, anything without identification couldn’t help market the companies that paid for them. In fact, only two items  I received (of 32) weren’t donated, tossed, or eaten. Identifying names and business cards flew from mind.

The two items that caught my attention as different, useful, imprinted, and worth hanging onto?

  • A cooler backpack, perfect for picnics; and
  • A miniature traffic cone with an embedded memo clip which now holds papers on my desk

Sponsoring items for SWAG bags may make sense for your business, provided you have a targeted audience and are willing to use some imagination.

Understanding your customer’s profile means you’ll come up with an item that’s appealing, memorable, and fits within your budget.

This last item trips up many people. But remember; handing me a granola bar with your card taped to it will be forgotten in 10 minutes flat. And do I REALLY need another imprinted pen?

After all, if you’re not working to be memorable, why should your audience try to remember you?

As in any communications environment, the SWAG bag can’t just be an afterthought. Customers need to know they’re important enough for you to invest time, energy, and imagination in.

And if you’re not willing to invest in them, they’re probably not going to invest in you.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.


Perk up your marketing at www.marketbuilding.com.