According to the Events Industry Council’s 2016 Economic Significance Study, 1.9 million meetings and events took place in 2016, with over 250 million people participating. That’s a lot of meetings, a lot of people and a lot of opportunities to make a lasting impression.
Whether you’re throwing your own event or networking at a trade show, your swag bags should show off your brand and offer your customers tech swag they’ll love and find useful.
These tips will help you choose the right bag with the right swag.
TIP 1: Start with your event
Before you select a bag and fill it with your usual event giveaways, take a moment to consider your event. If the event has a theme or you are trying to convey a specific message, choose items for your bag that match.
Krystal D. Carter, president and Chief Cloud Enthusiast for Danny Kay Cloud, a Houston-based company, wanted to introduce the public to her cloud applications consulting firm. She also wanted to make a difference in her community in the spirit of her father, for whom the company is named.
For her company’s inaugural event, Carter chose to highlight the tech industry’s future while working to increase diversity in the field. A group of about 35 teenage girls attended “Tech Me to the Movies,” an event that focused on women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, complete with a private screening of the inspirational movie, “Hidden Figures.”
With the help of event sponsors, Carter purchased a number of event giveaways to fill the Bungalow Foldaway Tote. In addition to NASA swag and college brochures, the bag contained a T-shirt, custom drinkware (for a mocktail topped off with dry ice to represent science careers), and a branded Value Fleece Blanket for viewers to use during the movie. She topped off their offering with 1950s-style cat-eye glasses to remind attendees of the well-loved quote, “So yes, they let women do some things at NASA, Mr. Johnson. And it’s not because we wear skirts. It’s because we wear glasses.”
After the movie, attendees heard insights from women in tech roles, including two from NASA and the senior director of Global Equality Programs at Salesforce.com. “We wanted to show these girls you don’t have to be a doctor or a lawyer to be successful,” Carter said.
The evening and the event giveaways were best summarized by the tag tied to each T-shirt, which read: “You can be whatever you want to be.”
TIP 2: Pick the perfect bag
Great swag bags start with the most important component—the bag! Fifty percent of consumers say they own a bag with a logo on it, and a logo’d bag offers an average of 5,700 impressions during its life cycle. That means your bag isn’t just an accessory, it’s also a walking billboard at your event and for years to come.
How can you set your bag apart?
- Match the theme of the event.
If it’s a gathering about going green, consider getting a tote made of recycled materials.
- Think about your audience and their needs.
Is a hand-held bag a good choice, or would a hands-free drawstring sportpack be a better option?
- Go above and beyond.
Get a tote with a pocket and add a branded water bottle.
Offer the right bag at a major trade show, and it may be the only bag attendees use to carry all their swag.
TIP 3: Find out what’s cool and useful in tech
Technology often brings what was once considered futuristic into the here and now. For example, the number of virtual reality (VR) users is expected to reach 171 million in 2018. That means VR viewers might soon get monthly, weekly or even daily use, making them a great way to boost your brand’s exposure.
And with smartphones becoming more and more commonplace every day—almost eight in 10 Americans already own one—the market for touch-screen gloves is expected to grow 15 percent over the next four years. And what on-the-go phone owner doesn’t need a spare power bank or a keychain USB car charger? Or, be a trendsetter and offer potential clients something useful that they likely don’t have, like a two-way wireless tracker or a cell phone wallet.
By choosing event giveaways that are both cutting-edge and practical, you can be sure your customers will keep them for a long time to come.
TIP 4: Consider your audience
For the Danny Kay Cloud inaugural event, Carter wanted to draw a tech-loving crowd, but chose not to lean solely on technology swag. Instead, she selected gifts that were surprising and fun. Her audience loved her choices. A blanket was the perfect gift for a cozy night at a movie theater as well as something that the attendees can use again and again.
At nwHacks, the biggest hackathon in Western Canada, more than 650 kids come together in small teams to construct creative solutions and computer programs that do everything from monitoring maple-syrup production to helping dyslexics read.
Patrick Lin, director of nwHacks at the University of British Columbia, said they use their technology swag bags for both the event and as a practical giveaway. “We put in T-shirts and snacks, and a lot of the tech companies who sponsor the event like to provide stickers for the bags as well,” Lin said.
The bag also helps in another way.
“Because the hackathon is so big, not everyone walks away with a prize, but this way, everyone walks away with something they like and can use,” said Lin.
“And they don’t just use the bag for nwHacks, they use them everywhere.”
There are also practical considerations to keep in mind when it comes to swag bags. A more expensive item might mean fewer giveaways in the bag, but it could also make for a longer-lasting impression on your potential customers.
And not all gifts will suit all customers. Sometimes giving away a bag with one or two items in it and letting customers choose other items off your trade show or event table will lead to a longer life cycle for your promo products.
Relax … you’ve got this in the bag. Ultimately, swag bags for events will get the most use if they reflect you, your customers and the event. So, pick out the right bag, fill it with gifts that are both fun and useful, and always remember to put your best bag forward.
Note: 4imprint, Inc. is a sponsor of nwHacks’ hackathon.