trade shows

Conference Swag & Promotional Merch Recommendations

It’s almost 2020… people are drowning in stuff, the planet is drowning in plastic, and no one needs more logo-printed:

  • plastic water bottles or cups

  • stress balls

  • toys

  • crappy knock-off lip balm

  • tote bags

  • USB drives

  • spirals/journals/notepads

  • keychains

  • eyeglass cleaners

  • pop sockets

But from a marketing perspective, you still need giveaways for your trade show booths, conferences, and award shows though, right?!

Our first recommendation for conference swag is to MAKE IT USEFUL, otherwise you’re just spending a fortune on trash.

What’s in demand now:

  • Consumable product samples or snacks (much appreciated by attendees – it’s your job to make your brand memorable when they come get ‘em!)

  • Stainless steel straws (either singles or kits, with or without carrying case, brush, etc.)

  • Portable bamboo utensil sets (typically with a roll-up wrap to store them in your purse or bag)

  • Glass, ceramic, or double-walled metal tumblers and bottles (expensive but cool; and we wavered on including this one because we don’t need any more of these either)

  • Wireless anything (bluetooth speakers, phone chargers, headsets/headphones; for high-end events only because otherwise, in order to make it inexpensive enough for a giveaway, it’s likely not high-quality, and will eventually become trash)

These tried & true conference favorites are not sexy, but people are likely to keep and use:

  • Pens/pencils

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Tissue packs for pocket/purse

  • Webcam covers

(though we don’t love that most of these items are plastic)

Our #1 Recommendation:

Sponsor an Experience!

  • device charging station

  • water bottle filling station

  • coffee bar

  • chair massage station

Your brand will be associated with something truly helpful in a clutch situation and “if you wrap the event in your branding, there’s a good chance your target customer will remember that experience” long after a tote bag would end up in a landfill somewhere, says Fast Company. We couldn’t agree more!

Read more here: “It’s time to stop spending billions on cheap conference swag