It’s 10:24 p.m. on Friday night after a long week on the road talking about the Engagement Economy. Instead of relaxing, I am attempting to chalk paint V-Bot, the mascot of Market's Launch Point partner VidyardOn, in time for my son’s 5th birthday party tomorrow morning. Vidyard's V-Bot mascot So how on earth did I get here? Well, I have been swayed by good swag, which has taught me several great marketing lessons that I’ll share with you in this blog. Why Swag? Throughout my 20 years in marketing, I have been to many conferences. Along the way, I’ve collected a bevy of swag–the good, the bad, and the boring. I will fully admit that I am a total swag hoarder. As an event marketer, swag can be a decent ticket item on your budget, but unlike, say, the upgrade to the carpet in your booth, it has greater potential to provide dividends after the conference ends.
In my case, as a road warrior and parent, anything cute that I can repurpose as a gift to my kids wins every time. After my session at last year’s Marketing Nation Summit, I returned home with some fabulous swag from the killer Speakeasy Party thrown by our services partners Elixated and Mambo. Perhaps feather boas and cigarette holders Phone Number List were not the best idea for 1- and 4-year-old boys, but it was hilarious. Fun? You bet. Memorable? Check. take swag home Have a Plan B Once you nail your concept for swag and your attendees are clamoring for it, you might end up running out. But this is a good problem to have—it presents a new opportunity for follow-up. If you run out of swag, don’t close up shop. Make sure you capitalize on the booth traffic and engage with visitors to learn more about who they are. From there, you can give them something else at the booth or offer to send them something later. The latter offer is a judgment call you need to make since postage can get expensive. If you know the conference audience is right in your target sweet spot, it might make sense to go the extra mile across the board–or you could coach your booth staff to make the call on a case-by-case basis. For example, at Marketing Nation Summit last year, VidyardOn ran out of their very popular V-Bot stuffed toy by the time I visited.
But they took my card and said they would send me one afterward. It arrived a week or so later, and it was my “gift” to my 4-year-old. You can guess where this is going, right? Fast forward to a year later, and the only thing my son wants for his birthday is a robot party featuring his Marketing Nation robot friends. My swag-as-gift parenting move may have backfired on me–I now know swag hoarding is apparently hereditary, but it also proves the success of good swag. Are You Going to Marketing Nation Summit? This year’s Marketing Nation Summit is right around the corner, with visionary speakers, amazing partners, and a passionate tribe of thousands of marketers all gathered in one place. It is a firehose of cutting edge technology, a booster shot to your marketing chops, and has the vibe of the most fun family reunion ever. For those coming to the event as a sponsor or partner, remember that you are marketing to marketers. Bring your A-game to cut through the noise and impress. Make the most of your field marketing spend–focus on not what is most expensive but what makes a memorable connection. And to my fellow swag hunters, there is sure to be some of the coolest stuff out there. I can’t wait! So until then, what is the most creative swag you’ve gotten at a conference? Fellow working parents, anyone else pulled the swag-as-gift move?
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