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Planning event swag: 3 essential questions to ask

3 icons illustrate key questions to ask when planning for event swag

Hanan Polinovski

May 22, 2023

Gifting event swag is a common and proven technique to generate booth traffic and help spark conversations with attendees. Too often at conferences and trade shows though, you’ll see many brands compromising the effectiveness of their swag by offering items that are cheap, poorly printed, and misrepresent their brand.

This isn’t to say that your only option then is to splurge on expensive swag, but more to point out that you want to effectively communicate your brand’s image and identity through what you choose to offer attendees.

At the end of a show, you want there to be a lasting impression of your brand with attendees and one of the best ways to do that is for them to have something high-quality and useful to remember you by!

So what exactly do you need to keep in mind when planning your event swag? Read on for three questions you’ll want to ask to help with the planning process.

1) What are you trying to achieve with your event swag?

This is the first question that our team asks anyone that we speak to — and it’s exactly the type of question you should be asking too. Event swag should be strategically selected in order to drive the desired behavior. Common answers for marketing and event managers are increasing brand recognition or generating more leads.

A great way to put this question into perspective is to consider, “Do you think a pen or mug would start a conversation?” There is a right time and place for every type of swag, so by all means, if you are looking for brand recognition then a beautiful set of Jotter Pens tied to a custom card will do the trick. Giving away items that a person can find useful in their day-to-day lives will typically win them over and allow them to be transparent with their needs, challenges, and goals.

Alternatively, if your main goal is to incentivize meetings at a tradeshow then you’d likely want to consider giving an item that is more unique, trendy, or higher value in most situations. When it comes to value, you want to align the item with the desired action you’re hoping for.

2) What is the best swag for your audience?

There are hundreds of thousands of items out there in the world of promotional products, but oddly enough we tend to see the same dozen at most trade shows we attend because sometimes it is hard to be the innovator or try something new. Check out the ideas below for some unique items that may be different from what you typically see.

3) What are common logistics challenges to anticipate and plan for?

  • Production times: Keep in mind that it will typically take 6 to 8 weeks to select, source, produce, and ship your swag.
  • Storage & leftover swag: Do you have a proper and well-secured place to store your swag before and after the show?
  • Shipping costs: Your swag may have to go through several hands before and after an event, so prepare to factor in those costs.
  • Quality assurance: This is one of the most overlooked challenges that we typically see. If you order 500 pieces of an item, it is worthwhile to check each one to make sure it looks correct. If a poorly printed or damaged item isn’t caught during QA and gets handed to a recipient, you may be hurting your brand more than you think.

Bonus question: What are ways to make the event swag process easier?

If you’re looking for a turnkey solution, Printfection offers an all-in-one swag management platform to create, store, and send branded swag anywhere in the world. We help people say goodbye to those swag logistics headaches and we truly love helping make swag easier for our customers.

Our platform enables you to manage your swag yourself while saving time and money, and it’s all backed up by award-winning customer service, world-class operations support, and advanced reporting. You also get real-time updates on your swag inventory, deliveries, and spend. Plus, our inventory storage, drop shipping, and event packing options are especially helpful when managing swag for events.

Plus, as a strategic partner, Printfection works with you to implement your swag strategy while taking into account your timeline, budget, and business goals.

Find out more about how fulfillment works here or schedule a swag consultation and let us introduce you to our platform and walk through its robust features.


Hanan Polinovski

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