At this very moment as we near the annual SHRM conference, swag is on my mind. Especially since I just spent the last two weeks pouring over promotional product magazines and quotes for my own media kits and swaggy stuff. I’d like to think I know a little about vendor and marketing promotional items for conference, career fairs, and events. Last year I attended twenty-plus conferences either as a speaker or blogger. While I enjoy the sessions and talks, I really love the vendors.
Yes, the vendor hall is my favorite. It’s pure marketing and sales at it’s finest. Hundreds of vendors pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to set up shop, dive bomb you with emails, and sell, sell, sell. So if you came to sell, consider your swag. Vendor halls allow me to connect with book publishers to receive review copies, learn about the business, enjoy a few drinks, and just connect.
But if you want to draw me in, what really matters is the swag.
- Champagne. SHRM is in Vegas and what better way to impress that HR influencer than with booze delivered directly to my hotel. I’ll have a bottle of your finest bubbly please.
- Tech Products. Anything for the tech user and blogger like myself. Depending on your budget and willingness to engage the conference social media influencer, iPad covers or custom branded Flip video cameras are a great way to make an impression. One of my most favorite swag items I picked up at a conference is my iphone cover from Jobbing. It’s a product that I use every day which is essential in branding and promotion. It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do — driving conversations and candidates to their website.
- Buttons. Colorful buttons, necklaces that draw attention and push the line. Interactive swag is one of the most effective tools, interesting and unusual pins, and items that appeal to the audience. Another favorite swag item of mine came from the Persimmon Group who gave out pins with the words, “Cat Herder” on the front. These were the talk of the event. Everyone was making a b-line to their booth to grab one.
- Light It Up. It’s Vegas folks and what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas at least at SHRM 2011. Light up sunglasses, necklaces, and shot glasses just may do the trick. But please check your branded poker cards at the door. I’m really not the gambling kind.
- Travel Bag or Custom Luggage Tag. As I mentioned, I travel A LOT. I have a slight addiction for purses, bags, and luggage. That and comfortable shoes for all this travel. I’m sure I’m not alone. A collapsable travel bag that goes beyond the basic black or custom luggage tag will have people talking about you wherever it is I go. Even a custom Twitter name badge will do the trick.
- Travel Products. I never seem to remember everything I need when I go away for a trip. Branded personal products, hairspray, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and hair combs may just win me over. I stumbled around the giant casino in Vegas last month for nearly 25 minutes at HR Demo before I located a shop that sold hair picks for this girl’s curly mop of hair.
Learn more about conference swag, in another post entitled Swag Hoarders.
Photo Credit Zen is Stupid.
Article by Jessica Miller-Merrell
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