The Event Goodie Bag: Love it or Loathe it?

When I think of conference/exhibition goodie bags I automatically roll my eyes. Another bag full of useless ‘stuff’ I’ll never use. And yet, for some people it still seems to be up there as a motivation for attending an event (we’ve all seen those people staggering around an exhibition with arms full of tote bags). As useless as the content can be, the event goodie bag seems to be one of those traditionals meeting professionals just can’t leave behind.

I guess it goes without saying (or it should), that you should fill the bags with items of value rather than junk. This is easier said than done if several sponsors/exhibitors are contributing to the bag, but you can subtly influence them to ensure the quality of the giveaways. For example, no one needs 15 branded pens, keep contributors informed on what is already being added to the bags so they can provide something different to keep it varied.

What do I consider a valuable item? Top of the list would be attendee specific information (these are often provided on branded USB drives), it’s always handy to have useful event data in one place. Electronics; I was given a mobile charger at an event a year ago and I still use it today, I also have a small collection of device screen cleaners that I hoarded from a networking event and keep in my laptop bag. A (subtly) branded t-shirt or hoodie would probably make it into my gym wear draw, does that class as valuable? Oh and anything I can eat. But that might just be me.

What items live at the bottom of a cupboard or have been thrown away? Printed collateral, I can almost guarantee I won’t read it so it’s a pointless, un-environmental waste of time, in my opinion. Items that I would catagorise as ‘random branded crap’; lanyards, water bottles, key rings. These are generally low quality bag ‘fillers’… No thanks!

Don’t throw your money away on bags that end up in the bin. Instead tie them in with your overall communication strategy and use the content to enhance your event message. Plus, if you wow guests with your event swag they’re more likely to share the content on social media boosting your brand profile.

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