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We’ve all been to a trade show or community event and have been bombarded with swag—you know, those pens, Frisbees, mouse pads, mugs or other tangible product that has a company’s name and contact information slapped all over it.

Investing in swag is one way companies try to market themselves to potential customers. These items are little leave-behinds that are supposed to make the customer think of the company when they use it. For example, if a customer is interested in switching banks, and they use a pen that has a bank’s information on it, it will spark them to consider switching to that bank.

Swag can be beneficial as long as it does what it’s supposed to do, and that is generating interest. Many companies invest in swag because they believe it will work better than a pamphlet or sell sheet. Paper products can get easily tossed out, but most people will keep the swag items they can use. Rather than being forgotten about and literally thrown into the trash, a swag item will constantly remind these potential customers about a specific company whenever they use the item.

The problem with swag, however, is that it can be pricey. One way to minimize this cost is to purchase cheaper products, such as pens. While these pens will be kept longer than a pamphlet, they will run out of ink very quickly and will, inevitably, end up in the garbage too. If the pen runs out of ink at an inconvenient time, like during a meeting, it can cause the user to be frustrated, and they may associate this frustration with your company.

Swag is beneficial when the item is a quality product that a potential customer could use. They don’t want a cheap pen; they want something unique—something to really remember you by. The more unique your swag, the more impact it will have on your customers.

Should my company invest in swag?

If your company attends a lot of trade shows or community events and is constantly passing things out, then swag is a must-have for your company. You don’t want to be the only booth at a trade show not giving anything away—who will come visit you then? And you want visitors. That’s the whole point in attending these events in the first place.

You could also send swag as a follow up after meeting new individuals at networking events, but again, it’s important that this item is something useful and full of quality. If it’s cheap, they’ll assume the same thing about your product or services.

If you think swag would be a good fit for your company, think outside the box and invest in something that will really draw the customer back to you. Make sure that it is something they will associate with your company every time they look at it. And make sure that it is something they will use on multiple occasions. The more you can get your name in front of them, the more your company name will be in the back of their mind when it comes time to making that purchasing decision.

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Posted by Stephen Ward

Stephen Ward is a marketing expert and writer living in the Miami area. Before turning in any texts or writing he makes sure it is clear and mistake-free by utilizing a grammar checker. Stephen often takes advantage of Miami commercial printing.

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