Are conference swag bags obsolete?
Should we ditch the conference swag bags?
Conference swag bags no longer feel like a welcome gift, and instead tend to feel like a waste of resources and effort. Here are some tips to improve them.
Conference swag bags, or goodie bags, are usually the first thing you receive after you’ve checked in at a conference or major event. In times gone by they were filled with mostly interesting items. Today, as budgets shrink, I either refuse it at source or leave the contents in the waste bin of my hotel room for someone else to sort through for recycling. The alternative is to squeeze it into my luggage and bin it at home.
I get that conference marketers want to make a lasting impact. They want to enhance their branding by displaying their logo and the logos of their sponsors. But rather than handfuls of plastic and paper, they should ensure that the gifts stand out for the right reasons. It shouldn't be about collecting all the old PR junk from the vendors. Instead, event organisers need to get more sustainable about their swag bags. The bag itself should also be recyclable, or at the very least reusable. I personally wouldn't thank you for some cheap backpack.
If they can't - they should ditch the swag bag altogether. Maybe they have had their time and we need to rethink the concept.
3 tips for conference swag bags
There are many who want to go down that path and suggest that swag bags should be abandoned altogether. However, if you insist I ask organisers to take into account some of these suggestions:
- Give good quality gifts - Give fewer items and make them decent. One super present is far better than a bagful of tat.
- Make sustainability a priority - Conference swag bags are usually full of paper and plastic frequently combined, which are time-consuming to recycle.
- Remember transport - Many of your participants will travel to your event. It’s important that the contents can go through airport security (no liquids) and are easy to transport.
Don't worry if you've been out of the networking game for a while. We can help you with our Returner Roll-Up Session for Getting Back on the Networking Horse.
Try these ideas
- Professional headshots – Give participants an opportunity to have a professional headshot taken at your event. 3Plus did that for all their Mini-Mentoring events in different international locations. It is always well received.
- Provide some treats – Offer the possibility to have a manicure, colour assessment, styling consult, make-up session or massage at the event.
- Gift an experience or service - Give vouchers for discounts or free services to businesses in the areas of your event. This could be at a gym, spa, cinema or restaurant.
- Healthy snacks - Offering healthy snacks to keep energy levels up during the conference is always welcome.
- Sports bottles - Cut back on single-use plastic by providing water bottles that guests can refill from water coolers.
- Chargers or battery banks - These are always a lifesaver as participants fight for power outlets when they start to get low signals on their devices.
- A USB drive of contributions - Many presenters will not want their entire presentation given out to participants, especially before a session. But loading a PDF with summaries of the main sessions is always a helpful reminder, especially to anyone who will be blogging about it or reporting back to their companies.
Or maybe the idea of swag bags are outdated. What do you think? Take our poll and let us know.
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
We have Remote Learning Programs available
Check out our exciting portfolio of offerings to support your business in upskilling and competence building for your teams, to address the unprecedented challenges that women face in this new totally a digital world.
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
Virtual Presentations – Managing The Chat! 5 years later the expert guidance on virtual presentations hasn’t changed by more than a pinch..read more
Read our interview with Lara Morgan best selling author, millionaire entrepreneur, proud mother of three. She is determined to be a voice for growth enterprise support as well as driving sales pride in Britain.read more
If you could find your passion, would you be truly happy? Here are 4 real tips that debunk the myths around finding your passion.read more