Event Swag Needs A Makeover and Parsnip Can Help

By Sally Rogers
Aug. 2, 2019

If you represent a brand, your best marketing materials are your own product. But sometimes providing your own product or creating a sample size can be costly and you might be tempted to turn to a promotional item (think: water bottle, notebook, pen, keychain, etc.) with your logo on it as a possible solution.

If you represent an event, unless you’ve opted to completely leave product out of your event, you may be looking for the right swag or product placement to delight your attendees. In fact, you should. But you might also be tempted by cheap alternatives or putting a financial sponsors’ logo on a promotional item to just give your attendees something. Remember, 47% of millennials go to a branded event just for the swag!

There has to be a better way. Fast Company author Elizabeth Segran implores brands and events alike to think twice about the $24B (yes, BILLION) spent on swag annually in the United States and the environmental crisis that wears the abysmal leftovers of that spend as a sopping, un-decomposed patch in the middle of the ocean.

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Event swag needs a makeover and Parsnip can help. Here’s how:

  1. Don’t settle for promotional products. Attendees don’t want them. Don’t waste your money or precious financial dollars on something that doesn’t truly delight your attendees and align with your values, mission, and brand as an event. Stop reading the 7.8 million blog posts about “better swag for your event attendees in 2019” (not joking). Just stop. Parsnip has brands that would love to work with events if the alignment is right (see #3).
  2. Consider consumer goods and experiences as a better solution. We’re not asking you eliminate swag entirely, because we do know that products, gifts, giveaways – it’s all potentially terrific at helping elevate your event. But. If the products, gifts, giveaways aren’t thoughtful and well-aligned, you can actually destroy the trust of the attendees rather than gain trust. Which means…
  3. Define your audience. If you know the demographics and psychographics of your event attendees (or of your loyal product buyers), you can use that information to find products with the same audience (or events with the same audience). This will be part of the ‘wow’ to your attendees: they get a product that they actually want and can use and is made with love and care. For example, when Professional Business Women of California held their 30th Annual Conference, Parsnip was able to dive deep on their audience and match them with female-founded Mantraband, among others. They heard feedback that this was the most amazing swag because of the alignment of shared audience between the two groups.
  4. Find the cause. What do you stand for as an event? If you’ve brought on great financial sponsors (yes! We know you did!), then they totally understand your audience, the power of your brand, and what you stand for. This means if you tell them you don’t want to spend their sponsor dollars on useless junk with their logo, but instead want to bring on fantastic well-aligned brand partners or experiences, chances are they’re going to be into it. Help them tell the story of how their sponsor dollars went to supporting a small brand with an incredible mission. They’ll get some brand equity out of it that way too!

So how do you take your event from junk to spunk? (sorry, couldn’t resist) Get to work on defining your audience and finding real products with the same audience. We’ve got you covered to both find products or find events! Event swag needs a makeover and Parsnip can help.