About a month ago, I attended a business expo. A few days before the expo, I was contacted by the organizer who told me there were still spots open for businesses to sponsor the event. I would be able to get my company name in the program and I could add 150 promotional items into a SWAG bag that would be given to attendees. For me, this was a no-brainer! This was a business to business expo and businesses are my target audience. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to advertise Antina Promotions. So I accepted her offer.
Now, since this was a last minute deal, I did not have time to order new promotional products. Luckily, I already have promotional items and I knew the perfect item to put in the bag. One that would allow my company to stand out from all the rest! So, I went over to my samples. I wanted to give out my desk buddy. He is a very handy and useful desktop item. So, I started counting….123, 124, 125…wait a minute! I do not have enough!! I need 150, but all I had was 125! So I looked through my other items: pens…everyone will put in their pen! Letter openers….don’t have enough. Magnets…don’t have enough. I went through all my promotional products and the only thing I had 150+ of were…post-it notes. Sigh!
Post-it notes are great and all, but at a business to business expo, everyone will think to put in their post-it notes! But, I did not have a choice. I had already paid for my sponsorship, and I had already committed to this. I was going to have to give away my post-it notes, even though I knew better…
Day of the Expo
I received my SWAG bag filled with promotional items, though, I waited until I got home to look inside. The expo was great and I met a lot of nice people. When I got home, I dumped the SWAG bag out onto the table. Lo and behold, it was full of …you guessed it! Post-it notes (also pens and flyers!) – I just knew that was going to happen. To top it off, half of the post-its and pens were from people who were from other companies in my same industry! That’s even funnier since there was definitely room for me to stand out from other companies like mine!
In the end, I was a little more embarrassed at the fact that I, the person who owns a promotional product company, knew better to not to use post-it notes in the SWAG bag. However, there is also comfort in the fact that I proved to myself that I was right all along. Since, I knew the post-it notes would not help me stand out from the beginning. The fact that I did not have a choice to use an alternate product allowed me to field test my theories not only for myself, but for the clients I help day in and day out.
Finally, the lesson you should take away from this, not only for when you need items for SWAG bags, but when you use promotional items to promote yourself in general: In order to be different and stand out, you need to step outside your comfort zone and what you know in order to especially unique. Only then, will your advertising help you stand out from your competitors and stay in the forefront of your clients’ minds.
By the way, which one do you think is more useful? The pen, the post-it note, or, my first choice: the Desk Buddy that can hold both?