A Decade of Swag

It is natural to reflect at the end/beginning of a year on what has transpired over the past year and how many changes have taken place. But when we are starting a whole new decade it is interesting to look back and see just how much has changed in 10 years. It’s a little overwhelming when you start listing them all-at least it was for me. Then I started thinking about all the changes to the business in the last 10 years- Wow. There have been so many that brought us to where we are today. But then (because I’m a total swag nerd), I started thinking about all the fun new swag that we have now that we didn’t have (or that wasn’t in our market yet) at the beginning of this decade.

There were a few fun things that were had a short lived 15 minutes of fame lifespan- such as selfie sticks and fidget spinners. Some things are better off left behind.

Webcam covers are a popular trade show and convention giveaway because of their usefulness, size and price point.

Mobile tech items have become hugely popular this decade. The first ipad came out in 2010 (seriously!). With the quickly increasing popularity of the ipad, phones developed into mini tablets with touch screens as well- which brought us such swag as stylus pens, microfiber cleaning cloths, and tablet cases. Tech giveaways became a top category and continues to develop at an astonishing rate. Pop Sockets, webcam covers, bluetooth speakers and power banks are all useful giveaway and promotional items because of their wide appeal to all demographics- did you have a need for any of these items 10 years ago? Not unless you were living with the Jetsons! A couple other tech related swag that the 2010s brought us were virtual reality glasses and RFID blocking items.

Mason jar replica cups, copper lined tumblers and bottles (inspired by Yeti) and BPA free plastic bottles were some of our most searched drinkware swag. This is one of those categories that definitely follows retail trends so we see a lot of changes and “new” products that fill specific needs, such as shaker bottles.

With concert arenas, college and NFL football stadiums as well as many large companies increasing security and limiting the size of bags allowed through security, clear bags have become a necessity. Many bags have been developed that meet NFL bag regulations and are available to brand with your logo.

Other fun and unique swag items we love that the decade brought us are pop-up lanterns (a must have for any home- a great item for any company with a message of safety or security), smash lights– convenient, small & easy to carry, hat & beanies with built in lights (why did it take so long to bring these to us?) , lots of fun animal themed paws n claws items that can work individually or grouped together for an ongoing promotion, reusable straws– paper, metal and silicone have popped up in the last few years , socks have become hugely popular with fun and funky designs, AND the ultimate why-didn’t-we -have-this-sooner item, inverted umbrellas.

While some items had been around and available for promo, advances in technology, printing or manufacturing made them more affordable and readily available. The cost of variable data printing decreased and the availability of options increased, making it a creative and personal way to market by adding each recipients name to print material or even swag items such as bottles or mugs. The same happened with full color and digital printing. This gives us so many more options to print images of products or equipment as well as logos with multiple colors at a much more affordable price.

Do you have a favorite swag item from the 2010s that we forgot to mention? Or maybe it is one you are glad to see being left in the last decade?

Let us know how we can help you get your marketing and promotions “with the times” and help you find the best, latest and greatest swag for THIS decade.

http://www.barefootswag.com 866-247-4320

sales@barefootswag.com

Some Assembly Required

My Dad didn’t “assemble” anything when I was growing up.  Nothing.  My mother tells the story that they went to  buy a bike for me at Christmas and when the salesperson  brought it out of the back it was in a box. My Dad refused to take it.  He told them he bought the one on the floor that was assembled and if that wasn’t what he was getting, then he wasn’t buying.  Thankfully the store gave in or I would have been a really disappointed kid on Christmas morning.

While this example may be a little extreme, many people approach their marketing the same way.  If you want a cohesive marketing plan you have to “assemble” all the right parts.  You can’t expect everything to be handed to you in a neat little “pre assembled” package and it work perfectly for your specific needs.

Think about your end goal (the assembled bike).  Is it to introduce a new product, make people aware of a service you offer, draw a crowd to a grand opening, get more traffic at your trade show booth, increase your visibility on social media?  Maybe you need to cut lost time accidents in the workplace, increase employee morale, reward staff for the completion of a large project, announce a merger.  The goal is what ever you need it to be- and it’s ok if you have more than one goal.  The important thing it to clearly identify the goal so you know what “parts” you need to put together to reach that goal.

Now, lay out all the parts you might need (even if it’s just in your head).  Print, direct mail, email campaign, radio or TV advertising, promotional products, packaging, delivery, follow up, etc.  This is just the review part.   Look at all the options you can use then start narrowing it down.  You don’t have to use every “part” (this is not true when assembling a bike, just saying).    Kinda like this:

assembly

What key elements do you need; what parts are crucial to the outcome.  Think of this as the “frame”.

For example, if you want to draw potential clients to your trade show booth, then you really need to focus on your actual booth first.  Do you need a backdrop, lights, shelving, brochure display, a table and chair to sit down with clients or will a table cover with your logo and an retractable banner work?

Now that you have your frame, are you just going to stand behind the table and hope people stop? No, not if you expect to be successful.  What “parts” do you need to get people to the event or to get those registered to stop at your booth?  A pre-show mailer? Social media campaign? Booth giveaway?   Brochures of your product/services? Samples?  An in-booth game to get people involved?  Free popcorn?

So you had a great booth, people loved your product and took away samples or information. Now what?  Social media follow up?  Direct mail piece to those that stopped by? Packaged gift to your top leads?

This last portion is the key to showing a nice ROI.  Sure, all the other pieces fit together and work and can get you to your goal. However,  the follow up is like the bike bell, not totally necessary to the function of the bike, but it lets everyone know you are around.  It makes noise and gets attention.

You can take this concept and apply it to any marketing or business goal you have- frame, parts, bell.  It’s a very simplified breakdown, but an easy way to remember to think about the finished product as a whole and to plan out the assembly before you start.  Then you can ride away on that shiny bike ringing your bell.

Need help with the assembly?  Give us a call, email or chat with us on our website and we can work with you to help you put all the parts together to achieve your goal.

866-247-4320   sales@barefootswag.com

http://www.barefootswag.com