Sittin on Swag?

April 6, 2020 Jessica Dobson

With so many events canceled due to the Coronavirus, marketers have been thrust into a digital-only world. There are lots of ways to make the most of our content online and through virtual events, but there’s one area that isn’t being tackled: swag. 

Unless your promotional item of choice this year was hand sanitizer, you might be asking, What do we do with boxes of branded t-shirts? Loads of pop sockets, pens, and koozies? Bags of candy? Okay, that last one is obvious for anyone with a stress-induced sweet tooth, but here are some suggestions for the rest of your promotional items.

1. Tradeshow swag is the new onboarding gifts

Your lifecycle shouldn’t end when a lead becomes a customer; never stop courting your clients. So when your sales team closes their next deal, why not celebrate and welcome your new partners with a fun box of goodies? I recently joined the #webinerd ranks at ON24 and was tickled when I received a goodie bag of supplies including a pen, webcam cover, t-shirt I will shamelessly wear to marketing events, and more. 

Importantly, ON24’s personality shone brightly through the items sent and it made me feel like I’m now a part of their #webinerd community. And you can bet I immediately arranged the items and tweeted about this treat— another win for ON24’s marketing team!

2. You win a shirt! And You win a shirt! 

Maybe live-demos are a key step in your customer journey. If so, why not reward people for taking time-out to consider your project?

A key consideration here is when/how you mention the reward. 

If getting in front of as many new people as possible is the goal, promote upfront. Take the time to arrange your items in an aesthetically pleasing fashion and/or show team members enjoying the items. The downside to this approach is that the quality of leads generated may be lower than if you don’t promote the rewards upfront.

Instead of using the reward to generate leads, you can finish a demonstration by asking for the lead’s mailing address to send them a gift. This gives you the opportunity to stress how much you value their time, stay top of mind and nearly guarantee that your lead will open your follow up message.

If live demonstrations aren’t your thing, what high-value action can you reward? 

3. Who Doesn’t Love Mail?

If you’re already employing ABM strategies, consider adding a direct-mail channel to your existing plans and you’re done! But, what if you’re not currently employing Account-Based Marketing? Take a look at your database, your past wins, and high-value accounts. Look for leads at similar companies with high-value roles and reach out. Be sure to get a specific contact’s current mailing address, as most office locations are closed. 

4. Social Media Sweepstakes

Maybe ABM isn’t your thing. If you’re more interested in top of funnel lead generation cast a much wider net with a social media sweepstakes. A sweepstakes is a promotional drawing with a winner randomly generated at the end of the contest. Create a landing page for social media followers to enter their email address and other contact information to enter. Be sure to include your company privacy statement and to follow all GDPR, CCPA, and other regulations.

5. Employee Appreciation

Whether your company has always been remote or working from home is new to you, it can be challenging to build team relationships and company morale. Take a moment to send a care package to your employees to show your appreciation while they’re working from home. No, this won’t be a revenue-generating use for your marketing materials, but getting a company-branded water bottle is perfect at a time when many people are focusing on finding healthier habits at home. Or maybe you had your logo printed on koozies? Schedule a virtual company happy hour. Have event-specific t-shirts? Run a contest for employees to get creative with tie-dye, bleach painting, scissors, etc. and have a company fashion show! 

Now, more than ever is the time to show employees they matter and a little swag can go a long way.

Safety First

Okay but if we’re having to move all in-person events to virtual, is it safe to mail items? Do I have to disinfect items before sending them? Should employees spray down swag before it enters their home?

The CDC, the World Health Organization, and the Surgeon General have all indicated that there is currently no evidence of COVID-19 being spread through the mail, that there is a very low risk of spreading the virus from products or package and the USPS is consistently making efforts to keep employees and recipients safe.  

So wash your hands frequently, encourage employees to wash their hands, and, if possible, print your postage at home so you can drop off or schedule a contactless pickup with your mail carrier. 

About the Author

Jessica Dobson

A Marketo Certified Expert and MCI Certified Consultant, Jessica has nearly a decade of experience with demand generation, marketing automation, social media management, and event coordination. Prior to joining the Digital Pi Team, she worked in both agency and client-side roles for companies ranging from high growth start-ups to multinational enterprises. She earned her Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in Advertising Communications and Theater Arts from Bradley University. Jessica eats, sleeps, and breathes marketing strategy, often giving her friends unsolicited advice on how to market their passion projects. Data gets her excited and she thrives on breaking down complex problems into achievable goals. Jessica resides in Chicago, Illinois, where she stage-manages theater and produces performing arts fundraisers for charity.

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