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Your Go-To Guide For Building a Swag Kit For B2B Conferences

85% of consumers can recall the brands that gave them swag, which is reason enough to get your swag game on point. So how do you ensure your approach to evaluating event swag ideas is one that will pay dividends?

event swag tips by zuddl

Setting the stage...

Picture this: It’s 1995, and you’re at a Guns N' Roses concert. You’ve managed to make it to the first three rows so you can closely watch your riff god, Slash, tear each song up from note to note!

The concert goes by in a flash, and the band thanks the crowd for their love and support. As a gesture, Slash throws his guitar picks, and you’re fortunate enough to snatch one out of thin air.

Fast forward to today… 
It's been over 27 years since you were at that concert, but you still carry Slash’s guitar pick with you, safely tucked in your wallet’s littlest pocket.
For you, it’s not just a pick; it’s a vortex to an unforgettable memory you had. 
It has created a lasting impression on you.

…why are we talking about this?
Because while Rock 'n’ Roll and event marketing are two different worlds, marketers and rockstars alike strive to create experiences that will be remembered beyond the event, and much like Slash’s guitar pick, your company swag has the potential to create a lasting impression.

In this guide, you’ll discover how you can become a legend by creating epic promotional swag for your B2B conferences.

Welcome to the jungle!

What we’ll cover

Evaluating event swag ideas
Star attributes of your swag kit
A few tips to keep in mind
No one in the conference has swagger like us
Table of Contents

Questions to ask yourself while evaluating event swag ideas

While some event swag ends up in the bin, some are treasured for years. So, what determines which way your giveaways are likely to go? 

It all boils down to your thought process and approach to evaluating your swag kit.

[.testimonial-ebook-purple][.ebook-testimonial-text][.h5-ebook-24px-p-600]The more specific the goals you have in mind when designing your swag kit, the better its effectiveness.[.h5-ebook-24px-p-600][.ebook-testimonial-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.ebook-testimonial-profile-photo][.ebook-testimonial-profile-photo][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.b1-ebook-600-cb-500]Vishal Krishna[.b1-ebook-600-cb-500][.b3-400-cb-300]Designer, and swag-master in chief at Zuddl.[.b3-400-cb-300][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.testimonial-ebook-purple]

In other words, all marketers have the same overarching goals when it comes to swag - namely, increasing your brand visibility, awareness and recall, as well as amplifying lead gen efforts. But when evaluating event swag ideas, you need to unpack your big-picture goals into more specific goals. This will make it that much more actionable.

event swag ideas by zuddl


[.ebook-grey-point-box][.e-stat-heading]For instance, ask yourselves:[.e-stat-heading][.ebook-grey-point-box-inner][.ebook-grey-point][.ebook-green-tick][.ebook-green-tick][.ebook-body-text]Do you want your brand to drive immediate impact (give attendees something they can use or wear immediately at the conference) or more long-term (something that they can take back and use at the office everyday)?[.ebook-body-text][.ebook-grey-point]
[.ebook-grey-point][.ebook-green-tick][.ebook-green-tick][.ebook-body-text]Do you want to be remembered for swag that is completely unique to that of everyone else, or just want to ensure that you’re able to hand 'something' to visitors to your booth?[.ebook-body-text][.ebook-grey-point]
[.ebook-grey-point][.ebook-green-tick][.ebook-green-tick][.ebook-body-text]Do you want to give away something to remember you by, or create an experience that keeps them at your booth longer (like a swag spin-the-wheel)?[.ebook-body-text][.ebook-grey-point]

[.ebook-callout-text-outer][.ebook-callout-text]The answers to these questions will help you shape your swag kit items.[.ebook-callout-text][.ebook-callout-text-outer]


design your event swag kit

Star attributes your swag kit should possess

[.ebook-30px-pink]Utility, durability and/or beauty[.ebook-30px-pink]

event swag kit ideas

[.testimonial-ebook-purple][.ebook-testimonial-text][.h5-ebook-24px-p-600] Ideally, you want the gifts you’re giving attendees to add some value to their lives, or have a strong cultural appeal that they will be proud to showcase.[.h5-ebook-24px-p-600][.ebook-testimonial-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.ebook-testimonial-profile-photo][.ebook-testimonial-profile-photo][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.b1-ebook-600-cb-500]Vishal Krishna[.b1-ebook-600-cb-500][.b3-400-cb-300]Designer, and swag-master in chief at Zuddl.[.b3-400-cb-300][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.testimonial-ebook-purple]

[.e-resources-cta][.ebook-24px]Head over to our swag ideation template to list down some of your options.[.ebook-24px][.text-button]Check it out now[.text-button-icon][.text-button-icon][.text-button][.e-resources-cta]

As these will all probably make the flight home to attendees’ homes or offices and (hopefully) serve as a reminder of your brand’s existence for months and years on end, you’ll be getting an incredible amount of mileage from this seemingly benign top-of-the-funnel activity investment.

In fact, 89% of consumers can recall the brand on a promotional item they received within two years. To quote, Rob Clark, Sr. Director, Insights, Intelligence & Measurement at Proof Strategies Inc, here’s why durable SWAG matters so much:

swag ideas templates

[.testimonial-ebook-purple][.ebook-testimonial-text][.h5-ebook-24px-p-600]Don’t hand out swag items for the heck of it. It has to add utility value to the receiver's life. Only that will make it memorable. Only exception to that is cheeky stickers. Everyone loves funny stickers which they can stick to their laptops. And they make a great conversation starter.[.h5-ebook-24px-p-600][.ebook-testimonial-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.ebook-testimonial-profile-anand][.ebook-testimonial-profile-anand][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.b1-ebook-600-cb-500]Anand Jain[.b1-ebook-600-cb-500][.b3-400-cb-300]Co-Founder + Product, CleverTap[.b3-400-cb-300][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.testimonial-ebook-purple]

[.ebook-protip-callout][.ebook-protip-icon][.ebook-protip-icon][.ebook-protip-text-wrapper][.b1-ebook-600-cb-500]Pro Tip[.b1-ebook-600-cb-500][.ebook-body-text]Attendees are bound to pick up and use items that are practical, and relevant to the conference location. For instance, if it’s a winter conference, giving attendees some warm scarves would be a nice touch, or sunscreen or flip-flops at a summer conference.[.ebook-body-text][.ebook-protip-text-wrapper][.ebook-protip-callout]


[.testimonial-ebook-purple][.ebook-testimonial-text][.h5-ebook-24px-p-600]There’s no point in making items like stationery (think paper pads, diaries) because they’ll probably just be hoarded and never see the light of day.[.h5-ebook-24px-p-600][.ebook-testimonial-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.ebook-testimonial-profile-photo][.ebook-testimonial-profile-photo][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.b1-ebook-600-cb-500]Vishal Krishna[.b1-ebook-600-cb-500][.b3-400-cb-300]Designer, and swag-master in chief at Zuddl[.b3-400-cb-300][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.testimonial-ebook-purple]

Besides, everyone is doing it.

So ideally, your event swag items need to be ones that come into contact with/or are seen by a lot of people on a daily basis. Your visibility doesn’t end with the campaign, and keeps going for as long as your products last and are used. This increases your reach and repeats exposure, boosting brand awareness.

brand awareness with event swag kit

[.ebook-30px-pink]Ergonomic design OR virtual[.ebook-30px-pink]

event swag ebook

[.ebook-callout-text]"Don't go for large items."[.ebook-callout-text] [.ebook-body-text]- warns Vishal Krishna[.ebook-body-text]

Not only will this be a logistical nightmare for you (as you’ll have to oversee shipping/delivery from a place of production to the venue), but also for attendees; no one wants to lug around heavy and cumbersome pieces of merchandise for hours.

[.testimonial-ebook-purple][.ebook-testimonial-text][.h5-ebook-24px-p-600]Keep it practical when it comes to swag - choose something people actually want to use. The more useful or desirable an item is, the less you will be left with to ship back. Logistically speaking, aim to keep your giveaways lightweight and packable so it's easier on both you and the attendee to get them back home. Your storage closet and wallet will thank you.[.h5-ebook-24px-p-600][.ebook-testimonial-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.ebook-testimonial-profile-ashley][.ebook-testimonial-profile-ashley][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.b1-ebook-600-cb-500]Ashley Mauras[.b1-ebook-600-cb-500][.b3-400-cb-300]Experience Marketing Leader, Quantum Metric[.b3-400-cb-300][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.testimonial-ebook-purple]

Ideally, you want to choose items that are easy to ship and easy to carry. If items are too heavy, too large, or weirdly shaped, attendees will probably ditch them at the venue, hotel room, or airport.


You can also opt to give away a virtual swag kit with goodies such as gift cards/vouchers or masterclasses/ebooks/whitepapers/ and other exclusive content - like for instance, in Zuddl's case it would be our brand new ebook 'The Guide To Before-Event Marketing: Basics, Best Practices, Blunders' which is packed with insights from industry experts, proven strategies, free checklists etc. to help you solve all your challenges, from sourcing event speakers quickly to choosing which format is right for your next event (#shamelessplug).

[.ebook-resources-flex][.ebook-resources-text][.b3-16px-600-p500]Related Resource[.b3-16px-600-p500][.ebook-24px]Before-event marketing playbook![.ebook-24px][.ebook-body-text]It's packed with insights from industry experts, proven strategies, free checklists and more![.ebook-body-text][.p-btn][.button-text]Read it Now[.button-text][.ebook-btn-icon][.ebook-btn-icon][.p-btn][.ebook-resources-text][.ebook-resources-image-1][.ebook-resources-image-1][.ebook-resources-flex]

[.ebook-purple-list-box][.ebook-list-heading-wrapper][.e-stat-heading]Virtual merchandise comes with a lot of advantages:[.e-stat-heading][.ebook-list-box-image][.ebook-list-box-image][.ebook-list-heading-wrapper][.ebook-purple-list-inner][.ebook-notepad-list][.ebook-list-text]• No logistical nightmares[.ebook-list-text][.ebook-list-text]• It’s a data goldmine as you can easily track when attendees access the bag or used a gift in it such as gift coupons[.ebook-list-text][.ebook-list-text]• It’s more sustainable[.ebook-list-text][.ebook-list-text]• It lets you deliver a more personalized experience (see point 6 of this piece)[.ebook-list-text][.ebook-list-text]• You can be more creative with the types of gifts you can give. For example, you could give experiences around wellness (gift cards to yoga and fitness classes, discounts to gym memberships) or philanthropy (donations to a relevant charity).[.ebook-list-text][.ebook-notepad-list][.ebook-purple-list-inner][.ebook-purple-list-box]

event swag examples
Atlassian gave away donations to charity as swag.

[.ebook-30px-pink]Sustainability or eco-friendliness[.ebook-30px-pink]

swag ebook by zuddl

We all know how environmentally taxing conferences can be, so it's no surprise that companies are seeking sustainable solutions or opting for e-giveaways to offset their carbon footprint.

More than 60% of consumers in the U.S. want businesses to improve societal and environmental issues. You can set yourself apart and make a powerful impact by prioritizing intentionality and sustainability in your branded merchandise.

To this end, virtual swag options like the ones we listed before are a good option to be more sustainable. Alternatively, check to see if you can opt for your items to be made from biodegradable, recyclable or renewable materials. Since many companies still rely on cheap, plastic promotional products, it can be quite simple to stand out from your competitors.

You will need to make a decision about how much you want to invest in your products. Eco-friendly swag can also benefit your business, but it is often more expensive than standard items.


[.testimonial-ebook-purple][.ebook-testimonial-text][.h5-ebook-24px-p-600]In my experience, the best way to approach selecting SWAG is to tie the item you’re giving away into your messaging. Don’t just pick something you think is cool. Make it memorable by linking the item to the thing you most want the recipient to remember.

Some of my favorite SWAG campaigns over the years have involved things like giving a custom branded Louisville Slugger bat to a new customer with messaging around ‘Welcome to the team - we’re excited to go to bat for you.’[.h5-ebook-24px-p-600][.ebook-testimonial-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.ebook-testimonial-profile-kathleen][.ebook-testimonial-profile-kathleen][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.b1-ebook-600-cb-500]Kathleen Booth[.b1-ebook-600-cb-500][.b3-400-cb-300]SVP, Marketing and Member Experience, Pavilion[.b3-400-cb-300][.ebook-testimonial-profile-text][.ebook-testimonial-profile][.testimonial-ebook-purple]

Everyone loves feeling special, so it’s no surprise that anything personalized leads to better outcomes (80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that provide tailored experiences). But often companies decide to avoid this route as they think it involves a lot of extra effort. It doesn’t need to be. Here are two simple ways to personalize your swag:

[.e-column-flex-row][.e-column][.e-column-text][.e-column-heading][.ebook-24px]Let attendees build their own kit:[.ebook-24px][.e-column-heading][.ebook-body-text]Offering attendees the opportunity to personalize their swag kit can result in big dividends. For example, Postal’s Field Marketing team created branded t-shirt shaped cards that had a QR code on them. When scanned, attendees could access a collection of items that could be customized, such as a tote bag or t-shirt, and which would be sent directly to their addresses.[.ebook-body-text][.e-column-text][.e-column][.swag-ebook-attendees-img][.swag-ebook-attendees-img][.e-column-flex-row]

[.e-column-flex-row][.e-column][.e-column-text][.e-column-heading][.ebook-24px]Personalize it for them[.ebook-24px][.e-column-heading][.ebook-body-text]Use registration forms creatively, and insert a few leading questions to help you identify what branded products the attendee will most likely use and benefit from.[.ebook-body-text][.e-column-text][.e-column][.e-column-flex-row]

Here's another example:

[.ebook-30px-pink]Uniqueness and memorability[.ebook-30px-pink]

Most companies will give away free stuff, so that alone is not enough to stand out (if that’s your aim from your swag). Try and find something that is unique and creates a memorable brand moment.

[.ebook-highlight-box][.ebook-h4]Here’s a great example of a creative conference giveaway:[.ebook-h4][.b2-18px]When attendees at a Marketing profs event reached the venue, they received a swag bag filled with promotional information about exhibition booths in the hall.  

Directive Consulting, a B2B search marketing agency, used that opportunity in an extremely creative way. They gave attendees an exclusive key that could open a safe at their booth which had an  Apple Watch to be won. Naturally, this prompted attendees to go to the booth, resulting in way more traffic than if they had simply given away a brochure. [.b2-18px][.ebook-highlight-box]

Directive Consulting, a B2B search marketing agency, used that opportunity in an extremely creative way. They gave attendees an exclusive key that could open a safe at their booth which had an Apple Watch to be won. Naturally, this prompted attendees to go to the booth, resulting in way more traffic than if they had simply given away a brochure. 

[.e-column-flex-row][.e-column][.e-column-text][.ebook-body-text]It was a genius tactic because it recreates the same thrill of opening a gift on Christmas morning, or opening a parcel from Amazon. Something attendees won’t forget.[.ebook-body-text][.e-column-text][.e-column][.swag-ebook-illustration-girl][.swag-ebook-illustration-girl][.e-column-flex-row]


A few tips to keep in mind while creating your swag kit

[.ebook-30px-blue]Apparel can be a hit or a miss[.ebook-30px-blue]

T-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants can seem like a great option to include in your swag kit because they can be worn in many different contexts outside of the event and because by wearing them, attendees act as walking billboards. “However, anything that requires you to customize items based on gender and size can become too complicated very quickly”, says Vishal. Here’s why:

event swag ideation by zuddl

[.e-column-flex-row][.e-column][.e-column-text][.e-column-heading][.ebook-24px]With apparel, there is no one-size-fits-all solution[.ebook-24px][.e-column-heading][.ebook-body-text]Today, there’s no one-size-fits-all. If your carefully ordered t-shirts arrive and you find that they don’t fit recipients the way you thought it might, it’s a waste of time, money and effort. A promotional t-shirt that doesn’t get worn isn’t really promoting anything.[.ebook-body-text][.e-column-text][.e-column][.e-column][.e-column-text][.e-column-heading][.ebook-24px]Ordering the right number of sizes is tricky[.ebook-24px][.e-column-heading][.ebook-body-text]You might assume that you can just order the same number of small, medium and large sizes but this can cause issues. You might quickly run out of popular sizes, which would mean that some attendees would have to pick from sizes that don’t fit, or don’t receive a t-shirt at all. Or you could be left with a large number of leftover sizes.[.ebook-body-text][.e-column-text][.e-column][.e-column-flex-row]

[.e-column-flex-row][.e-column][.e-column-text][.e-column-heading][.ebook-30px-blue]Be a careful buyer[.ebook-30px-blue][.e-column-heading][.ebook-body-text]While it’s important that you don’t skimp on quality, it’s also essential that you shop around for the best deal. The last thing you want to do is settle for a vendor that doesn’t have your brand color, or won’t send you samples before you make a bulk purchase. Resources: Use our swag vendor evaluation checklist to make the right choice.[.ebook-body-text][.e-column-text][.e-column][.swag-ebook-girl-3][.swag-ebook-girl-3][.e-column-flex-row]

[.e-resources-cta][.ebook-24px]Use our swag vendor evaluation checklist to make the right choice[.ebook-24px][.text-button]Check it out now[.text-button-icon][.text-button-icon][.text-button][.e-resources-cta]

[.e-column-flex-row][.e-column][.e-column-text][.e-column-heading][.ebook-30px-blue]And an even more cautious printer[.ebook-30px-blue][.e-column-heading][.e-column-text][.swag-ebook-girl-4][.swag-ebook-girl-4][.e-column][.e-column-text][.ebook-space-40px][.ebook-space-40px][.ebook-body-text]Now that you’ve got a better idea of what types of items you can put together for your swag kit, we’ll leave you with just a word of caution about what to get printed onto them. 

“Just stamping your logo onto products won’t do”
, says Vishal. “People don’t want to be walking billboards, and they won’t wear products with logos unless the brand is aspirational or a luxury brand. So therefore, you need to incorporate a lifestyle element into your design, or make it relatable in some way, like using a pop-culture reference.”[.ebook-body-text][.e-column-text][.e-column-flex-row]


No one in the conference has swagger like us

With hundreds of businesses competing for attention at a conference, a well-designed swag kit can act as a silver bullet. 

A single piece of merchandise can generate tens of thousands of impressions, drive heavy booth traffic, and can result in booked meetings as well as a huge increase in opportunity value.

[.ebook-imex-wrapper][.ebook-imex-text-wapper][.ebook-24px]Zuddl at IMEX 2022[.ebook-24px][.B2-18px]Zuddl’s swag was such a big hit that people even posted pictures of it on social media and asked for more. Here’s a glimpse of what we created:[.B2-18px][.ebook-imex-text-wapper][.ebook-imex-image-wapper][.ebook-imex-img-1][.ebook-imex-img-1][.ebook-imex-img-2][.ebook-imex-img-2][.ebook-imex-flex][.ebook-imex-img-3][.ebook-imex-img-3][.ebook-imex-img-4][.ebook-imex-img-4][.ebook-imex-flex][.ebook-imex-image-wapper][.ebook-imex-wrapper]

It just requires more than choosing any item and slapping your logo on it.The more thoughtfulness you show in creating a useful or fun experience, the further it will take you with attendees. 

[.e-resources-cta][.ebook-24px]You’ll also love our B2B conference planning checklist[.ebook-24px][.text-button]Check it out now[.text-button-icon][.text-button-icon][.text-button][.e-resources-cta]

B2B conference planning checklist

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