Your Swag is You! Comparing Conference Swags (Giveaways, Freebies, and what not)

From the Networked Learning Conference in Aalborg Denmark May 2010

From MESH 2010 Conference in Toronto, Canada June 2010

If you look at these swags (giveaways, freebies, whatever you want to call them) you can immediately identify all the marketing focus and weight of these conferences, correct? But does popularity of the conference mean cache in the industry? Can conference content be determined by the amount of swag one gets? If funding for travel is not an issue, which of these conferences will you go to barring no difference in content but your decision to go is purely by swag content?

Why do you ask should I just look at swag and not the content? Because this is one way of providing an external representation of one’s organization and in looking at this can we determine importance of one’s marketing strategy through these choices. What can be learned from this? What companies are choosing which conference they market to. In fact, you can even look at this from the marketing companies themselves who are used to produce these trash-or-treasure trinkets as they prominently provide company name logos on the products they sell from their websites. How do these partnerships work together to push each other’s products above the noise?

Another layer of questions that I have is how social networking is incorporated into this whole marketing mix? If you look at the swag videos, were the website URLs the main focus of the tag lines of these products or is it just the product itself with a brand? If you compare this with the latest commercial for hotels.ca for example, you will notice that they are pushing their customer service phone numbers rather than just the website URL. What does that tell you about mixing marketing channels?

Ok so this post has a lot of questions as I try to look at layers of media and marketing that is being put forth right now and see if there are any patterns and correlations. When you’re in your strategy sessions for the coming fiscal year, try the exercise above as you may find that looking at how the trends are occurring before you not just within your industry but as a whole can give you a glimpse of how you need to address the needs of your future clients.

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