People call me SwagSam because I always have Swag with me. No, I’m not talking about swagger (although I would like to think I do have a pep in my step). I’m talking about promotional products AKA Swag. I love Swag! Wherever I go I always seem to come with gifts.

Whether it be our newly printed “butter” shirts, some sweet athletic socks or a Hydro-Flask style water bottle … I always have some branded merch to gift my friends.

However, Swag isn’t for everyone. All businesses use some sort of swag because by definition swag is branded merchandise.

Unless you work for a tech giant like Google, you probably have business cards. Business cards are swag too! But, then let’s think again about Google – while, they may not believe in business cards; they sure do believe in Swag! Google has about as much branded merch as you’ll see from any company! I digress tho… let’s get back to the reason why Swag might not be right for you.


Unfortunately, I see this far too often. A lot of companies that are planning their own events or are attending events and conferences think about Swag as an afterthought.

I get it because I’m an event planner as well.

When you’re planning events you’re focused on things like venue relations, F&B (hopefully you don’t have an alcohol license issue to overcome), ticket sales, and of course the experience for your attendees. A lot of times after all of this, you may think “oh wait, we need some gifts and freebies to give out”. The problem here is your budget is about wiped out…

This is the point that you look for literally the “cheapest” (ugh, I cringe a bit just writing that word) merchandise you can brand with your company identity. Why would you do this?!

Let’s break down why this is a bad idea

Our industry (the Swag industry) has literally thousands of inexpensive items that you can brand and give out like candy. But, how many of these items are actually useful?

  • Pens / Stickers / Pins / Buttons: All of these type of items are priced at a low cost and they actually are quite well received and of good quality! I recommend these sorts of items if you’re on a tight budget.

Here’s where it goes wrong tho…

  • Water Bottles / Shirts: This is where companies go wrong! They try purchasing water bottles and t-shirts for the price point of the pens, stickers, pins, buttons etc. As you can imagine the price point for shirts could be 10x the price point of the items I just mentioned. You’re not going to find a t-shirt at that price point that someone will actually keep and want to wear. Water bottles are a bit different. You can certainly find a stainless steel water bottle at a low price point. It might be something handy for the recipients of your event to use that day. But, will it become their go-to water bottle? Will it be something that they bring home with them to even keep in the cupboard? Probably not to be honest.

My long-winded point that I want to emphasize and make clear here is that just like anything in life you get out of it what you put into it. If you put low energy and minimal effort into setting your goals and acting upon those goals, then would you achieve said goals? Likely not?

The analogy here is that if you just want the “cheapest thing” you can brand because you feel like you need to have some swag to give out, then you’re doing it wrong. You are literally wasting your money!

Swag works best when you use thoughtful items that represent your brand that speak to your target demographic.

Having said all this, I do have some tricks to help you with your budget! We can chat more (408.220.6029), but the basic concept is to lower the quantity you are distributing so you can increase the cost per unit that you’re willing to spend.

Ready to learn how we can make Swag work for you? Hit us up – But, keep in mind – we’re going to challenge you and hopefully get you to “think different” about your Swag game 😉

Swag On,


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