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Conference Goodie Bags – That Won’t Get Thrown Away

If you’re anything like me, one of the highlights of an event is the conference goodie bag everyone receives. You would think that Christmas had come early when these get handed out, but all too often that excitement ends in disappointment if the conference bag is full of useless promotional material.
Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence. If you’ve ever been one of the last to leave an event you may have witnessed the overflowing bins containing all the bumf that someone decided to put into the event bags. There’s usually lots of paper recycling; promotional leaflets offering no value to the attendee; cheap tat that no one actually uses or wants; and the bags themselves if they are flimsy and over-branded. Not only is producing something that no one wants a huge waste of time and resources, but it is also detrimental to your event and brand.

First Impressions Of Your Event

The conference or event bag is generally one of the first things attendees see when they arrive at an event. Although I jest about Christmas coming early, essentially they are a welcoming present and therefore the bag and it’s contents should have some value to the attendee. This doesn’t mean it has to be full of expensive goodies (although it helps!), instead the contents should be carefully thought out with your attendees in mind. And it should be part of your event strategy, with a more significant role than just a bag to keep lunch in.

How Can Conference Bags Have A Role?

All too often event organisers stuff their conference bags with any freebies they can get off their sponsors and exhibitors, with little thought as to whether the contents are aligned with the event goals. If the aim of your event is to get bookings for your next one, then the contents should be working towards this goal. You could give away a calendar app that allows you to engage with your audience once they have left the venue and notify them of your next conference; offer a substantial discount on tickets to your next event if bought on the day; provide quality branded items that will help promote your next event and keep it in mind.

And don’t forget to provide contents that enhance the experience of your current event (so attendees will want to come back for more)! Everything from notebooks and pens, to emergency phone chargers, energy bars and things to entertain on the way home.

Although it may sound like overkill, create a strategy for your event bags and make sure that those companies who contribute to them provide items that deliver value for both your attendees and the goals of the event.

Checklist For Your Event Bags

First and foremost your conference bags should be targeted at your attendees, everything from the design of the bag itself to its contents should be relevant to your core audience.

The Bag: If you are investing in a quality bag you won’t want to see it discarded as the cleaners make their rounds at the end of the day. Ask yourself, “Is your ideal delegate going to use the bag, and take it home?”

  • Your event bag should appeal to users from an aesthetic point-of-view (fashionable tote etc.), or for its practicality (backpacks, cycle-courier style); it could do both.
  • However much you might like your logo to be emblazoned across it, consider whether this might devalue the bag to your attendees. Maybe a more discreet logo would give it longevity?
  • Make sure it does the job required. A paper tote is not going to last five minutes if the contents are heavy. Likewise an oversized bag could be impractical around your venue.

Items To Enhance Your Attendees Experience: Add value with event-specific items that enable attendees to get the most out of their visit. Near field technology can be incorporated to help deliver attendee-specific resources; electronics such as mobile chargers, headphones, USB flash drivers (with relevant info) can ensure your delegates don’t miss out on key areas of the event.

Stuff To Take Home: Include quality items that attendees want to keep, subtly branded to ensure your event or sponsor’s brand is ever-present, these might include clothing, games, quality stationary, toiletries etc.

Discounts, Promotions And Offers: Ifyou are going to include printed material in your goodie bag, make sure it delivers value. If your sponsors or exhibitors want to add a leaflet about their services to your goodie bags, it should provide your attendees with something more than a promotional spiel. Ask them to offer attractive discounts or other promotional incentives if they want it included.

What do you think of conference bags? We would love to hear what items you have kept, what gets binned straightaway and whether you’ve ever used the services, or bought products, from those brands sponsoring items in an event bag. Share your thoughts below.

Rob Edmonds

Author Rob Edmonds

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