You’re Missing Out On Engagement If You’re Not Offering Swag

Updated: May. 5, 2020  |  Categories: Revenues  

You’re Missing Out On Engagement If You’re Not Offering Swag

Are you selling chapter swag online and at your events? If not, you could be missing out on an easy source of non-dues revenue and a huge opportunity to keep your chapter in front of the groups you need to engage.

Those t-shirts, pens, or mugs you have with a company or organization’s name on them? That’s swag, also called promotional products, giveaways, premiums and/or incentives. You may have mindlessly picked up some swag as you walked by an event table, received some when you met with a vendor, or maybe you bought a t-shirt commemorating an event you participated in. What happens each time you put on that t-shirt, write with that pen, or drink coffee out of that mug? You remember the organization and the event.

Think how that same memory jog could work for your chapter, with your members, your prospects, and even your vendors. The branding of an item and the subsequent awareness it causes, can consciously or unconsciously increase the chances the person seeing it will want to be more involved with your organization, whether that’s a member who renews before being reminded multiple times, a prospect who decides to join, or a vendor who steps up to become a sponsor. There are multiple ways swag can help you build your chapter’s brand and improve on that sense of belonging that most people need and want.

If you’re wondering if swag can really increase the chances the person holding, wearing, or seeing it remembers your organization, data from the 2019 ASI Global Ad Impressions Study says it does. Consumers in their study were nearly two and a half times more likely to have a positive opinion of an organization based on its promotional products compared to advertising about the organization they saw on the Internet. In fact, the study showed that swag offers a stronger return on investment (ROI) than nearly any other advertising medium.

According to the study, the average US household owns 30 promotional items. Gen X’ers own an average of 34, millennials have 30 and baby boomers have, on average, 28. The study also says that when it comes to swag:  

  • Overall ownership remains high. U.S. consumers own a wide variety of promo products. Nearly 9 in 10 consumers report owning logoed pens and branded drinkware, the same as cellphones ownership!
  • It has staying power. On average, a consumer keeps a promotional product for a year; outerwear, umbrellas and T-shirts stick around the longest.
  • It makes an impression. In the U.S., outerwear generates the most impressions (the number of times people see it) because it’s often worn in public places. Headwear, t-shirts, and writing instruments also provide a large number of impressions.


Where will you offer your swag?

Knowing swag can have a significant impact on those groups you need to engage, your next step is to figure out the best way(s) to make it easily available to them. Some may want to get it at an event, so have it at your registration table (and take payment). Have it available for purchase online and be able to take online payment. And, don’t forget to bring some to sell or give away to the table you have at the next national conference you attend.

You’ll need to spend money on swag. Or maybe you won’t.

As cliché as it sounds, sometimes you have to spend money to make money, so you’ll probably have to pay for your swag. Or maybe not. Perhaps one of your vendors would be willing to provide it at a discount or for free in exchange for the visibility they’ll get with their name on the product.

Swag can be an attractive engagement option for an organization, especially if you’re one of the many chapter organizations with limited dollars to spend on advertising. Without it, you could be missing out on a simple way to stay in front of your audiences.

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