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12 Unique Swag Ideas for Your Trade Association’s Next Big Trade Show

MemberClicks Avatar MemberClicks June 4, 2018
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4 min read

With every conference or trade association show comes the topic of event swag. What should we give out? What’s fun and unique? What’s AFFORDABLE?

Sure, there are the tried-and-true items: t-shirts, water bottles, koozies, phone chargers, etc. (And don’t get us wrong – those are all great!) But we wanted to put together a list of fresh ideas; items your attendees may not come across quite as often.

Now a major note here: Some of these items may be more expensive than others. And we completely understand that price is a factor here. But that said, some of these can still be given out in smaller quantities: to your VIP attendees, to your sponsors, to your speakers, etc. So, still worth some consideration.

Ok, now without further ado, here are 12 unique swag items for your association’s next trade show:

1. Beach towels

Summer will be here before you know it again, and that means pool days, park days, beach days, and more. That said, an embroidered beach towel could be a fun and practical swag item for your event attendees (or sponsors, or speakers, etc.). And just imagine the fun social media posts that could come from that. Your logo by the pool? Talk about picture-perfect!

2. Summer sunscreen (Or winter hand cream)

Speaking of seasonal swag, how about some sunscreen for your attendees to use on those bright and warmer days? Or, when winter rolls around, some nice winter hand cream? We’re big fans of practical swag, and those are two items people are bound to pick up and use.

3. Tech Accessories

With technology constantly evolving, offer wireless charging pads sporting your association’s logo. A modern-day essential, attendees will appreciate this gadget, making daily charging a breeze and a reminder of your association.

4. Luggage tags

If travel is a factor in your event (or if your members are just known to travel a lot – for work, fun, etc.), luggage tags could be a huge hit. Think about it: We all need them (no one wants lost luggage), but no one really wants to buy them. Let your association fill that void.

5. Sleep masks

Help your attendees get a good night’s sleep (particularly if your event spans several days, or again, involves travel) by providing an embroidered sleep mask. You can really have fun with the messaging on this. Playing off the pain points your association solves for members, you could say something along the lines of, “Rest easy with [your association’s name]!”

6. Wine corkscrews and/or bottle openers

Again, very practical, but not something many people particularly want to go out and buy. And the beauty of swag items like this is that they’re a good way to weave your association into people’s everyday lives.

7. Drink coasters

Items that people can keep at their desk are always a big hit. That said, how about some branded coasters? Again, another great way to keep your association top-of-mind.

8. Retro candy

Candy is a pretty popular swag item, but how about putting a spin on it and offering up retro candy? You know, Ring Pops, PEZ, Pixy Stix – all that good stuff. These types of candies evoke a sense of nostalgia, and they’re great conversation starters for both you and your attendees. (“Oh my gosh, remember these?!”)

9. Tide pens

Raise your hand if you’re notorious for spilling things on yourself? Us too. Help your attendees out by providing branded tide pens. Your event-goers (and their clothes) will thank you.

10. Hand sanitizer

When a lot of people get together, well, so do germs. Spread the wealth, the health, and all that good stuff with a little branded hand sanitizer.

11. Living swag

Have you ever considered giving out some kind of living swag at your event – a plant or a succulent in a nice, branded pot? Like we mentioned earlier, people like items they can keep at their desks, and a pretty little plant is a good way to not only switch things up, but spread a little bit of cheer!

12. Experiences

Last but not least, there are experiences. If you really want to give out something your attendees will use and enjoy, consider giving out a coupon for a local attraction or a voucher for a free food item nearby (a famous Chicago hot dog, for example, if that’s where your event is being held). Items like that are unique, and better yet, get your attendees more engaged.

SWAG your members will love

Now one final note here about your event swag: Your event swag should be tailored to your member personas. Every association is different. Do you have a lot of pet lovers? Environmentalists? Tech lovers? Business men and women on the go? Your swag should correspond.

But what’s the use of having such amazing swag if there’s no streamlined way to make them available to your members? Enter MC Trade, our trade association membership software. Not only does MC Trade simplify membership management, but it also comes with a eCommerce module. Allowing you to add these unique swag items for sale, at the click of a button. Embrace the future of member management and eCommerce with MC Trade.

Or maybe you need more tips for planning the perfect event? Check out our Complete Guide to Association Event Planning. It’s filled with best practices for before, during, and after your next event!

Free Member Retention Guide

Ready to retain members and keep them coming back forever and ever? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about member retention. We cover all the basics, like the first steps to member retention and how to map out your member journey. From there, we dive a bit deeper into retention tips.