Swag Marketing: Get Your Swagger in Check


Posted: November 13, 2012 | B2B Marketing, Modern B2B Marketing

I had an “apple falling on the head” sort of moment a week or so ago during my morning coffee. Before I go any further, let me provide some background. The below Twitter stream between myself (@RickGrind), sales intelligence and social selling tool, InsideView (@insideview), and their Director of Social Media Strategy, Koka Sexton (@kokasexton) will let you know what’s up. BTW, doesn’t Koka have an awesome name?

And that’s when it really dawned on me – swag marketing is a legitimate strategy. It’s not about giving customers and sales leads  some piece of junk with your company’s logo cheaply printed on it. It’s about providing them with a useful tool that they will get benefit from. It’s about solving a simple every day problem, and throwing in some brand for good measure. Need some inspiration for some of these useful items?

Disclaimer: Yes, there are a lot of pictures of Marketo swag, which may come off as lame promotional “product placement” in our blog. I assure you this is not the case. I work at Marketo’s HQ in San Mateo, CA. It just so happens that I’m surrounded by Marketo memorabilia, and I used what was around me. Though I tried to include as much tchotchke (yes, that is how it is spelled) from some of our pals as I could find being used around the 4th Floor; which is where Marketo’s B2B marketing team rocks out on a daily basis.

Awesomely Useful…

Headphones: You’re always losing them.
iPhone Amplifier: No batteries required!
Carry-On/Overnight Bag and Luggage Tag: It’s always good to be prepared for a quick trip, and to be able to identify your bag on that trip.
Blanket: It’s amazing how popular a rolled up fleece blanket can be, trust me.
Pen: Overdone, but necessary. You can always use a pen.
Travel Mouse: Big on productivity, small on taking up room in your luggage.
Grocery Bag: Big enough to fit an entire trip to the grocery store, and rolls up tight for on the go. It’s also strong enough to hold 6 bottles of wine with no tears or ripped seams.

Now I’m not necessarily saying that you must have this hardcore usability mentality 100% of the time. Just…80% maybe? Yes, there is still room for the fun aspect in the promotional lagniappe (lan-yap). The point is to not JUST provide the little toy that is kind of cool until the low production value makes its grand debut. Those are almost like secondary offerings, a playful reward for some prior engagement.

Ridiculously Playful…

Slingshot Animal: They are flying pigs, complete with cape and oinking sound box. Please explain, what’s not to love?
Foam Hand: \m/ METAL \m/
Light-up Shot Glass: Nothing says, “let’s party!” like flashing lights at the end of your whiskey.
Cute Factor: Cute sells, just ask Boo the Dog.

What are you waiting for? Go find some good vendors, and start providing useful engagement with prospects and customers!

Related Resources

  • http://twitter.com/michaelgerard Michael Gerard

    Hey, I have one of those Pigs! My kids loved it. I got some good utility out of the tchotchke from that company. . . and the kids run around the house calling the pig “LeadMD” thinking that’s the pig’s name. That helped me remember the company’s name. (i.e., good brand building)

  • http://twitter.com/ThomasGaydos Thomas Gaydos

    Great post and agreed that swag marketing is a legit strategy. We always make sure that our swag is at least somewhat useful. Our most recent smaller item is a screen wipe since every device now seems to contain a fingerprint-magnet touch screen. For larger items we’re having Anro Printing press our logo, OEM Style, onto various iGo Green chargers. The one is a plug in charger for iOS devices. The other a battery pack charger for iOS or Android. We have people tell us that they use all of the above every day. I’d call that a swagtastic win.

  • http://twitter.com/kimikay Kimi

    A post by my main man Rick about swag. I’m in heaven. I love a good piece of marketing swag. the iPhone amplifiers are a touch of genius. LOVE mine.

  • Brandon Bruce

    Rubber ducks and other toys were certainly popular at Dreamforce 12 — great take home items for attendees with kids.

  • http://twitter.com/VZ_Freelance Val Z

    I’m jealous of all the cool swag I see in this post–want! I agree that it’s a legit marketing strategy as long as it’s useful and not lame. There’s a company in Portland called Aprisa–all the chips, burritos, and taco shells are branded with “Aprisa.” Of course that’s not swag, but it’s a cool idea (and just fun). I think any kind of creative branding is a good idea, and that includes swag!

    Now how do I get some of the stuff I see pictured here? :)

  • Pingback: Swag Marketing: Get Your Swagger in Check – B2B Marketing | Viewicle

  • Anonymous

    Wow! Love it! Chargers are constantly being left in hotel rooms, forgotten in the office, etc. Definitely a swagtastic win.

  • Anonymous


  • Superior LLC

    Good post on toys.. very funny everyone love these items

Rick Siegfried is a Sr. Customer Marketing Specialist at Marketo, where he's responsible for end-to-end management of programs and communications to Marketo customers. His specialties include marketing automation, being awesome, and percussive engineering (aka drumming).

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