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Gimme, Gimme: What Promotional Items Do You Want?

Kathleen Garvin
Gimme, Gimme: What Promotional Items Do You Want?

Conference season is well underway. This time of year entails traveling, networking, learning and a whole lotta swag.

Before this job, I worked in healthcare communications for three years. During that time I represented my former company at 13 industry conferences across the U.S., from National Harbor, Maryland to Long Beach, California. I also worked as a brand rep at local shows and events in the Philly area.

I've seen my fair share of table offerings — the usual candy, lanyards and wristbands; and popular items on the rise, such as earbud headphones and portable chargers. I've also given out golf tees and received beer koozies.


As we prepare to order a new batch of SEMrush promotional goodies, what I want to know is this — what would YOU like to receive from a company at a show?

First off, do you care what companies give out? Do you prefer discounts or the opportunity to win big-name items like an iPad over smaller swag pieces?

For those of you with an opinion on the matter, I'd love to hear you out!

Two-question survey

Will you scream if you see another water bottle or drawstring backpack? Are there items you'd prefer to see more of? Please record your answers and/or let me know in the comment section!

Bonus question:

When it comes to t-shirts:

  • Do wish companies with experiment with variations, or do you like the traditional t-shirt style?
  • Do you prefer company colors, or does that not matter?



Thank you in advance for your feedback! We look forward to getting and giving you items you want at shows.

Header image credit: Canva & Pixabay

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Kathleen Garvin is an online editor and analytics wrangler for The Penny Hoarder, the largest personal finance blog. She's also a contributing writer for I Want Her Job and started a beginner-friendly digital marketing blog, The Maroon House. Kathleen is the former blog editor at SEMrush.
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Kathleen Garvin
Thank you all for your feedback! Counting the comment section, Google survey and social media, we have almost 40 responses so far — you rock!
Kelsey Jones
SEJ did hoodies and socks (as well as coozies during our open bar) for Pubcon Vegas last year and they went over awesome! The hoodies were mainly for SEJ writers but everyone was asking how to get one.
Kathleen Garvin
Kelsey Jones
Hey Kelsey! We noticed a similar response with SEMrush t-shirts. Now, we're contemplating certain shirts for employees, different ones for contributors and others for fans of the brand. Thanks for the feedback!
I like practical things like a reusable bottle or a sealed bottle of water. Items like pens or bracelets get thrown away, lost, or soon forgotten.

However, last year at PAX East there was a booth handing out LED-lit lanyards. People stood in line forever just to get one. Even though it's not entirely practical, it had everyone's attention, and I'm still talking about it today.
Kathleen Garvin
Thanks for responding here and on LinkedIn, Seth! Your response will doubly stick in my mind. :) I like the LED-lit lanyard idea ... kind of shallow, but hey, like you said, you still remember it to this day.

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