Does schwag matter?

I had intriguing discussion with a colleague concerning the role that schwag plays in the IT industry. Schwag being defined as T-shirts, hats, mouse pads, coffee cups, stickers, and trinkets that vendors and companies sometimes dish out to clients and prospective clients. The conversation begin by my colleague sharing the following,

I’ve spent over $70,000 with “Company A” over the past six months. I’ve spent under $15,000 with “Company B” over the past six months. Today I received two polo shirts, a thermos, four mouse pads, couple of neat little knick knacks, a copy of Norton Confidential, and a Fifth of Johnnie Walker Black label. Do you know what “Company A” has given me? Nada.

To frame this discussion it is worth stating that I think schwag plays an important role in the visibility of your brand as well as cheap advertising. (Especially is that cheap advertising is worn by a satisfied customer, then it is invaluable.) Secondly, I think schwag creates a feeling of good will and possibly appreciation within the schwag recipient. Who doesn’t like getting free stuff? To prove my point check out the BlackHat vendor floor and see what sort of buzz a free black t-shirt will cause in Vegas this summer.

So, good brand recognition, good feelings, good advertising… BUT, the question remains.

Does giving away free schwag translate into revenue?

I’m not talking about gaining new clients based on schwag advertising because that would be framed into my advertising budget, I’m talking about existing clients.

Considering out story above, would you continue to do business with Company A, all things being relatively equal?

Does Schwag matter?

One response to “Does schwag matter?”

  1. Ken Stewart says:

    That is an interesting question… There are a lot of variables. I will typically wear or display schwag if I believe in a brand, but not otherwise. I almost feel like schwag is a sign that I am a happy customer.

    However, I do not necessarily feel it is obligated based on a certain figure, but it does help to keep my attention – along with the important things like solid account management, a great product or solution, and awesome support.

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