Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blogalicious Was Swagalicious, So What's The Problem?

I'm reading: Blogalicious Was Swagalicious, So What's The Problem?Tweet this!

I just flew back from Atlanta and are my arms tired. Ba-dum-bum.

Seriously, the MamaLaw ladies, put on a fabulous conference. The speakers were great; I picked up tips and tricks at every session I attended, and the conference atmosphere was thick with support.

Once I got past feeling intimidated by the wealth of knowledge and success that surrounded me, I was able to relax and enjoy. And there was plenty of enjoyment to be had. Liz Henry has an excellent recap over at BlogHer, along with links to the reflections of several other attendees.

The swag was flowing at Blogalicious, thanks in part to my sponsor (and client) ConAgra Foods and their super crunchy Alexia chips. Many other generous sponsors filled swag bags, too. I didn't see any shoving or fighting to get to the bags which were offered at every party and even some meals.

And yet.... I have concerns.

That's why I'm creating Kim's Commandments O' Swag. I'll start with a few of my own guidelines and I'd love for you to add your thoughts.

Be mindful of those who traveled from afar and don't want to pay for checked luggage. In other words, just because attendees appreciate your generous offer of three, 18-ounce bottles of nicely scented lotion doesn't mean they're eager to fill up their suitcases with your product and pay a $20 fee to check their luggage to bring it home. Consider offering coupons to those who want to travel light.

Don't hand out swag during the final hours of the conference.
Again, this largely applies to out-of-towners, but keep in mind that many attendees don't make it to the closing session and those who do may already be packed and checked out of their rooms.

Ask conference organizers to consider instituting a recycling system.
It seems like the last thing a sponsor wants it to see a recycling table full of their product, but I'd say the last thing they want to see if their product in a garbage can. Not every item is going to be right for every attendee, but you know what they say about one woman's trash being another woman's treasure.

At Blogalicious, I gave my hair care products to a new blogfriend who was more likely to appreciate them. She was happy to get the extra and I was happy the sponsor samples did not go to waste.

At BlogHer08 the Zwaggle folks operated an awesome swap room where bloggers left what they didn't want and were free to take what they did. Zwaggle folks worked to find homes for whatever product was left over.

Connecting with a local woman's shelter is another option.

I'm sure the thought of this leaves some potential sponsors cringing, but if they saw the three bags full of appreciated, but unwanted, items left behind by my roommate and I (multiply that by a few dozen or a few hundred other attendees), they might reconsider.

I don't mean to imply that this issue is unique to Blogalicious. It's not. It's pervasive issue, though I probably didn't notice it at my first blog conference because it was all so new and exciting. Free stuff!

I also don't mean to insinuate that sponsors should just stay home. This is not at all the case! Sponsors are great. Swag is exciting. It's fun. It's a great way to gain exposure for products. It's just that every bit of swag is not going to be a great fit for every conference attendee.

How does a sponsor or a blogger maximize "fit" and minimizing landfill waste?

How can we make this delightfully swaggy process more efficient?

More on marketing to moms.

Powered by Whrrl


Elita said...

You've made some great points here, but just want to say we would loved to load up on more of the Alexia goodness. Me, the hubs and the baby couldn't get enough of the onion chips. Delicious!!!

kristina said...

I second everything you said. Coupons are the best. And for me, the last time I checked a bag it was $25. Blah! Can't wait to hear more about the conference and your sponsor. And yes, Alexia chips, yum.

Boston Mamas said...

Thanks for sharing these thoughts Kim. My approach at BlogHer worked well; I didn't get in line for swag and if swag came at me, I asked what it was first and only took it if it was something useful/interesting to me (or my kiddo). I didn't need to check extra bags coming home!

From what I saw at BlogHer, I think there's a frenzied tendency to grab for things even if you don't have any idea what it is. That wastefulness and greed bothers me tremendously but everyone is going to have their own approach to such things. I'm not sure that there is a perfect universal solution.


whymommy said...

It's still worth talking about, isn't it ... waste just bothers me so much, when there are so many in need.

Glad you had a great time!

Mommy Niri said...

I am still yearning all the useful lotion but cannot imagine justifying paying $20 baggage fee just for checking in lotion. I travel light and definitely would have loved coupons. Great idea!

I am so glad to get to meet you and spend time with you at Blogalicious Kim!

Condo Blues said...

I agree with coupons for free product vs. product samples. Travel restrictions make it very hard to travel with an extra suitcase just for samples.

I try to be selective about what swag I take as in will it benefit me or my blog audience. But there are times that I have to leave something behind that I really want to try/write about due to suitcase space/weight issues.

Cara Fox said...

Totally agree - I actually commented on the drive home that I was so glad that I was driving and not flying b/c there was no way I was gonna pay extra for all the lotion I somehow ended up with.

Now the Alexia chips, THOSE I would've paid to check...

Leighann of Multi-Minding Mom said...

What I would love to see is either more coupons or a way to quickly sign up to be mailed the swag afterward.

I got a full size bottle of detergent at BlogHer. WTH? How can you possibly take that on an airline? I try not to check my bags and you can't carry on that much liquid!

I recently held a local party where the guests received some awesome swag (hopefully all useful because I hand-picked it). Due to some last minute cancellations there was left over. I took a trunk-full of toiletries, baby care items, laundry detergent, and (yes) coupons for organic baby food and eco cleaning products to a local organization that provides temporary housing to women and their children. It was good to pay it forward, so to speak.

Jenn said...

Very good points! Then again, maybe Fedex should be a sponsor & provide priority mail boxes as swag ;)

Mom101 said...

I will just point out that the best swag I ever got? Lindsay of Graco hooked us up with FedEx slips to ship stuff home from BlogHer.

I don't remember half the stuff given to me that weekend but I do remember how only Graco really had thought about what would truly be helpful to those of us at the conference. And it makes me think more of Graco.

Justice Ny said...

Thanks so much Kim for your continuing support of our efforts. You've made some great points that we will definitely consider for next year.

In all honesty, some of your issues (and those of commenters) surfaced as we were planning and we tried to resolve them as best as we could.

Without delving too much into the mundane details, let me explain that the issue of coupons rather than products was one that we toyed with for a long time; but as you know, many companies much prefer their product in hand rather than a coupon distribution.
We also decided to distribute gifts throughout the conference to avoid the grab and run that we've seen at other conferences. And finally, we wanted to set up a recycling station; but figured that we would let the natural relationships between the ladies guide that process.

Needless to say, we will definitely make note of these issues and will continue to consult with you, as we've done in the past, as we start to plan for 2010.

Thanks again Kim.

P.S. Fedex or UPS ... we'll be knocking:)

Kim Moldofsky said...

Thanks for the Alexia feedback. I'm biased, of course, but they are of the "I can't stop eating them" type of chips. Speaking of which, I suggested my client include a chip clip next time so to encourage that bag to last beyond one sitting!

@Justice Ny- thanks for stopping by. The conference was amazing! I want to clear that the swag issue was not unique to Blogalicious. Indeed, everyone I saw was well-mannered and appreciative about the bounty available to us. I'm happy to brainstorm with y'all as I'm also doing with my clients. Certainly sponsors want this to be win-win, too!

Tech Savvy Mama said...

First of all, I loved getting to hang out with you at Blogalicious! Secondly, you made many great points in your post. I always favor coupons not only because they allow me to travel light, but the allow me to send them to my readers as part of my giveaways. Just like I wouldn't want to pay to check my swag, I wouldn't pay to ship it as part of a giveaway.

Thankfully I had two super roomies who were part of the Chevy Ride and Drive and took my swag home in their carpool so I could travel light. For me, checking a bag would have been $25 and I wouldn't have been able to carry on full size bottle of lotion due to the TSA restrictions on liquids and gels.

Thanks to ConAgra for the delectable goodies that I will certainly be buying again!