Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Tchotchkes, schwag, chump chum... it goes by a variety of names (some less flattering than others), but it all refers to stuff companies hand out (usually at trade shows or conventions). There's an amazing range of products available to customize with your company's logo, from M&M's to pens to mugs or tote bags, and many things far less obvious. So how do you decide whether or not to pay for some of these items, and if you do, which ones are worthwhile from a marketing standpoint?

Ideally, you want to draw people to your product or your company; perhaps get them to come to your booth in order to get a tchotchke; maybe to visit your web site later, or have your contact info for some time after the show. In all cases, you want to leave a good impression of your company or your product. A cheap pen that leaks ink or doesn't work is not a worthwhile investment.

If you are trying to draw people to your booth at a show, then the product should be desirable (either because it's cool, or it's classy, or it's unusual, or it's useful). If every other booth has a free pen, then no one will care much about your free pen unless it stands out in some way. Maybe in that case you offer a pen holder... and tell the customers it's for all the other companies' free pens.

A tchotchke that's directly linked to your product or company is great, as long as it's still useful or cool. Foam dice for a gaming company? Yup, I still keep those around. Pens? I got a zillion of them, hardly ever look to see whose it is. That heat-sensitive mouse pad I got from Zynga? Use it every day. Post-it notes from Sony? Use them all the time.

Always compare the cost of tchotchkes to some other way in which you could spend those marketing dollars. If there's some way to track the performance of the tchotchke, use it! (A unique landing page on the item, for instance, will let you know how many visitors you got from it... or you could do a survey... at least try to track it somehow.) Maybe you're better off printing up some fliers rather than making pens, especially boring pens.

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