The Benefits of Swag

by Curtis Hill
December 22, 2014


If your company has ever considered in-person, on the ground marketing on college campuses, then you know that free swag is a major player. Companies have free stuff ranging everywhere from flyers to t-shirts to water bottles to hats. The Black Sheep does marketing at over 50 campuses across the nation, and although swag may sometimes seem like a waste of time and resources, we’ve found it can make a huge difference in a marketing campaign’s success.


Getting the attention of students is everything. Trying to get college students interested in your product or company can be a serious challenge. They’re constantly on the go, very busy, and even when they’re walking to class they have headphones in and often couldn’t care less about what your company rep has to say. So in order to grab their attention, you’ve got to show them something they’re interested in. College students love free stuff, whether it be t-shirts, food, stress balls, anything. They’re on a budget, and if getting a free water bottle will save them a few bucks, they’re all over it.


It’s better than a flyer. People handing out flyers are everywhere on college campuses. Students pass out their own flyers for different events and deals, and many local businesses do as well. In a sea of flyers, it’s hard to stand out. If you want students to actually learn about and use your product or service, you need to make sure they don’t throw your flyer in the trash with the rest. Swag is more enticing and valuable to students. They are much more likely to hold on to free stuff in comparison with a boring piece of paper. And if they hold onto it, odds are they’ll check you out. Additionally, combining a flyer with free swag allows you to engage with students through the swag item and inform them through the flyer.


Students are worth the investment. Tons of companies are all trying to target the collegiate space. At The Black Sheep, we’ve done marketing with over 50 companies all focusing on the college market, so things can get pretty crowded. Even though free stuff is more expensive than flyers, it can be worth it to pay a bit more. If you pay more per student for swag, you’ll be more likely to get a return on your investment. Students will take free stuff over a flyer every time, and if they’re taking your swag, there’s a higher chance they’ll become a valued customer. It’s a little pricier in the beginning, but can have big returns.


It’s a great reminder. If you hand a student a drawstring bag or a water bottle, they’re going to take it home with them and actually use the product. Unlike a flyer, which is normally glanced at then thrown away, swag sticks around and is a great reminder. Every time a student takes a drink, goes to the gym, or writes with one of their free pens, they’ll be thinking of you and your company.


Swag impacts a variety of students, not just one. Not only will the student using the swag be reminded of your company, but their friends who see them using their free stuff will take note as well. T-shirts, water bottles, and other products that students use are seen by everyone around them. Swag goes far beyond just one student, and can impact a much larger group.


Regardless of the type of swag you use, it can have a big impact in the college space. Students on the go aren’t going to stop for just anything, so free stuff is the perfect way to entice them into learning more about your company. And whenever they use their swag, it’s more free advertising for you!

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