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As an event director, you’ve probably already thought about the type of medals and awards you want to give to all of the people participating in your upcoming event. But have you also considered what type of promotional items you'd like to get?

While promotional items like hats, water bottles, flashlights, t-shirts, and drink tumblers may not seem important, they can actually help take your event to the next level. Not only do custom promotional items excite event participants and attendees (‘cause, who doesn’t love free “swag”?), but more importantly, they can also help promote and grow your event.

By customizing products that people will actually use (e.g., a water bottle or t-shirt with the event logo), you’ll advertise your event long after it’s over, which means more exposure, which in turn leads to more people at your events. Plus, promotional items can also feature sponsors, and if sponsors know you have multiple options for their brand placement they’ll be much more eager to work with you.

The big question: how do you choose which promotional items to include at your event?

There are tons of options, and the task of selecting the perfect items might seem a little daunting. However, there are three key things to consider that make the selection process fairly easy... Read on to get the tips that will help make your decision process simpler.

Budget and Time

Like most things, the amount of money you have available to spend matters; this is the case for promotional items, too.

For example, you wouldn’t want to plan on getting 500 Yeti tumblers with your event logo if your budget for promotional items is somewhat limited. Due to the superior quality of that particular product which is pricier than many other brands. Instead, go for an off-brand, quality tumbler (they do exist) that’s less expensive per unit. The point is, regardless of your budget, you still need to give out quality promotional items.

When you’re thinking about customizing any product, the amount of time you have (or don’t have) can greatly impact your options; this is true for promotional items as well. Even if you have a sufficient budget for those Yeti drink tumblers, but only have two weeks until your event, you may have to reconsider.

Certain promotional items take longer to produce than others (especially if you need a large quantity), so you’ll need to factor production time into your selection process. Lean on your awards vendor, as they can provide you with a list of the best promotional item options that coincide with your budget, timeline, and event theme.

Match Audience Preference

You want your audience to keep and use the promotional items you give them, right? Then it’s crucial to consider what type of audience your event tends to draw in, and give the people what they want.

Obviously, a t-shirt can be geared towards any audience, but there are items you can select that would be a better fit at particular events than others. For example, if you have a beer tent in conjunction with your event and Miller is one of your sponsors, perhaps a logo bottle opener, koozie, or a stadium cup would be a fitting giveaway. Pairing these items with a t-shirt creates a unique promotional package your participants will love and use long after the event is over.


Quality matters. To maximize your investment in promotional items, they must serve a purpose and be high-quality, no matter the product. Otherwise, recipients quickly forget about them and throw them in their junk drawer—or worse, just throw them in the trash bin. Low-quality products that break or don’t serve a useful purpose will leave participants annoyed and with a negative impression of your event.

The bottom line here is quality over quantity, bigger is not always better, etc. You could give out a super cool, intricate, custom keychain that also functions as a flashlight... Even though it’s small and might not look like much at first glance, as long as it serves a purpose and doesn’t fall apart, it actually ends up being an item participants love and use for a long time.

The quality of promotional items also matters to sponsors; they don’t want their image or brand associated with a cheap, low-quality item.

Putting it All Together

Great promotional items can play a huge role in the success of an event. By considering budget and time, audience preference, and quality, you can find the perfect promotional items to give in addition to amazing medals and awards, leaving participants with a wonderful, long-lasting impression of your event.

Need help choosing the best awards and promotional items for your event? Contact us and one of our experienced sales experts can point you in the right direction.


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