As many of you know, I spend a LOT of my time at various industry conferences to speak, to see old friends, meet new ones and to stay abreast of what is going on. Part of Conference Life is swag.
It is important to know what vendors bring good swag, so you can plan room in your luggage. Below are my swag ratings for MHPA 2017. Only vendors with at least 3 out of 5 stars are shown, so as not to embarrass those that only brought pens or bought candy at the gift shop last minute to put in a bowl. (You know who you are).
Links are to company pages on LinkedIn. Helps you find actual humans you may know in these companies.
4 or More Stars Out of 5
Vendors in this category demonstrate mastery of the Art of Swag. Themes in this elite circle include brand-relevance, investment in the swag (cash spent), uniqueness, utility in the home setting, whether kiddos would like it and overall presentation. If you are a 3 out of 5 swag-rated vendor, you should pay close attention to these vendors when planning your next event. (Assuming you are running low on whatever you bought 10,000 of last year).
National Vision Administrators (NVA)
What’s great about the swag offering: Its well branded across multiple items.
What can be improved: Replace that water bottle that looks like a 1987 camcorder with a 1987 camcorder. Memories of Father’s Days gone by will abound.
What’s great about the swag offering: A lot actually. There is an understated thoughtfullness to these items. The pen with fuzzy hear and a stethoscope has details not usually seen in the world of plastic pens. The bandaids are pretty unique. When Friso first explained them to me at dinner the night before I was skeptical. But he knew they would be a hit. He knew.
Not pictured: Rubik’s cube. Still trying to solve it 1 month later.
What can be improved: I think a mini-first aid class could be built around the band-aids. Perhaps offer CPEs for clinicians who stop by the booth?
What’s great about the swag offering: This is just an awesome toy (this colorful pop up thing). If I was picking an overall winner, this would be it.
What can be improved: Don’t change a thing you sly devils. My kids will be Cotiviti customers in 20 years, and they won’t know it was because they saw your logo over and over again when they were youngsters playing with this thing.
What’s great about the swag offering: This is a great lion. Its a quality stuffed animal – actually has a little personality to it if you stare into the eyes a minute. The oversized nose / mouth give it a cuteness that would not be there if it was more exact to an actual lion. (Think of those cards with cats or dogs on them with really big eyes). This is not just a boring piece of cloth like so many conference stuffed animals. Take these home to your kiddos and they will love it.
What can be improved: Maybe add a book to connect with the learning theme?
Liberty Dental Plan
What’s great about the swag offering: The relevance-to-product score is off the charts. Taking one of these replicates the in-office experience of going to the dentist exactly.
What can be improved: Let me pick stickers from a small basket if I didn’t cry during the cleaning. I prefer Doc McStuffins stickers. Or Batman.
What’s great about the swag offering: So very practical. I get one of these (chip clips) every single time.
What can be improved: Not much, really. Maybe offer more colors? But that might not be brand-compliant. Ignore what I say. Just keep bringing these to show, please.
What’s great about the swag offering: Everything. Kids love these pigs. I have grabbed at least a dozen in the last 2 years alone. And the team does solid giveaways, too (see pics below).
What can be improved: Add another farm animal.
What’s great about the swag offering: I am a sucker for tools, especially ones with surprises. You think this thing is a highlighter at first. But then you see the level on it and you are intrigued. So you open it up and its also a screwdriver. WITH A FLASHLIGHT. Mind blown.
What can be improved: Add maybe a jumpdrive or phone charger function.
3 to 4 Stars Out of 5
What’s great about the swag offering: These are nice notebooks. Really nice. My wife still lives in the dark ages and uses paper and loves notebooks. So I got like 5 of these for her to take home. Christmas shopping – done.
What can be improved: Add something non-notebooky. Something electronic maybe?
What’s great about the swag offering: I am not sure- but I do love them. The shape of these things reminds me of a cartoon character. They soothe me somehow. I think they hold your phone?
What can be improved: Put faces or googly eyes on them.
What’s great about the swag offering: Very brand-relevant. Logo is the star shape. Also foam, so doubles as kid toy. Kid: “Daddy, what did you bring me from your business trip?” Me: “This red star!” Kid: “This is the best day of my life!!!!!” Four hours later I am picking up ripped up pieces of these things in every room. But it was a great 4 hours for the kids.
What can be improved: Maybe a little more detail on the printing? I would like to maybe see the edges of the star outlined in a contrasting color.
What’s great about the swag offering: This is a table full of candy. At a healthcare conference. Bold. (Keep in mind this event was actually on Halloween – so this is a very thoughtful / relevant showing).
What can be improved: Set up next to the Liberty Dental guys / gals.
What’s great about the swag offering: It actually had a reputation all its own. Before I even got to this booth, people were telling me to check it out. I think it is a nail file.
What can be improved: Add a label to tell me how to use this thing.
i2i Population Health
What’s great about the swag offering: Yo-Yos!!!!!!
What can be improved: Yo-yo lessons. I can’t even walk the dog.
What’s great about the swag offering: These cups are legendary. I am not joking. People collect the whole set. And this year they added some. Unless I am mistaken the Icecream one and the “Medicaid State of Mind” one are new.
What can be improved: Put Starbucks gift cards in each cup to incentivize people to take them. I have found that people don’t want to take breakables back home in luggage.
What’s great about the swag offering: It’s just cool. It even has sunglasses. And the overall color pallette is charcoal grey (on the swag anyway).
What can be improved: Tell me what the heck the twisty thing is.
Cribs for Kids
What’s great about the swag offering: It’s actually not swag. They are not giving this stuff away. The product is all this cool stuff that goes in a box to go to Medicaid mommas. Babies!
What can be improved: More wipes. Always more wipes.
What’s great about the swag offering: They spent cash on you, the attendee. Phone charger banks!!
What can be improved: Add a garden item to the swag. The green and the plant-like icon in the logo make it a no-brainer.