Monday, August 1, 2011

The Goodie (and the Baddie) bag

I have spent the past weekend attending the blogopolis conference and surrounding functions relating to blogging and it made me realise how many businesses accidentally waste the chance to really promote their products.

If you are a business and contemplating a marketing campaign where people (especially bloggers) are going to test your product there is one vital thing to remember.

The tiny sample size packet is no good. Besides the negative environmental impact from packaging, most of the samples just get thrown in the bin. Really, most of us are not that desperate to trial a face cream by ripping open a tiny smidge of foil and squeezing like crazy to get four drips out.

We will not decide whether we like something from one tea bag being placed into a show bag at an event.

Nor will feeling the fabric swatch of something encourage me to purchase anything.

As a marketer and a blogger I have compiled and received many goodie bags over the last 15 years. I have had to source promo items and tried to build brand awareness through giving out 'stuff'.

At my most recent blogging events it was clear those companies that do get it oh so right and those that still think I should feel privileged to be able to trial their product.

Garnier stocked me with so much product to try that I did a deliberate promo shot on twitter for them. I will also be passing some product off to some other people as there is only so much moisturiser my legs can absorb, which gets their product even more exposure.
Thanks Glowless and Mummytime for modelling
Blackmores kept asking if I had kids...than take these, and a husband try these, and don't forget to look after yourself, take these. Full sized products, not a tab of three trial pills. I stopped them at the Conceive Well products as I am not planning on ever needing to worry about my folate levels again. But I knew my brother was getting fish oil for his kids so I grabbed him a jar of those. He can try them for me (and them).

Mooo also got my tick, they included an offer of one of their products, I just need to order it online and they will send it out. I like this idea as it allows the person using it to really customise the product to be exactly what they want. If you don't want it, they have not wasted their time or yours and nothing extra is going to landfill. I can also make it a gift for someone else and make a tick on my Christmas list (hello Family Calendar for my sister!)

No need to shame those that didn't quite 'market' their wares so well, just a reminder that if you are paying to have your product displayed to a target audience, don't skimp on the most important aspect, your product.

Service providers have a much harder time at doing a giveaway or a trial offer, seriously, who ever wants to trial a lawyer just for the fun of it or hey, how about you go and see a psychologist and see if you (and they) are normal? But many still want to increase public awareness of what they offer and how they are better or different to their competitors. Again this is a tricky business and it is important to get right. But as far as I know, no one ever decided on a service provider by looking at a stress ball, a mouse pad or a pen, few people would decide on a travel destination simply because of a postcard in a bag full of marketing waffle that is usually tipped straight into the yellow wheelie bin.

So don't just empty out the marketing cupboards from old stock to fill a conference swag bag. Target the audience with something specific, show them how you are different and be available to talk with those that show an interest.

I have now received some rather bad items in swag bags and some incredibly good ones but I would love to hear some of the favourites or failures that you have received. Time to share the good, the bad and the skimpy.


  1. I could not agree more with what you have written! I am guilty of receiving items that are way to small to even gauge what I think. Also receiving a teeny tiny business card with a 5% off voucher... hmm its going straight into the bin.

    I was very impressed with the businesses at the Bloggers Brunch on Friday and also redistributed some of my Garnier products to close friends.

  2. I started using the Garnier products before I left the state! I hadn't taken any thing with me, in an effort to pack light, and really loved that it was a decent size bottle of cream I could slather on as opposed to the foil samples you speak of.

    Thanks for making me a model, I will now no longer get out of bed for less than $10,000.

  3. Interesting hearing your perspective on this stuff. I couldn't agree more - and I think there's a misconception that bloggers are so grateful for free stuff that they'll go nuts over 5ml of face cream. Nope, it doesn't work that way.

    Lindt are my favourite from this round of things (no surprises there!).

  4. So true Clairey!! Loving both Garnier and Blackmores at the moment. Same goes with pitches too. When they go the extra mile and may such fabulous attention to your own needs it really makes you want to do the same for them.

  5. I like the idea of ordering online as when you have to travel for a conference it's virtually impossible to carry everything home. Sound like you all had a ball x

  6. Lindt Lindt Lindt - a whole block of dark choc - oh how I love thee!! And yes, I took Mooo up on their offer last time at ausblogcon and now have a lovely personalised calendar for the family! But I also totally love the Acme Made little bag that now has my ipod and earphones safely stored away in my handbag :-)

  7. I was at the lunch too, my first "blogger event". And I enjoyed the Garnier & Blackmores booths most. The salespeople seem to know their stuff very well. I regret not meeting you there though...

  8. Well said Claire. I agree that sample products are a waste of time as are 10% discount postcards. I have never eaten Oats from a sample pouch, nor squeezed cream from foil. I did enjoy munching on the full sized Carmens muesli bar whilst waiting to pick up the kids. I loved the way Blackmores were keen to target my needs, hence some pregnancy & breastfeeding vitamins as well as kids fish oil & multi vitamins. And got a nice hand massage from the Garnier guy followed by big bag of goodies.....yes some personal primping will cut it every time!

  9. Hi Claire, I can't get your 'email me' thingo to work, but I have a question for you - could you email me at when you get a sec? xRach

  10. Totally agree with you Clairey. I've had to organise more than a few gift bags in my time and people don't want paper and samples - they want the real thing. I wasn't invited to the Bloggers Brunch but from Blogopolis, it was Lindt that won hands down for me - it was a full-sized block (was being the operative word at this point!) and it was a NEW variety - one that wasn't even available in my supermarket this afternoon. That made me feel special - and I tweeted about it.

  11. Love reading posts like this (and comments from others) mind is a sponge!Feel like I'm learning so much about the blogging world lately! What have i been doing for the past 3-4 years?!

  12. Fabulous post, Clairey. I think a lot of businesses could learn from reading this. I have a cupboard full of those little samples and I just never get around to using them.
    Love the ordering online concept. That's just fabulous!

  13. Spot on, Clairey! As per usual!

    Love my glamour-ish shot. hehe.

  14. From the other side of the coin... thank you. I've been wondering what gets bloggers' attention! I'd love to see the Mooo promo if anyone has it... please???

  15. Exactly, Claire. This is spot on. But hey.... I didn't get the Mooo promo. Feeling a bit ripped off at this point! Don't suppose you can enlighten me so I can take them up on it? I'm at if you get time to email me.
    As for what I enjoyed, well everyone's already said it: Garnier. Very generous both with time and product. They really nailed it.

  16. Hi Cath,

    Your profile does not link to you or your email so I can't respond to you. Send me an email and I will share the Mooo information with you.

  17. I have ordered my mooo diary. I missed out at ausblogcon because the swag bag was too big. So much stuff that it was all overwhelming and I never took the time to look at each piece of paper. So when I finally looked through it all I found the mooo offer had expired! Was stoked to see them again in the hello events goodie envelope.
    Same way too much stuff problem at the previous bloggers brunch too.
    this year they seem to have gotten it right and I have heard SOOOO much about how awesome Garnier are, so the marketing is working there.

    Favourite things from goody bags have been:
    Lindt - (always a favourite)
    you'll love coles cookies
    Kleenex glass and mirror wipes
    madi and dyl latex pillow

  18. Toushka,

    I love those wipes things a little too much.

    And the Lindt that Styling You also mentioned, so yum.

  19. Thanks Clairey for your thoughts! The Bloggers Brunch exhibitors were pretty generous - definitely know how to spoil us! See you at the next brunch hopefully. Congrats again for your wish!

  20. Green with envy! Gotta admit though, paper always goes in the bin. I hardly bother looking at it.

  21. Thanks for your honesty. Good on you for saying it as it is!

    If something's going to be free, it might as well be a product we can try more than once. xx

  22. After Aus Blog Con the Viva cleaning products paid off. I usually use only natural products, but the kids had seen the Viva ones advertised and were keen to see if they worked. They ended up cleaning the whole bathroom and the stove for me! Now I'm not sure how cost-effective it would be to continue to use those products, but anything that encourages kids to clean rates big with me.
    The chocolates were great, and as I forgot my make-up, the hair serum and face mask at blogopolous rated well, as it least I could go out looking half decent.
    I agree, don't give us crap. Give us something we are going to want to write/post about, share with friends, giveaway. It costs next to nothing.
    Sorry I didn't see more of you; maybe next time

  23. I have a bit of an "obsession" about goodie bags - having packed & received so many of them! I couldn't agree more about full size samples, or at least a decent sized sample (I once received a 1/2 size nappy rash cream that worked really well on my son & that was enough to convince me to buy).

  24. Oh but I love my stress ball collection!

  25. I missed this post. I totally agree. I love quality products that I can take home and use but things that also aren't too big. Flying with only cabin baggage the neck massage thing was a huge pain.


Commenting brings amazing luck, you must try it and see how you go!