Channel Maven Consulting


Are Promotion Items Making an Impact with Channel Partners?

by channelmaven on April 3, 2014

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I loooove cool promotional items. SWAG, Gimmes, Promos…whatever you call them, if they are really cool, I’m going to do whatever I can to grab them at the show and bring them home to my collection.

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 5.52.53 PM

You’ll note there’s not a single standard pen, pencil, or post-it in this photo.  So what is it that truly makes a promo “cool”?  What makes it something I’m going to make sure I get before I leave the expo and keep for years to come?

Note: Want one of your promotional items added to Channel Maven’s collection and posted on social? Send it to: 1035 Pearl Street, 4th Floor, Boulder, CO 80304 and we’ll be sure to post it on our social and maybe even our blog!

Is it nostalgic? 

I saw this Rubik’s Cube from Sophos and had to have it! They offered me a very nice speaker’s gift after doing a session at their partner summit and, while I thanked them profusely, I also asked if I could have a Sophos’ Rubik’s Cube. Why? Because it reminds me of the first one I ever had when I was… well, let’s not go dating ourselves. The point is, this one stays on my desk and I see it all the time. Excellent way to remind partners and customers who you are and what you do. As you can see, I learned my lesson from the first one I ever had that I’m not very good at solving it so I never even played with it.

Is it cute, fun or entertaining?

The monkey in this photo actually has elastic tubing inside of him so if you hold his fingers, pull his tail and let go, he’ll sling-shot across a room. I’m not kidding—this thing gets air. The best part is when he lands: he makes this monkey-like noise. If that’s not a great way to break up a long workday, I don’t know what is!

Same with our pen from NetApp and sumo stress ball from Hitachi.Data Systems. Funny and functional, they make me smile when I look at them and I’m a big “fiddler” while I’m on the phone so both come in handy.

Is it useful?

I’m always excited to come across the next fun gadget that actually makes my life easier. The Microsoft mouse or USB extender is the perfect example. I also have an iPhone tripod I really liked using until it broke. The great thing about promotional items is you’re not heartbroken if you lose or break them. My favorite promo items are probably still the little tin of mints. It’s not new or cool, but talk about useful! There’s nothing worse than walking around a conference hall with lunch still on your breath.

So what does this mean to you?

Why should you bother?  Our friends at The Performance Group, a leading event management and experience company, make a really good point.  Dawn Witherspoon comments, “Event hosts can use gifts to promote their own conference.  One of our clients provides their partners with a yearly conference giveaway bag, and they’ve learned that other partners see the bag and ask how they can get invited – so it’s also about advertising next year’s event.”

As you’re thinking about which promotional items you should be ordering, sometimes it makes sense to spend a little more on ones that people will keep on their desk or will use for some time. Not good at this type of thing? Me either. That’s why I always call our buddy Max at Ellco Promotions, give him a sense of what our theme is, and he comes up with some creative ideas. Last year we helped the McAfee channel team pull off a very cool retro cocktail reception for partners including wristbands, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, and glow-in-the-dark drink mixers. Come to think of it, I never got my wristband!

As always, Channel Maven Consulting is here to help if you have questions for your partner summit or sales kickoff or topartners when you’re doing a booth at a trade show.

Let us know what cool promotional items you’ve discovered or used in the past.  Want to add to our collection and get a shout-out on social? Send your item to:

Channel Maven Consulting
1035 Pearl Street, 4th Floor
Boulder, CO 80302




  1. Deanna says:

    Agreed! Swag is fun and a great way to set your company apart at an event. One of my favorite swag items is a small remote control helicopter that I received from Peak. There was a big gathering at their booth of attendees trying to win one. Plus it still gets used at the office as a fun way to take a break and get the creative juices flowing every now and again.

  2. a says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say
    that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you
    write again soon!

  3. channelmaven says:

    We’re so glad you enjoyed it and found our blogs useful. In most cases our blogs come out weekly so keep an eye out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Connect With Us


Sign Up for Our Newsletter