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Goodie Bag Ideas for Adults to Promote Your Business

Priscilla Greene |

We have talked about the marketing and branding power of the event or corporate swag bag before, but today we will discuss matters from two different points of view. First, we will look at the things that make an event bag worth keeping and the rules you should follow to turn the mundane bags into memorable items. Secondly, we will offer you some goodie bag ideas for adults that your attendees will love and use long after the event ends. So let’s discuss gift bag-centered marketing and determine the ways you can improve your strategies!

The Truth about Goodie Bags for Adults Attending Events

In some professional circles, specialists in specific domains spend an incredible amount of time attending corporate events, national and international conferences, conventions, workshops, meetings, and so on. If one such expert participates to all the activities of interest for the respective field, by the end of the year, she or he would have gathered a good dozen of goodie bags and gift bags in the back of a drawer or cabinet.

The question is: how many people do you see in the streets wearing conference bags filled with dates, logos, and other prints? Not so many, do you?

  1. One of the most significant issues with event swag bags is that they serve as cheap containers for “stuff.” While promotional bags make a roundly $20 billion industry, the intrinsic value of these promotional bags fades away once the event is over.
  2. When it comes to choosing the best promotional bags for your business, you have to remember this rule: they have to be functional, stylish, reusable, and wearable. Moreover, the “stuff” inside should also follow some rules not many give a deep thought.

You can consider your promotional bags in terms of collateral damage – meaning that you know people will toss them eventually or even throw them away, but agreeing to lose the money for marketing purposes. The best of both worlds, however, is when people wear or use the goodie bags they receive from you together with the exciting and cool stuff you put inside the bags.

So What Makes Goodie Bags for Attendees Smart?

A good event marketing plan should encompass the goodie bags as a part of the communication strategy. Announce the existence of the swag bags before the event and entice your future attendees with solid reasons regarding the contents and the uniqueness of the gifts. Creating emotion and expectation are basic marketing rules and your promotional bags can be an integral part to it.

  1. Set a goal for the promotional gift bags. Do you just want to give people a mundane bag to stash their unused office supplies or junk documents? What do you want to achieve with your goodie bags? Answering such questions will help you determine your business marketing strategy better and the contents of the bags.
  2. Perform this exercise before you pick the promotional gift bags and list the best goodie bags ideas for adults to buy:
  3. Think about the top five clients/attendees to your business event. Who are they? Do they have children? Do they have fun hobbies outside the corporate world? What else do you know about them?
  4. Would these people genuinely want the bags you consider? Would they use/wear them?
  5. What makes the bags and gifts inside so memorable that your target group would remember your event?

If you have a list of answers to this exercise, start building your marketing strategy around them. Before you buy the bags and the gifts, consider the following:

  1. Avoid containers that look and feel cheap, boring, forgettable, or commonplace;
  2. Surprise the attendees with the bag design. Splashing your brand logo on canvas bags seems cheap and unprofessional. Instead, look for rare fabrics, vibrant colors, stylish bag designs, and shapes. By unusual textiles, we mean the innovative vegan ones for starters, but you can consider rustic ones (like jute) or high-tech ones as well.
  3. Bigger and heavier are not good ideas. Your attendees will have to carry the bags all day. If you have international guests, make sure you take into consideration size, weight, and airplane rules when you purchase the contents (wine bottles are a no-no for hand plane luggage).
  4. When you display a logo or a motto on your promotional bags, make sure you pick a provider that also offers printing and personalization services together with the bags. In this way, you will make sure that the logo fits the fabric and the bag style.
  5. If you want to up your ante with personalized goodie bags, search for a bag provider offering embroidery services. Embroidery is an art regaining popularity, as it shows class, attention to details, and an elegant alternative to the everyday screen-printed items that all kids wear. Stand out of the crowd, and the crowd will follow you!
  6. When you order branded bags, make sure you do not splash a logo the size of the Chinese Great Wall on them. Wearable bags are more wearable when the emblem is discrete and blends in easily. People sometimes wear bags with big flashy logos on them if they work for the respective companies, but seldom if they received the bag from a different brand or group. Keep things simple and reserved; it is what we are saying.
  7. Don’t put the date on the bags. They become outdated the second the event is over.

How about Recyclable Goodie Bags?

Separating the environmental philosophy from marketing strategies is a good idea to consider. It means that while “recyclable” sounds appealing, not all recyclable items are good for everything. In practice, recyclable goodie bags are paper bags that end up in the trash more than they responsibly end up in recycling plants.

People throw away plenty of paper, and you just feed the monster with your disposable personalized paper bags that have little to no function after the event is over. Seriously, have you seen anyone reuse a paper gift bag with a conference logo printed on it?

Let’s Think about Reusable Goodie Bag Ideas for Adults Instead

Reusable goodie bags are the more sensible and environmentally friendly idea here. We have talked about the advantages of using eco tote bags and gift bags for your promotional endeavors as opposed to paper and plastic a few times before.

Remember, you want to make the goodie bags a part of your communication strategy, marketing plan, and the experience you offer to the attendees. In other words, your goodie bags themselves should stand out as original and memorable and become a part of the guests’ lives long after the event is over – all the while they promote your business and serve the environmental cause.

Let’s Think about the Long-Term Value of Goodie Bag Ideas for Adults

What makes a conference/industry event swag bag memorable? Both the bag and its content. But, and there is a big “but” here, how can you be sure the bags will meet the attendees’ needs while exceeding their expectations?

  • Remember the exercise we proposed above: create a profile of your attendees. Based on that avatar, you can pick one or more of the following types of bags you can be confident will find their uses in the post-event period!

1. Stylish Backpacks or Book Bags

Do your attendees have children? Perfect! Instead of tote bags and small favor gift bags or super-branded drawstring backpacks, go for stylish rucksacks and boog bags.

Children always need one more pack for school or a rucksack for outdoor activities. The same goes for book bags or urban-chic messenger bags for older high school and college students.

Remember, get reliable, high-quality, stylish backpacks. The preliminary investment may be a bit higher than expected, but your attendees will love to see the “promo bag” every day – worn by their kids. Pick vivid colors, fun prints, and stylish designs, and you will make that memorable impression you want!

2. Beach Bags

Is your audience or target group young, rebellious, and always ready for an adventure? They will not leave new and stylish beach/pool bags behind in their hotel rooms!

You can even fill the bags with beach bag essentials so anyone can enjoy a fun day in the sun after attending your event. Just make sure that cosmetics, sunscreen, and all personal care products are within their expiration limits, as some of your attendees might use the beach bag and contents next summer.

3. Business Briefcases and Messenger Bags

A smart goodie bag should be unisex. Think about it this way: your audience is diverse from age, gender, and lifestyle perspectives. However, the one thing that binds together your amazing colleagues and guests (or clients) is their professional stance.

For this reason, in the corporate world, everybody has at least one business briefcase or messenger bag. If they do not, they surely have a family back home whose members might wear a stylish urban business briefcase for work or school.

Would you wear a leatherette slick bag to the office every day? One that matches anything from your age and gender to your fashion sense? Of course, you would!

Keep it vs. Toss it: 5 Content Goodie Bag Ideas for Adults

To resume, people are more likely to keep and wear your corporate swag bags if these bags come with high levels of reusability. They will promote your business every day by using the containers every day. However, the contents of these bags are equally essential. Many companies make the mistake of filling them with “stuff” of little to no value to the modern world.

Let’s talk about the keep it vs. toss it a value of goodie bag contents.

Toss It

The “toss it” department usually includes the following:

  1. Paper collaterals from leaflets to brochures and so on. You only waste paper and feed the landfill monster. Seriously, do you keep the promotional flyer of a company or do you just look for it online?
  2. Plastic branded pens. With pads, tablets, laptops, and smartphones at our fingertips, there is a wonder the ubiquitous branded plastic pen still exists at all. You may keep one or two, but if you attend ten business events in a year, do you keep all ten ball-points on the desk or do you toss them in a drawer and forget about them?
  3. Personalized plastic water bottles filled with labels. Plastic goes against all sustainability efforts done in this world. Moreover, how many plastic branded bottles does one need?
  4. Cheap low-quality items – you may not believe it, but the world is full of them;
  5. Anything that does not make it through airport security or check-in.

Keep It

Now, this is the point where things become exponentially interesting! You do have the fantastic, wearable, attractive bags. What do you put in them? Well, it depends on the type of industry you are active in, the participants to your corporate assembly, the theme of the event, and so on.

Nevertheless, marketing specialists found that some items make the first preferences among corporate events’ attendees – no matter their age, gender, lifestyle, and so on! Here they are:

Information – instead of printed materials, leaflets, and brochures add a high-capacity USB memory stick with all the info debated at the event/conference or with articles that interest your guests from a professional point of view. Fill the sticks with the newest research in their fields, videos, tutorials, guides, anything you know acts as added content and value to the event itself. The most significant point here is that nobody says no to a sturdy, beautifully branded, and high-storage USB stick.

Anything for children – just do not be corny or cheap. Great children literature, smart gadgets, educational software, cute clothes, science kits, etc. make some of the cutest and unforgettable corporate gifts.

Fashion items – as long as your logo is discrete and refined, fashion items make incredibly interesting goodie bag ideas for adults. Forget generic t-shirt with your logo all over the chest like armor. We talk about elegant ties, belts, wristwatches (you can engrave on the inside), silk scarves, even touch-screen gloves for the winter or fun socks for the young rebellious corporate generation.

Gadgets – do you toss a pair of high-quality headphones? We don’t, either. Consider e-books as well. Devices take all shapes, sizes, and functions, and you can have a lot of fun choosing such items depending on whom your attendees are. From Bluetooth speakers to fitness trackers and smartwatches, the high-tech world is yours.

Culture – from books to event tickets, bookshop vouchers, cultural events subscriptions, theatre/opera season tickets to exclusive club passes and more, you can spoil and surprise your guests with goodies not many companies can offer. We know, chocolate and pens are cheaper, and you may never be able to buy 200 tickets to a rock concert for 200 event attendees (that may not even listen to rock music or that band in particular), but you can think along these lines and find something accessible and pleasurable for everyone in the room.

The smartest goodie bag ideas for adults do not necessarily answer your attendees’ immediate needs. After all, everyone has at least a USB stick in the office bag or the desk drawer. Similarly, corporate clients, colleagues, and peers in your field can probably afford to buy backpacks for their kids or funky t-shirts for their friends at home.

It is the gesture that matters – never forget this. Moreover, it is the impression the swag bag makes. It is less about monetary value as it is about usefulness, reusability, and organic influencer marketing at its best!


Now tell us: what other smart goodie bag ideas for adults do you have? What were your favorite past corporate gifts you still have and use/wear? What would you like to receive at the next business event you will attend?