Seriously, the MamaLaw ladies, put on a fabulous conference. The speakers were great; I picked up tips and tricks at every session I attended, and the conference atmosphere was thick with support.
Once I got past feeling intimidated by the wealth of knowledge and success that surrounded me, I was able to relax and enjoy. And there was plenty of enjoyment to be had. Liz Henry has an excellent recap over at BlogHer, along with links to the reflections of several other attendees.
The swag was flowing at Blogalicious, thanks in part to my sponsor (and client) ConAgra Foods and their super crunchy Alexia chips. Many other generous sponsors filled swag bags, too. I didn't see any shoving or fighting to get to the bags which were offered at every party and even some meals.
And yet.... I have concerns.
That's why I'm creating Kim's Commandments O' Swag. I'll start with a few of my own guidelines and I'd love for you to add your thoughts.
Be mindful of those who traveled from afar and don't want to pay for checked luggage. In other words, just because attendees appreciate your generous offer of three, 18-ounce bottles of nicely scented lotion doesn't mean they're eager to fill up their suitcases with your product and pay a $20 fee to check their luggage to bring it home. Consider offering coupons to those who want to travel light.
Don't hand out swag during the final hours of the conference.
Again, this largely applies to out-of-towners, but keep in mind that many attendees don't make it to the closing session and those who do may already be packed and checked out of their rooms.
Ask conference organizers to consider instituting a recycling system.
It seems like the last thing a sponsor wants it to see a recycling table full of their product, but I'd say the last thing they want to see if their product in a garbage can. Not every item is going to be right for every attendee, but you know what they say about one woman's trash being another woman's treasure.
At Blogalicious, I gave my hair care products to a new blogfriend who was more likely to appreciate them. She was happy to get the extra and I was happy the sponsor samples did not go to waste.
At BlogHer08 the Zwaggle folks operated an awesome swap room where bloggers left what they didn't want and were free to take what they did. Zwaggle folks worked to find homes for whatever product was left over.
Connecting with a local woman's shelter is another option.
I'm sure the thought of this leaves some potential sponsors cringing, but if they saw the three bags full of appreciated, but unwanted, items left behind by my roommate and I (multiply that by a few dozen or a few hundred other attendees), they might reconsider.
I don't mean to imply that this issue is unique to Blogalicious. It's not. It's pervasive issue, though I probably didn't notice it at my first blog conference because it was all so new and exciting. Free stuff!
I also don't mean to insinuate that sponsors should just stay home. This is not at all the case! Sponsors are great. Swag is exciting. It's fun. It's a great way to gain exposure for products. It's just that every bit of swag is not going to be a great fit for every conference attendee.
How does a sponsor or a blogger maximize "fit" and minimizing landfill waste?
How can we make this delightfully swaggy process more efficient?
More on marketing to moms.