The swag bag is an iconic item in the race industry. When you sign up for a race it’s common to get a shirt and a bag full of items from sponsors. This is great if you don’t race often and can be a fun part of any event. But there are people who love races and participate often. When these tried and true racers attend event after event they wind up with a pile of items they don’t want, won’t use and often the contents of the swag bag end up in the trash.
Here are 5 suggestions to declutter your racers life.
- Offer a discounted rate to opt out of anything extra such as the race t-shirt, finishers medal or swag bag in general. It can be a savings to you and the racer, and one less swag bag to stuff.
- Offer an expo area where sponsors set up and the racers grab the swag they want. A larger area will be needed for this but this will additionally offer face-to-face interaction with sponsors. Again no need to stuff any swag bags, your sponsors will get face time and the racer can be selective.
- Offer a downloadable coupon book from the sponsors instead of the swag bag. This will get the participant in front of more products from the sponsor. If they were able to get one item free for a buy-one get-one free from a sponsor, the item they get immediately becomes personal because they picked it out. Sometimes the simple things like a flavor or color is all it takes for someone to become a long time buyer.
- Think outside of the swag bag by offering post race experience. For example, a post race food truck bonanza, a beer and wine garden sponsored by local breweries, a row of local massage therapist doing 10 minute sessions, or a small carnival with games and a rides to entertain the kids while the adults rest. You could even consider having local coffee roasters handing out cups of coffee to sample, or a post race concert. Experiences are better than possessions because the memory will linger longer, and that is what matters most.
- Most races are in conjunction with a cause such as raising money for medical research, memorials for those we have lost, veterans, charities and more. Offer the option to opt out of the swag but donate the monetary difference to the cause. Your race will be more beneficial in the long run, provide a larger impact and become a voice in your community.
The swag bag and race t-shirt are iconic, and might not be going anywhere soon but as a race director it’s time to think outside the box. Instead of sending people home with items they may or may not use, send them home in their style. This may mean they decide to go home happily empty handed or experiencing a post race like never before.
If you are a race director tell us what you are doing to be different and memorable? How is your race invigorating the local community? Reach out to us and spread the word on social media.