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Sweet Surveys: Developers’ Favorite Trade Show Swag

March 6, 2018 - Contributor Musings -
By: Yolanda Fintschenko

It’s expensive, sometimes sought after, and often forgotten in a hotel room—trade show swag. Ubiquitous at any event with a vendor exposition, many conferees plan time in their schedules just to roam the expo floor and find enviable tsotchkes to take back to the office, to the kids, or just to keep. Of all the injection-molded, stamped, and mass-machined products to grab, what will draw developers to your booth? We posed the question on Sweetcode.io to discover developers’ favorite trade show swag.

The Methodology

Our approach was pretty simple. Our surveys sit on a sidebar on Fixate’s media site, Sweetcode.io. (Just click on a post like Vince Power’s recent “Active-Active Environments in a Cloudy World,” and you’ll see them). Simply click through the survey sidebar until you find one you like. (We have three open right now.) We received 99 responses to the simple question: “Favorite trade show swag?” with the response choices of shirts, stickers, chargers, pens, and other.

Which Swag Reigns Supreme?

Within our company, we had a debate between t-shirts vs. stickers as the winner. No one seriously considered that pens would be at the top. At least one person was sure it would be chargers. “Other” seemed weak, because there are often some specific strong contenders at trade shows, but who wants to think about the possibilities and type in something? So…

What did our Sweetcode visitors tell us?

  • Stickers! At 49.5%, almost 10 points ahead of shirts, stickers were the hands-down favorite.
  • Shirts; Of course, who doesn’t love a good t-shirt? (We discovered that 40.4% of our respondents do.)
  • Chargers: Yes, they are everywhere, and everyone has more than one, but 9.1% still picked them as their favorite.
  • Pens: About 1% makes sense. Who uses pens in their IDE?
  • No one chose “Other.” Zilch. Zip.

The Takeaway

What can we say? Developer peeps love a sticker! But if you can’t pull that off, a t-shirt will work just fine. Do you want to be a contender, but lack the design skills or high-res logo file to pull off a branded tee or sticker? Get that charger. (No pens, please.)

Of course, just because they love the swag doesn’t mean they will buy or even need your product. But, they will stop by, snatch the sweet little giftee, and see your sticker every time they open up their laptop—or wherever they decide to put it. (So you know, our blog image is from a sticker-laden cube wall!) By bringing the sweet swag, you get a shot at being the brand they recognize, now or later.


Yolanda is a scientist, writer, marketer, coach and avid runner who lives and works in Livermore, CA.  She founded Common SciSense, a marketing company for technical products, and co-founded founderTRACTION, lean marketing services for startups. 

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