It’s Time to #SayNoToSwag & Be More Impactful With Our Marketing Budgets.
Business, Corporate Responsibility, Events

It’s Time to #SayNoToSwag & Be More Impactful With Our Marketing Budgets.

Last year, I read an eye-opening article by Elizabeth Segran of Fast Company that highlighted the environmental impact and exploitative conditions surrounding the promotional products industry for trade shows. She presented a staggering statistic: there is currently a $24 billion dollar industry dedicated to cheap promotional products, i.e. swag, which more often than not end up in our trash cans shortly after attending a conference.

Considering that number is equivalent to the GDP of Iceland, the optimist in me wondered, what if corporations could creatively reallocate even a portion of their conference marketing spend towards something that could drive direct social impact? And what if it still serves the underlying purpose of elevating your brand awareness?

With CloudMasonry slated to participate in two significant tech conferences this year (Salesforce’s Los Angeles World Tour and their annual tour de force event Dreamforce), I invited my team to think of creative ways to leverage the marketing spend we have earmarked for these conferences for both an altruistic and organizational ROI. Together, we are launching our #SayNoToSwag challenge.

In the inaugural year of our challenge, we decided to partner with one of our clients, Bernie’s Book Bank, a non-profit based out of Lake Bluff, IL whose mission is to get high-quality books into the hands of underserved communities in the Chicagoland area. In many low-income neighborhoods, there is a dismal ratio of one book to every 300 children. Bernie’s strives to improve this ratio and in turn, the literacy rates within these communities. They looked to Salesforce to maintain their operating costs, with goals of scaling their mission nationally. 

The powerful insights presented by Ms. Segran, along with Bernie’s altruism and vision, inspired us to launch our #SayNoToSwag challenge this year. For every attendee who is willing to learn how we are helping Bernie’s transform and scale their business with, we will donate $1 to Bernie’s cause, effectively translating to one quality book in the hands of an underprivileged child. 

In a time when corporations can lead the charge for social and environmental impact (such as automakers choosing to partner with California to improve fuel efficiency standards or Patagonia donating their tax savings to environmental non-profits), CloudMasonry wants to consciously embed selfless principles in the decisions we make at the corporate level as well. So I’m asking my fellow clients, partners, and competitors within the ecosystem, will you join us the next time you have an event in this #SayNoToSwag corporate challenge?

Chicago CloudMasonry Team volunteering at Bernie’s Book Bank.
Chicago CloudMasonry Team volunteering at Bernie’s Book Bank.


CloudMasonry, is a full-service Salesforce consulting firm, with a focus on improving and maximizing investments made in the Salesforce ecosystem. With service offerings covering the full life-cycle of cloud-based systems, CloudMasonry partners with organizations of all sizes to deliver best-in-class business solutions.




Twitter: @CloudMasonry