Event planning with merchandise

I was recently invited to speak at the HITEC conference, the worlds largest hospitality technology show. This event was produced by HFTP, an international professional association serving the hospitality finance and technology industries. For the event, we created a special edition t-shirt, which had people climbing over one another in hopes of grasping one! With all parties involved, this was a huge success.

As I frequently speak at conferences around the world, I've noticed an interesting dilemma which many event planners go through. They want awesome t-shirts that attendees or employees will wear, yet they are willing to sacrifice design and quality to save money. Many conference t-shirts have a gaggle of sponsors on the back, are scratchy, poorly fitted, and don't usually get worn in public beyond the event. This defeats the whole purpose of making a t-shirt for the event!  

Cool, you saved a bunch of money on your t-shirts, and even made extra money with all of the sponsors on the back. Kudos to the hustle! But now what? Now 1,000+ people have oversized t-shirts that they aren't going to wear in public.  Imagine the power and ROI if those 1,000+ employees and attendees wore those t-shirts in public multiple times?  

Here's a better question to ask yourself when planning an event, "How much am I willing to spend on a human billboard to proudly walk around with my company name on it?" Let's say you spend $30 on a good t-shirt with design, branding, and packaging for an attendee or employee. They then wear that t-shirt a few times per month. It causes curiosity about the t-shirt's content. What if one t-shirt sighting gets a stranger to research and purchase a $300 ticket for your next event? What if that one t-shirt spawns a conversation which then spawns a business partnership valued at $20,000? If money is an issue, you could back the cost into your ticket price.  Or better yet, this could be a part of your marketing budget.

It's simple.If you want customer loyalty for your event, you must be loyal to your customers.Want cool results? Do something cool.The more you put in, the more you'll get back. Many events are on marketing, innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity. However, when it comes down to the t-shirts, many event planners make the same common mistakes by lacking the very same things their own event preaches. Rather than looking at the t-shirt as merchandise for ones memory, or even a billboard for the event, they get overlooked. The t-shirt should be an extension of the experience.

My speaking engagements primarily focus on inspiring creative thinking in all corners of every type of workforce. I provide blueprints for building brand loyalty,  creating memorable experiences, and inspiring innovation.  With that being said, it's equally important for me to bring the experience beyond what's on stage. I do so with several surprises, including our Johnny Cupcakes special edition, collaboration t-shirts, where we work with other companies to create unique merchandise that people want to wear.

For further information on Ode team or to enquire about making a booking for your next conference or event please contact the friendly ODE team


  • +61 2 9818 5199
  • info@odemanagement.com

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  • enquiries@odemanagement.com
Event planning with merchandise

ODE Management is a direct management office for some of the world's greatest disruptors, innovators and thought leaders. The speakers we represent are the best in their fields, each making a global impact due to their passion, experiences or downright audacious insights into the world.

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