Thursday, August 27, 2009
Promotional Products and Advertising Specialties are Excellent Low Cost Ways to Increase Traffic and Sales
Look around your house. You probably have dozens of pens, refrigerator magnets, key fobs, drink coasters, note pads, calendars and other items that carry the brand of a local business owner. You might generally think of these items being associated primarily with real estate and insurance salesmen, but in fact the promotional products business has 70,000 distributors and 20,000 suppliers offering 700,000 products that can be imprinted, embossed, or otherwise labeled with your identification.
For twenty of the past twenty-two years I have been manufacturing and selling bicycle water bottles (aka sports bottles, squeeze bottles.) My company sold close to 100,000,000 bottles during that time to everyone from the local pizza parlor to the US Army, from State Farm Insurance to Curves, and from the Girl Scouts to the local little league. During those years I was featured in articles within the industry on various aspects of providing a better approach to the sale of promotional products that would deliver better results.
Most sellers of promotional products are very happy to ask you what you want, then hope they have the best price. You see, almost all promotional products salespeople can offer you the exact same 700,000 products. And you may think that the most important thing to you is whether the pen costs $.79 or $.89. As a marketing professional, I see it from a completely different perspective. Here is how I suggest you make the purchase
First, consider what your goal is in purchasing the promotional product. Commonly the reason you are buying the item is because you did it last year, and you ran out. But, did the item actually result in any kind of new business for you. If you can identify the result you hope for (e.g. more phone calls, repeat sales, employee motivation, customer retention, direct mail response, salesman's leave behind, trade show traffic builder, or new product billboard) then you might decide that a pen at any price is not the right product. So with 700,000 products to choose from, a more thoughtful and marketing driven consultant might have some highly unique ideas to suggest.
Over the years I developed a concept called the perfect promotional product. Each time you need an item for a promotion, you may not be able to find an item that meets all these criteria, but it is still a great place to start.
1. Demographics. Who am you trying to appeal to? Men, women, young, old, athletic, couch potato, hip, not so hip, student, church member, vacationer, outdoorsman, etc. The product should suit the demographic you are hoping to reach.
2. Utility. You should try for maximum utility. When they get it home (if they get it home,) where, how, and how often will the product be seen so that the ad can be viewed. Some items only last a day. Some items last for years. Some are used once. Some are used repeatedly (think coffee mug.)
3. Other eyeballs. A plus for this new perfect promotional would be if it would get seen or be used by someone in addition to the intial recipient. When it is used, will it be seen? Is it cool enough to show off? Will others in the household use it? Beach balls and water bottles come to mind.
4. Pallet. The more possible colors the better. Having a low minimum order quantity for custom colors would be a nice touch.
5. Fast turn around. The promotional products industry has become very fast at order turn around time. Try to have at least a week to play with.
6. Large area for art. The larger the better. Of course, there are applications where the client wants their logo or design to be subdued. The larger the billboard is to begin with, the more that a pretty large logo still doesn't appear obnoxious. Pens are not very good at this. Calendars are.
7. Four color art possible. Even better would be if the product can also be printed with multiple spot colors beyond four, so that cartoon art, or several logos with different PMS colors can be used.
8. Multiple locations for the art. Two is better than one and almost always adequate.
9. Small and ships cheaply. For the first time we have an element that is conflicting with other goals. (Small, but large billboard.) But maybe it is an item that can be unfolded.
10. Perceived value compared to cost. Wouldn't it be nice if you could find an item that the average person would look at and think was $10 in the stores, but you could buy it for $.90? That doesn't happen often. In fact, maybe never. However, the perfect promotional product would have a very high perceived value compared to its cost.
When we help you with your promotional product needs we take all of this into account and also help you devise methods for tracking the results.
at 10:02 AM
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