R5 The Power of Promotional Products

The use of promotional products is one of a long line of advertising and marketing methods one can use to develop and increase their business. It is not the answer to every problem but it is an effective avenue that most should consider adding to their strategic mix.

One of the primary positioning statements we make about promotional product advertising is its effectiveness in complementing your existing strategic plan. Promotional products in and of themselves are just that, products. But, complemented with a well thought out and well-positioned plan, a promotional product provides the staying power to enhance and prolong the initiative.

There are many reasons for its effectiveness. One would be its CPI or cost per impression. In advertising most gurus say that it takes nine mental recognitions by a buyer before that person will make a buying decision. They also say a person notices only one out of every three opportunities. Added together this means that it takes 27 offerings before the average buyer makes a decision to buy a product or service! The cost per impression is the cost to the advertiser of each offering divided by the number of times it is seen by the buyer.

- Advertisement -

For example an ad in a newspaper is most likely seen once or twice and we’ll say that it cost $100 to place the ad. That means that the CPI is either $50 or $100. Nothing quite compares to a well placed, well thought out campaign involving promotional products. For example, let’s consider a note cube for the desk. It has 200 sheets and costs $5. How many times a day will the customer look at the pad and see the advertising? Let’s just say that they look at it once per day until they have used all of the sheets up (200 days) (which is way low!). In this case your CPI just went down to 2 ½ cents CPI. Plus 200 divided by 27 means more than seven potential buying decisions!

The key is to be well placed. Some have referred to the products in our industry as trinkets. Based on what was given out that well could have been true. Some call them giveaways. This can also be misperceived as something of little or no value. Strategy is important when choosing what to give to your customers or potential customers.

Some of the considerations that might or should be considered when creating an initiative involving promotional products are:
» Where the end user will use the product (the best place is the place where the end user will be most apt to need your product or service);
» Connecting the product to an existing campaign or creative memory phrase so that the product represents more than just contact information;
» Deciding whether the item is intended for mass branding (in which case contact info only along with logo is O.K.) or for a creative positioning or for a gift and;
» Practicality versus uniqueness (I prefer something that will be used over and over for CPI reasons than something that is very creative but useless beyond that).

Another value of promotional products is their representation as a gift. Never underestimate the power of a gift. We all like to receive gifts. It shows goodwill and represents a gesture of kindness. We are careful to call all promotional products as either branding items (lower cost mass giveaway) or business gifts (not necessarily expensive). A $1 pen can be distributed as a branding piece or a gift. The key is how it is delivered. Many a relationship was either started or developed through gift giving. With more than 500,000 products to choose from, promotional products offer you plenty of options to find just the right thing and to have your contact info provided as well.

The following are some of what I feel are the best strategies for using promotional products as either a branding item or goodwill gift.
Advertising and Incentive Premiums help maintain and increase sales with existing customers in such cases as:
» When used as appreciation gifts, preferably delivered in person, but also by mail, at company meetings or conferences, at holiday times, when an anniversary occurs, given at a trade show, or as a premium with purchase of your product or service;
» Items given to commemorate participation at a company event; like a new location, product launch, golf tournament, etc.;
» When given to someone as a practical useful item that keeps the company or brand in front of the customer. It is a reminder of the goodwill or the quality or excellence of the company/brand;
» When given to someone to be used as an everyday supply item. There are loads of business, home, car, and recreation items that are either going to be purchased from Wal-Mart or Office Max to meet everyday needs or they could receive them from you! Examples include scratch pads, sticky note pads, pens, calendars, mugs, travel mugs, coasters, kitchen items, etc.
» A piece sent as a part of a direct mail package that follows any of the motivations above.

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A gift giving gesture to create a moment of good will can start the relationship off on a good note. Examples include:
» A gift at a first appointment;
» With a receptionist at first contact
» At a trade show to say thank you for stopping and talking (getting pre-qualified!);
» At an open house, conference, or meeting for attending;
» As a part of a direct mail piece to capture someone’s attention.


Maria Perez is the president of AIA New Dimensions in Marketing, Inc. in Elmsford and can be reached at (914) 347-4872 or at peres@effectivpromos.com.

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