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HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PROMOTIONAL PRODUCT

05.14.2013 / Posted in ArticlesBranding

Promotional products. Most companies buy them for prospects, clients, event attendees—they’re a fact of corporate life.

And they do work: Compared to other items when it comes to the cost per number of impressions, promotional items often win. For example, the Advertising Specialty Institute found that the average cost-per-impression for a shirt is 0.005 cents. A prime-time television ad? Per impression, it runs 0.019 cents. 

But not all promotional products are created equal. Some are hits—and others are misses. How can you ensure that your next promotional item nails the target?

WHAT’S YOUR POINT?

What do you hope to achieve? How will you distribute the item? How does the activity for which you’re purchasing promotional products fit into your marketing strategy and message? How will you measure its success? 

Without a clear plan and an understanding of how these products integrate into your marketing program, you risk wasting a sizable chunk of your marketing budget

And the dumpster behind your building is not a prospect or customer.

SUIT THE PRODUCT TO THE PERSON

Who does the promotional item target? 

Don’t select a product you’d like—select something your audience would want. Ensure it fits your purpose as well: You may want to give something different to customers than to prospects. After all, you should have a different message for customers than you do for people who haven’t purchased from you.

DON’T FALL INTO A PROMO-ITEM RUT

Some companies have “signature” promotional items. They should reconsider. Customers likely already have one from a previous encounter with you. Many prospects may as well—at least, if they’re in the pipeline, they will. Something new and different will make a fresh impact each time.

FOCUS

Don’t give a promotional product to everyone you meet—even if they fit your audience parameters. Target carefully for the biggest impact. For example, handing a gift to everyone who walks past your booth at a trade show—even if its attendees are your target audience—cheapens the item’s value.

GIVE—AND GET

Ensure that you have contact information for anyone who receives a promotional item. With current or past customers, you’re all set. But if you’re trying to attract new prospects, giving something without getting something in return is doing it wrong.

FIND SOMETHING USEFUL

Choose something that your audience will use as often as possible for as long as possible. A study showed that promotional product use achieved a 69 percent boost in brand interest and an 84 percent increase in positive brand impression—mainly because of repeated exposure to the company’s brand though using the item. Also, you gain fresh brand impressions from the people who see someone use the product—an added bonus.

INCLUDE A CALL TO ACTION

The item may be usable, targeted, and fit your strategy—but it fails if you don’t give the customer a way to take action.

Include your company’s contact information: logo, URL, tagline, phone number, QR code—whatever makes sense for your initiative. And with a finite space in which to work, make every line count.


QUALITY MATTERS

Promotional items leave a lasting brand impression. Handing out cheap, useless products is worse than handing out nothing at all. 

Detail orientation ties to quality, too. Check every proof that you receive from the vender. Is everything clear and easy to read? Is the phone number correct? The URL? Are there any misspellings? Send the proofs through multiple pairs of eyes to be extra certain.

Need help making sure your promotional product is a good fit for your strategy? Call us today!



Techdirt Promotional Products Based On Declassified NSA Security Posters

Techdirt is an influential blog that delivers keen insights into technology's legal challenges and related business and economic policy issues.

The Techdirt team is also pretty savvy when it comes to spotting an opportunity for clever promotional products that, in their way, augment the blog's brand and help it to raise funds to support its mission.

Case-in-point: Government Attic recently filed a Freedom of Information Request that resulted in the release of posters the National Security Agency (NSA) made in the 1950s and 60s to remind employees about security. After Techdirt got feedback about the posters, they decided to reproduce the prints on T-Shirts, hooded sweatshirts and coffee mugs. The branded merchandise has been on offer in the blog's swag store on Teespring. All profits from sales of the merch support Techdirt's ongoing reporting on copyright, technology and innovation.

A Techdirt T-Shirt based on an old NSA security poster. See this print on a mug and hoodie here.

The use of once classified information as swag is a nice match for the Techdirt brand. After all, the blog is focused on journalistic digging – on delving deep to uncover the real roots of important issues at the intersection of technology, business and related economics.

Also, quite honestly, the merch is cool in a retro way that we dig. Check out a few examples below.

See this print on a T-Shirt and hoodie here.

See this print on a T-Shirt and mug here.

See this print on a T-Shirt and hoodie here.

See this print on a hoodie and mug here.

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