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Using Promotional Products Effectively

Using promotional products is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways that a business can directly reach it’s target market. But, as with any type of marketing, using promotional products as a tactic is only effective if it’s implemented properly. In this post we discuss how to use promotional products effectively in your business.

For businesses operating on a tight budget, investing time in selecting the right products and identifying the right recipients is time well spent. Although direct marketing and promotional products are not generally considered together, using promotional products is not only one of the most effective direct marketing tactics but because they can be laser targeted to exactly the recipients you choose, there is no waste.

When considering the use of branded products, there are 3 main factors that need to be considered: These include your target audience; your method of distribution; and the items to be selected.

1. Your Target Audience

First and foremost, it’s important to identify who to target. Using promotional products can be effective, when you reach the right people, in other words, those people who are most likely to actually make use of your services or can heavily influence decision makers. The recipients you choose could be existing clients, potential clients your business is calling on, people in your networks or if you’re attending an event, there may be an attendee list you could scrutinize in advance.

2. Distributing Branded Merchandise & Corporate Gifts

When considering the distribution of promotional products there are several options: via mail, which is also known in the direct marketing business as “lumpy mail” and has the added benefit of generating curiosity, therefore it gets the attention of the recipient; Another great option is to give the item personally to the recipient as a gift; as part of the personal selling process; at trade shows; or for cheaper items, to allow event attendees to take them for themselves.

3. Selecting the Right Items

Selecting the right promotional items is somewhat of an art but there are a few guidelines that can be followed. Possibly one of the most desirable attributes of giving a promotional item it the length of time the item is kept by the recipient.

Research by Robert Cialdini and others have found that the more useful and remarkable a gift is, the more likely it will be kept for a long time. The author of this article once received an expensive pen from an engineering company which she kept for 11 years. The pen served as a reminder of the great experience of buying a very expensive piece of equipment and contributed to the goodwill established by the vendor for a very long time afterwards. Looking back, it is clear that the engineering company put a lot of effort into building a strong and lasting relationship in which both companies benefited. The pen was presented with a smile, as though it was a gift from a dear friend, in an encounter that was memorable (it was given over 2 decades ago!) and had a lot of impact. Although it’s not necessary to invest in expensive items, the marketing objectives need to be taken into account.

Another desirable attribute is that the item be useful. The more useful the item is, the more likely it is to be used and serve as a daily reminder of your business and the importance you place on the relationship. The most coveted locations for your promotional products are on the person, on their desk or in a placed where it is used or seen regularly. It’s worth considering what’s important to the recipient, their interests, hobbies, activities and so on and choosing something in line with what they find valuable, so that they use it often. For example, a mug in the shape of a camera lens might be a great gift for photographers.

Many SMEs have found that using promotional products to help promote their business and generate goodwill is a simple, affordable and flexible approach to influencing the people who are important to the business. And done well can deliver outstanding results – check out some of the research carried out by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).

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