What promotional products really work?
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makes a promotional product
effective, and why are some promotional products successful, while others are a
waste of your marketing budget dollars, never resulting in a lead or sale and
often just ending up in the trash? The answer to this question is that there are
three common sense characteristics that define promotional products that work.
1. YOUR PROMOTIONAL PRODUCT MUST BE USEFUL!
Hand out an item that people need and can actually use. If you leave in Minnesota,
handing out plastic windshield ice scrapers during the winter makes sense, but it
doesn't make sense to do that in Hawaii. More specifically, you need to know who
your target market is, and if they might have a specific need. If you're
targeting auto mechanics, then a spark-plug gap checker would make sense, but
said gap checker wouldn't be much use if your target market is
stay-at-home-moms. In a more general sense, your promotional item just has to
be needed period. And how many earth-shaped squishy stress balls do we really need? It can be
challenging, but it is essential... you must come up with a item that your target
market can use and would keep.
2. YOUR PROMOTIONAL PRODUCT MUST ACTUALLY WORK AND NOT
BREAK/FAIL (QUALITY MATTERS)!
It should be obvious, but based on the number of promotional items I've
gotten in the past that have broken or stopped working almost immediately and then
ended up in the trash, what should be obvious isn't. Since you're giving your
promotional item away for free, it's obvious you don't want to spend a lot of
money on each item. But whatever you decide on, you need to pay enough to make
sure it works. A few years ago, LED flashlights were all the rage for
promotional giveaways, especially at trade shows. I collected several, but they
all burned out or stopped working within weeks. What's the point of having a
flashlight that doesn't work? Talk about getting left in the dark! All a
worthless promotional item does is reflect poorly on the company that
puts their promotional marketing message on it. Make sure you get samples and
evaluate any promotional product and/or vendor that you are thinking of using.
3. YOUR PROMOTIONAL PRODUCT SHOULD BE RELATED TO WHAT
YOU DO, AND SERVE AS A NOT-SO-SUBTLE SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE OF HOW YOU CAN HELP!
If at all possible, the best promotional products are those that remind
people of what you do. A case in point - many years ago at a machinery trade
show, I got a bright blue anodized aluminum beer bottle opener that I could
attach to my keychain. It has the anodizing company's name and website on it.
Every time I use it, I'm reminded of who I would use (and have used) if I need
to get any aluminum anodizing done.
If your promotional item isn't specifically related to what you do, then another
option is to make it just-plain-awesome. In other words, come up with a
promotional item with wow-factor, which will have people saying, "That's cool.
Where did you get it?" In fact, I'll give you an absolutely-free awesome idea...
the railroad spike beer bottle opener (see picture below). I made one by hand, and it's cool. You
just need to get some old, abandoned railroad spikes (don't pull them out of a
functioning railroad!) and put a notch in them like the picture. It took me
about half an hour with a drill press, and hacksaw, and a file, to make my
bottle opener, and I stopped after making two of them. If I could figure out an easier way to make them, I would. In the
meantime, you can steal my idea. Make the railroad spike openers, and then stamp
or engrave your company name and marketing message on them. If you want to be
really fancy, you can chrome plate them. Hand them out as
trade show giveaways or promotional
items, and I promise you, they will be popular. Anytime I offer a guest my spike
for the first time to open their beer
bottle, it always starts a conversation. It's not uncommon for the
conversation to not only be about how good the spike is for opening a beer, but
also how one could defend their beer if needed with said
heavy spike. The railroad spike beer bottle opener... It's. Just. Cool.
a one-of-a-kind handmade railroad spike beer bottle opener
(and personal defense weapon)
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