Promotional Products Best Practices 2019

Before getting into specific strategies for deploying your promotional products, you should step back for a moment and ask yourself why you’re using promotional products in the first place. The answer isn’t necessarily intuitively obvious. Some companies use promotional products primarily to increase their sales while other companies use promotional products to collect information on existing customers in order to remarket to them.

The Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo technically means “something for something” in Latin. In the context of promotional products, a kind of quid pro quo means that you’re prepared to offer prospects and customers one of your promotional products for a bit of information about themselves. A lot of companies have found success bringing higher-end promotional products like headphones to trade shows and providing those products to customers in exchange for more information about themselves, their preferences, and their buying habits.

This kind of exchange is attractive to customers because they get a new toy and your company gets two things – more information on current customers and prospects and, second, the chance to keep advertising through the promotional product that you gave out every time that the customer uses it. You don’t go with a promotional product as pricey as a new pair of headphones. Promotional giveaways at trade shows can work for a variety of promotional products like t-shirts and tote bags. You could further incentivize customers to provide you with more information about themselves by entering their name into a contest with an even bigger prize guaranteed to the winner.

Choose Quality Over Quantity

There’s a time and place for quantity over quality. At the very beginning of your business, it may make sense to favor quantity over quality in order to stimulate brand awareness and get the word out. That said, there’s the risk of associating your brand with cheap products that break easily, which you clearly don’t want. The line of work that your company is in will also play a role in whether you favor quantity over quality. A clothing company that only makes bespoke pieces for four or five figures would be doing itself a grave disservice by handing out cheap plastic pens.

While there’s certainly a threshold of quality that you don’t want to dip below, you should also factor in the expected lifespan of the promotional product that you hand out to customers. As examples, pens last for about six months as they tend to get lost or break. Calendars, on the other hand, should last customers for the entire year since they aren’t suffering the wear-and-tear damage of riding around in purses and car cup holders like promotional pens.

You can, therefore, afford to spend a few more cents on calendars because they last longer. Still, you’ll want to balance the added quality and expense that you’re putting into your longer-lasting promotional products by factoring in the number of impressions that respective products will garner for your company. Pens might be cheaper, but they don’t have to be so cheap that they cast a negative light on your company. Think creatively here – a promotional product like a keychain will be used by customers longer than a pen, all things being equal, and won’t get lost as often because the customer has their keys attached to the end of it.

Consider Your Audience

This point has already been alluded to in the sense that certain high-end companies will do a disservice to themselves by putting out cheap promotional products. Conversely, a service company could greatly distinguish itself from the local competition by spending a few more cents per item on their promotional products. The fact remains, though, that a promotional product that’s not aligned with your customers is going to have a limited utility. Promotional products that don’t align with your customers’ values will get stowed away or thrown away outright.

If you know that your target audience is a bit more tech savvy, then you might want to hand out something that they’ll find especially useful. Flash drives and mouse pads can make a lot of sense here. Handing out promotional products that don’t align with your customers’ value and lifestyles shows that your company hasn’t done its research or, worse yet, that you really don’t care. The bottom line is that your marketing dollar goes much further when you hand out useful promotional items since those will be used more and, therefore, generate thousands more impressions for your brand: a win-win.

~Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for Coastal Business Supplies. She often produces content for a variety of promotional blogs.