For many businesses, the use of promotional products is commonplace. Whether it’s branded pens for the sales team, customised silicone wristbands as a customer freebie or custom printed bags for their members, promotional products are used for a variety of purposes. The problem is, many company’s are buying absolute junk that could be hurting their brand rather than enhancing it.
To better understand the effect of purchasing the wrong type of promotional product, let’s look at the three main motivations for branding products with a logo or message.
Motivation 1: Adding value to an existing product or service
This may include items included within a membership pack; the membership to the gym, for instance, is the main product, the branded water bottle and towel are aiming to simply add value to the existing service.
Motivation 2: Enhancing exposure of their brand with the goal of generating business/enquiries
Very common; think of promotional packs given out at exhibitions, the branded coffee mug your real estate agent dropped at your house, the thundersticks handed out at the footy or the custom dog lead your vet gave you last appointment. All these are designed to get a brand ‘out there’. The choice of promotional product will also be guided by the target market.
Motivation 3: Selling products as an item of merchandise
Of course, many promotional items are purchased purely with the goal of reselling them. This is especially true at high volume places such as larger events, tourist attractions and resorts; places where people are ready and willing to splash the cash on a branded hat or stubby cooler to mark the occasion and remember their time.
Given the importance of the three motivations and objectives above, all focusing on brand, customers, exposure, surely it is a given that a company would take some time and effort to really consider WHAT type of promotional product will best meet their goals? Sadly, this is not always the case.
How NOT to approach promotional products
It is a concern when the brief from a customer is “we need something really cheap to put in our gift bag”. Yes, budget is important, but don’t buy promotional products for the sake of buying promotional products. You’re better of saving the money and spending it on something else entirely that will provide a suitable return on your investment.
The wrong promotional items will hurt your brand, the same as a promotion not being aligned to your business will. Would a fitness centre give out a coupon to McDonalds as a signing on bonus? Hopefully not! In the same way, a promotional product must align with your brand and your target market.
If you’re targeting pensioners, a branded iPhone case is not the right approach, and will alienate your target market. Likewise, a branded beach towel for your customers in Tasmania will not be as effective and/or relevant as when given to your customers in Noosa.
The wrong promotional product will confuse the recipient and reflect poorly on your brand.
How to spend money on promotional items
As with any marketing spend, it is important that the targets and goals of the spend are determined. Your objective may be tangible and easily measured; if so, determine the KPI for the campaign and then ensure accurate recording takes place. Knowing whether a campaign worked well provides excellent intelligence that can be used when planning the next campaign.
A good example of this is printing a QR code on a promotional product, i.e. a branded drawstring bag given out to prospective fitness club members at a shopping centre. A QR code is best described as a square shaped barcode that can be scanned by Smartphone’s. When scanned, they direct the user to a web page where they may be provided a discount on something (perhaps a gym membership), or to a newsletter subscribe page, or a Facebook profile. By measuring the number of succession conversions on these pages (new members, new newsletter subscriptions, new followers on Facebook), you’ll have a strong idea of how well the campaign has gone.
For many promotional item campaigns, the success of the campaign is not specifically tangible. For example, handing out custom silicone wristbands in exchange for donations to a charity. The charity will not know the effect of these wristbands directly, but undertake the activity on the presumption that the wristband achieves two things: a) it provides the donor with recognition of their donation and b) the wristband will be noted by other people, friends and family, perhaps resulting in them also donating money to the charity.
So by knowing the goals of the spend, and potentially being able to record these, wiser decisions can be made as to the effectiveness of different products.
The second stage is to answer one simple question. Will the products in question be used, or will it be relegated to a drawer/the bin within the same day? This is the key element to determine. If the product serves a longer term purpose, and is of a sufficient quality, it will be used repeatedly and for a long time, providing much more exposure for the brand and the message being communicated.
The AAC Approach to Promotional Products
As a company that has supplied promotional items for many years, AAC ID Solutions works with its customers using a very simple framework, with our goal being to ensure that the customer is receiving the best bang for their buck. The last thing AAC wants to see is a wasted budget spent on products that fall in to the traps listed above.
Step 1: Nail down the motivation for the purchase of promotional items; what are we trying to achieve and how quickly.
Step 2: What is the target market for these promotional products; who are we trying to reach
Step 3: What is the budget for the campaign/purchase
Step 4: What are the ‘non negotiables’ with regards the artwork, it’s use of colour and it’s size
From here AAC will propose products that will meet the needs of the campaign/objective.
Talk to AAC ID Solutions today about your need for promotional products.
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