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24 11, 2009

How To Effectively Use Promotional Products

By | November 24th, 2009|Promotional Products|Comments Off on How To Effectively Use Promotional Products

One of the most tried and true tools of marketing and advertising is the use of promotional products. From inexpensive pens to t-shirts, promotional products are a great way to get your name into the hands of potential customers. When planning your approach to promotional marketing, it is important to develop a marketing strategy to correctly utilize promotional products and maximize results. Choosing a Promotional Products DistributorBefore choosing a promotional product, first you need to choose a distributor. With hundreds of distributors to choose from, it’s important to identify the right fit for your needs. One of the most important things to remember is to avoid companies that just want to push you a promotional product. Commissioned sales representatives are often simply out to make a sale – your purchase equals their paycheck! When you purchase promotional products from a promotional company that uses a team approach, you’ll find they are more interested in helping you find the promotional product that truly fits your needs, not just the promotional product that will give them higher commission checks.After choosing your distributor, make sure that they understand your brand and needs. Don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you’re looking for or to ask for help. A good promotional product specialist is never afraid to research promotional products and ideas to find the right fit for your needs. From brainstorming to price negotiations, a dedicated account management team is your best source for finding unique promotional products at the best price.Developing a Long-Term Strategy for Use of Promotional ProductsYou should always keep in mind that the use of promotional products is most beneficial when paired with a long-term promotional marketing strategy. Although you may only use a promotional product once, when that product is paired with subsequent marketing efforts and future promotions, you leave a longer-lasting impression on your clients. When designing your promotional marketing strategy, first look at your brand and corporate image. Which promotional products are most appropriate to convey your identity? Is there a certain image or feel you want to present to the recipients of your promotional product? This is a great time to address your specific needs and plans with your account team. With access to a nearly unlimited number of promotional products, they can help you choose the perfect promotional product for your needs. Identifying Your Target DemographicNext you will need to identify your target audience and demographics. It’s important to evaluate who the recipients of your promotional product will be. For example, at a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Georgia State University needed to develop a full marketing strategy for the week-long festivities. They needed banners, print collateral and promotional products to distribute to students. To fit their target demographic, their marketing campaign included imprinted GumPaks™, molded chocolates and print collateral to distribute around campus. Georgia State’s end decision to choose candy for their promotional products was perfect for their target demographic of students. By analyzing your end recipients and finding a promotional product that will be useful to them, you maximize exposure of your brand and corporate initiatives.Usage of Your Promotional ProductLastly, what do you plan to use your promotional products for? The individual promotional product you choose should be based on the several factors already discussed along with the type of event or promotion. The event will almost always determine your budget and type of promotional product. A promotional product for a tradeshow is usually something that draws attention to your booth, thereby drawing attention to your name and services. Using a fun, eye-catching promotional product such as a light-up yo-yo will be entertaining for recipients, and the promotional product will likely stay in their possession for months to come. While a yo-yo might work great for a tradeshow, a more upscale promotional product would be better for a potential million-dollar client. A leather brief bag, digital photo frame or large holiday gift basket would be a more appropriate promotional product for a client at that level. Your choice of promotional product will vary greatly depending on the situation and your target audience.Developing a strategy to effectively utilize your promotional products is the best way to maximize your return. Promotional products are a budget friendly way to get thousands of advertising exposures. By following these tips when developing your strategy, you will effectively use your promotional products to grow your brand.

3 11, 2009

Online Buying Strategies For Promotional Products

By | November 3rd, 2009|Promotional Products|Comments Off on Online Buying Strategies For Promotional Products

Navigating the treacherous waters of the Internet to buy promotional products can be daunting, however when done properly, this experience can save considerable time and money. Ten years ago, industry insiders would have never imagined that what has traditionally been a face-to-face, relationship-based sale, could actually be done seamlessly through the Internet. With the fast pace of today’s business world, and the scarcity of time and resources, the industry has shifted, and it is now faster and more efficient to buy promotional products right from your desktop. When researching potential vendors, your first question should be: Can I trust this company with my brand image and hard-earned dollars? The Internet is filled with sites that appear legitimate, but upon closer examination there may not be a phone number or general information about the company history and its resources. One easy way to answer the trust question is to make sure the company has a plentiful “About Us” page featured in a prominent area of their website, typically on the home page. A strong “About Us” page should also have current and accurate information about the owners and employees. Typically, family-run businesses will treat their employees as family members, which in turn will lead to better service, as they strive to make each client a member of their extended family. This mindset, instilled during employee training and ingrained into the corporate culture, ensures that a $500 sale is treated with as much attention to detail as a $5,000 sale. Another important area of concern is the personality and functionality of the website. Almost all of the websites in the ASI industry are third party, cookie cutter sites with limited merchandising and e-commerce functionality. Ask yourself the question: If this company were a brick and mortar retail store, would I want to shop there? Pay attention to the details. Is the store merchandised properly? Is it clean and easy to navigate? Can I find what I’m looking for? Is there sales staff attentive and service driven? You can even use Google Maps to confirm whether or not the company is truthful when boasting about its 25,000 square foot warehouse. Many times companies operate out of a run-down apartment building, or even a home garage. Promotional purchasers should look for an online company that features its USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and showcases its competitive advantages since many of the sites offer little differentiation. Similarly to the offline world, the site should look like a professional, well-run boutique or department store. The companies that feature unique departments or “quick links” and offer sale sections, and new and unique items are the ones that have internal marketing and IT departments. These companies are focused on creating an exciting and individualized experience for the shopper. Furthermore, these companies will have a team of product merchandisers that are laser-focused on filling the needs of the user whether it is by product category, theme, or industry. These merchandisers also spend a considerable amount of time searching for the most exciting products at national and regional trade shows.One misconception about shopping on the Internet is that the only factor worth searching for is the lowest price. While shopping online will usually yield lower prices than shopping offline, consumers need to be sure that they are not blinded by price alone. Although price is obviously very important, the purchaser should be focused on the bigger picture of developing a long-term relationship with their vendor. A well-run promotional products company will assign an experienced account manager that serves as an extension of your marketing team. The entire buying experience should include a consultative review focused on needs assessment and expectations to make sure that products fit your brand image and price point. An experienced account manager will be committed to your account and will be proactive in anticipating your needs for new and unique ideas, whether for upcoming trade shows or other corporate events. Sometimes it is well worth paying a slight premium to work with the upper echelon of web-based promotional companies. Order accuracy and attention to detail will be a high priority for well-run companies, and you should notice it right from the start. The company that you have developed a strong relationship with will jump to the rescue if you have forgotten to order items two days before your trade show, or if your CEO tells you, last minute, that she needs high-end gifts for an upcoming golf trip.Last, but certainly not least is that the strongest promotional companies will have a well-defined guarantee located prominently on their site and on all communications so that if something does go wrong, they replace the product or refund your money with no questions asked. Buying promotional products online can be a wonderful experience if you pay attention to the subtle cues located on a company’s website in conjunction with your own intuition once you start the communication process.