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Selecting the Perfect Promotional Marketing Product

By: Cindy Carrera

Cindy Carrera is a freelance creative author who's written numerous articles about promotional items including: and

People are known to shop on impulse--buying an item just because it is on sale, or purchasing something because it looks great in the store. When shopping for promotional items, you really can't succumb to impulses. Instead, you must carefully decide on an item that will help meet your objectives.

A career school admissions representative who worked with the high school market once wanted to buy magnets to give to people. Although magnets were in the budget, they would not really do the job of spreading the word among other high school students, as the magnets would be at home on the fridge where maybe a handful of other students would see. A better idea was to give out day planners (only to enrolled students) that they could carry to school everyday where hundreds of classmates could see. "Oh- that's where I'm going to school after graduation" they would say when asked about the school's name on the planner. Rachel, the rep, was hurt that the magnets she liked did not get ordered. But, Rachel does not have a marketing background and she didn't understand that these items served another purpose.

So, when ordering your items before you even browse the pages of catalogs or websites, you want to have some objectives in mind. You would not want to invest money in an item that doesn't match
the tactic. Think about these:
  • Do you want to stimulate trade show traffic?
  • Do you want to use these as sales aids?
  • Are these going to be premiums?
  • Are you introducing a new product/service?
  • Do you want to thank current customers?
  • Are these for an event giveaway?
  • Are these to motivate employees?
  • Are you trying to gain back lost business?
  • Are you trying to improve customer service?
  • Are these going to be used as gifts?
  • Are you using them to supplement a direct mail campaign?
These are just a few questions you will want to ask yourself. If you are looking to supplement a general direct mail campaign, you will want to keep postage costs in mind. Perhaps mailing a magnet, sticker, pocket calendar, pen or pencil would be something good to use. You would not want to mail a t-shirt or mug- that would be very pricey for the response rate of direct mail! If you are doing a campaign to target past customers or are just doing a smaller-gauge mailing, perhaps something a little bigger would work.

On the flipside, if you are looking at motivating employees, thanking customers, buying gifts or building premiums chances are you will want to budget more money per item. However, there is likely to be fewer items ordered. I don't think a pen would be ample to thank someone for years of service! Items for these categories would fall under desk supplies, plaques, acrylic awards, clocks, engraved items and more.

If you are using these items or sales purposes, perhaps if you have traveling sales people, you will want something that will be left behind to keep your name top of mind. Things like a note cube or coffee mug are things that can sit on a decision-makers desk for a long time.

If you are looking to promote your business at an event, such as a concert or festival, passing out t-shirts could be a great idea. You can easily tie t-shirts up in knots and throw them to the crowds. Lower ticket items for events could be things like pens, pencils, keychains, magnets, calendars, tape measures and more.

Finally, cost is something to keep in mind too. You don't want to spend the same amount on a prospect as you would on a loyal customer. Use this as a suggestion:
Under $5- Prospect

$5-$25- Reward

Over $25- Loyalty
The important thing here is that promotional items should not be ordered just because you like it. The item should clearly be in the plan to help meet your business objectives.

© copyright 2005, Cindy Carrera

Other Articles by Cindy Carrera

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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