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Promotional Giveaways: How to choose the right items

By: Jennifer Johnstone

Jennifer Johnstone is an experienced promotions professional. After seven years as Director of Promotions for an insurance company, she now runs Design Central, a marketing communications firm that provides desktop publishing and writing services for sales and marketing collateral.

How many refrigerator magnets, pens and letter openers does a person need?  Getting your company's logo to customers via promotional items can be effective, but you need to be creative!

The first step in choosing the right giveaway is to identify your target market.  Are your potential customers professionals?  If so, you may want to skip the frisbees and balloons and opt for something they can use, such as a notepad or travel mug.

The second factor to keep in mind is your company's image.  Do you really want your name to be associated with a fuzzy, googly-eyed refrigerator magnet?  Tie the item in with what you do; for example, a landscaper may consider handing out seed packets with their name and phone number on the package.  A realtor may give keychains to their customers to use with their new house keys.  An insurance agent may hand out fire safety booklets (useful, if not fun).

Other considerations when choosing promotional items include the obvious: cost. You may find that you want to spend less on prospective customers but reward loyal customers with something a bit more substantial.

The forum in which you give out promotional items makes a difference as well.  If you plan to send them in the mail, weight and durability are of utmost concern.  Likewise, if you only plan to give something out a few times a year, steer clear of items such as candy, which will become stale before it's all gone!

The most important thing is to be creative!  A potential customer is more likely to remember a company that gave them something useful or original than one who gave them yet another pen!

© Copyright 2000 Jennifer Johnstone. All rights reserved.

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