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Walk into any office or lobby and chances are you will find an imprinted coffee mug, pen, notepad, or desk accessory. All of these items have been distributed in the hopes that the company who left them will be remembered. After all, any sales rep worth their salt will tell you to “be memorable” in a professional way when calling on customers or new prospects. One way to do this is to leave an interesting promotional item behind. A brochure or flyer is fine, but easier to throw away than something more tangible.
The promotional products industry is made up of suppliers and distributors. The supplier manufacturers or imports the item and generally offers imprinting of your logo, tagline or slogan. There are about 4000 suppliers/manufacturers or promotional products. Distributors are the sales representatives of the industry, and there are nearly 20,000 of these companies in the U.S. Generally, those wishing to purchase promotional items must go through a promotional products distributor and not through a manufacturer or supplier directly.
Most companies purchase and use promotional products. The sheer volume of choices can be overwhelming. Your distributor sales rep can help to sort through all of the details, and furnish you with research. There are over 700,000 items available for imprint. What are they buying? A recent study conducted by The Counselor magazine, a promotional products industry trade journal, says shirts are the largest seller, by far. Polo’s, t-shirts, and button-downs are all available for imprint. I personally have four or five polo’s I was given at golf outings and trade shows. Check your closet. I’ll bet you have at least one logo shirt. The next big seller is writing instruments followed by desk/office accessories. Glassware and ceramics, including mugs, and hats round out the top five.
The top selling promotional products make up for most of the purchases, but some companies are effectively using unique items in their marketing campaigns. One example of a creative promotional item is the black coffee mug with a write on erasable chalkboard finish. This mug can be drawn on, erased just like any chalk board and used again. This is a clever item and a fantastic promotion!
The most important thing to remember when deciding which promotional product to purchase and use is the product itself is less important than how it will be used. This is a very important concept. Something as simple as a pencil can be extremely effective when used in a meaningful way. Promotional products are used to achieve objectives. You needn’t look any further than Staples and their Easy Button to find a highly successful promotional concept.
Another good idea to keep in mind is the good, better, best concept. Pens, for example, range from about 30¢ for a basic stic or click pen to $20 or more for a Cross Classic Century pen, and all the way up to hundreds of dollars for the finest Mont Blanc or Waterman pen. All can be had with your logo. Higher priced items are often available in smaller quantities while less expensive items may need to be purchased in minimum quantities of 300 or more.
You can save a lot of time, money and effort by asking yourself a few questions up front about how the item will be used. What message am I trying to convey? How does the product tie in to our marketing campaign?
What demographic will be targeted? Then, think about the details of the product. Ask yourself questions such as: What type of item do I want and how many do I need? What is my budget? When do I need the item in-hand? Do I have high quality digital artwork or do I need assistance? (Note on artwork: There is a dizzying array or details surrounding the preparation of artwork. If you are unsure, consult your promotional distributor. They can help with all of the details and requirements of the manufacturers and suppliers.) Ask these questions and you’ll end up with a successful promotion.
write by Mortimer