Monday, August 2, 2010

Six Typical Mistakes When Buying Promotional Imprinted Products

It's been proven in study after study that customized promotional items are one the most effective ways of marketing. Most businesses, whether large or small, have used some type of advertising specialty at one time or another. A big majority of those companies have realized the benefits of promotional products & have appreciated how economical & effective this form of advertising is because it directly reaches their targeted audience.

Yet, as in all other fields, there is a small percentage of business men or women who feel it is not advantageous for them to invest in these products. It probably has nothing to do with using promotional items in general, but more to do with how they marketed them or what products they bought.

Here are six of the most common pitfalls you should be aware of before you invest in promotional custom products.

1. Wrong item for your target audience. This is a huge mistake that a lot of business owners make. Make sure you know who your recipients are & what their needs are. Mouse pads are great promotional items but they are the wrong thing for the elderly in an assisted living facility. A deck of cards, a bookmark or a pillbox that is divided & acts as a daily reminder would be more appreciated. Find out if they are physically active. If so, then a pedometer might work. Believe it or not, gum is a good thing for a dentist to give out as long as it is sugarless. If the target audience is a conglomerate, then pens, note pads & coffee mugs are among the items that appeal to a diverse crowd. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised at how many people order an item because they like & they don't consider who it's going to.

2. Not identifying an objective for your campaign. What exactly do you want to achieve with your purchase of promotional items? Are you going for brand awareness & to increase your sales? Are you trying to promote a grand opening, a fund-raiser or a sporting event? Do you want to draw people to your trade show booth or are you using them in a seminar? Are these gifts to thank your loyal customers? These are crucial questions you must ask yourself before you buy promotional wholesale products. You need to define your targeted audience & your goal in distributing these.

3. Buying a cheap product. You've heard this saying: "you get what you pay for". It's especially true for the promotional items you give out. Don't buy a twenty cent pen & expect people to jump up & down with excitement. Especially when your competitor gave them a great pen just a week ago. A cheap item like that pen is likely to skip when writing, smear & maybe not even write at all. It will end up in the trash while the fifty cent pen is on the desk & being used. All you've done is wasted your money & given the consumer a bad taste about your company. They'll associate your products or service as cheap & useless just like the pen they threw out.

4. Being stingy. This is a favorite & something I don't understand. I have customers who buy promotional imprinted products all the time, but never give them out. Sometimes their sales reps are too lazy or they "forgot". But usually the items are stored in a closet & "saved" for "special people" or "special occasions". Unless you're going to invite the public to rummage through your closet, you won't get company recognition with the promotions you invested in. You've spent money on them, so now let them go to work for you & advertise your business. The average promotional item is viewed by many more people than just the recipient. Therefore, one product is a powerful marketing tool & can be seen in multiple locations.

5. No contact information. Having just your logo printed on items without contact information like your website, email or phone number is not usually recommended unless you're a national company that is recognized by your logo. Your letter opener or note pad should not be a guessing game.

6. Too much printed information. I've come across this so many times. Often someone will want their company name & logo along with a tagline, street & email address, website, fax & phone number. Unless you're planning on purchasing note pads, mouse pads or tote bags, you won't have room for all this information. Your business name, phone number & website--maybe an email address, if there's room--is sufficient on most customized promotional items. Do you really need a fax number or zip code on a pen or paper clip holder?

These simple, but costly mistakes can be avoided by using an experienced & qualified advertising specialties who has the ability to make your next marketing campaign a successful one. I hope this will help you find the promotional items that are right for your business.


Ronni Sherman


  1. I wish you would have written this last fall!

  2. You should post this once a month.

  3. Wonderful information...Thank you.

  4. Ronni, I notice you have a lot of anonymous comments. In case you're wondering they could be from companies like mine that are large and even though they promote the idea of us reading blogs, they don't want any comments written to be associated with their company. For logical reasons.
    I've read a few of your posts and find your advise is worthy of any company's attention when it comes to promotional products. This, in particular, is an excellent article & Todd Frank is correct when he says it should be posted once a month.
    Keep writing and I'll keep reading. I won't be making comments since I have to it anonymously.