Saturday, February 19, 2011

Promotional Wholesale Products Study Shows Advertising Specialties Still To Be A #1 Marketing Tool

In the last quarter of 2010, The Advertising Specialty Institute released the results of a study that showed customized promotional items are still the most cost-effective way of marketing your business.

The study was conducted through in-person interviews with individuals in eight different cities in the United States, Canada, England & Australia. Detailed questions were asked regarding various promotional products that they received recently.

Here is a summary of the conclusions:

1. Cost Per Impression: The cost per impression for promotional items remained unchanged--or showed very little change--in 2010, compared to 2008 & when compared to other forms of media, promotional imprinted products were more affordable & more effective. This just goes to show you that marketing your business with promotional products is much less expensive & more effective than using print or television ads. I am in no way recommending to use only promotional items to market your company......integrated marketing using advertising specialties along with other media is extremely important.

2. Product Usage: Bags were revealed as the highest number of impressions per month, making it one of the most effective marketing products available. Although their prices may be higher than other customized promotional items, they are much more effective in marketing your business. They have a high perceived value which means they tend to stick around more & be used more often. Another study by the Advertising Specialties Institute shows ONE bag will be used approximately 10 times a month & be seen by 1,038 people. That's pretty impressive--now multiply that by all the bags ordered & given out that month.

3. Gender Usage: Males were more likely to keep shirts & caps while females were more likely to keep bags, pens, notepads, and health, beauty & safety items. By knowing this information, you can make smarter decisions when buying promotional products. When distributing your marketing items, it is extremely important to know who your target audience is to get the desired results & full benefits from your advertising campaign.

4. Ability To Identify The Advertiser: 84% indicated they could identify the business on a promotional product they owned. More than 75% of the recipients have had their promotional imprinted products for an average of 7 months. This is, of course, the reason you do marketing......for company identity. That recipient may not be ready to make a purchase that day, but if you give out a useful item then your business name will stay in view. In the future when they need  your product or services they will call you over a competitor. Company recognition is a definite necessity for business growth & success.

5. Ability To Influence User Opinions: 42% of the respondents indicated their opinion of the advertiser was more favorable after receiving the promotional custom product. 62% of the respondents said they have done business with the advertiser after receiving their promotional products. Business today is tough. We all have multiple competitors so we have to stay one step ahead of the competition. Everyone loves getting something for free (as long as it is useful), so giving out promotional items will keep your company favorable among your targeted audience.

These were only some of the results. This landmark study from the Advertising Specialty Institute proves ad specialties were far more effective than prime-time TV, radio & print advertising. The full results for the Promotional Product Study is available online.

Promotional items are the most cost-effective advertising medium available. They provide measurable results for a minimum investment. They provide real impact in a creative way.

I hope this year proves to be a profitable & successful one for you.
Ronni Sherman 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why Use A Distributor For Promotional Imprinted Products?

You can Google a product you're interested in on the web, yourself, & find the manufacturer. Doing this you'll feel you made great strides in your marketing plan & that you saved money. But are you sure you saved money? I believe you'll lose money & time, not to mention your marketing campaign may not go the way you thought it would.

I've heard so many sob stories from people, mainly new customers, who bought directly & were sorry later. They were stuck because the company they bought from had no interest in them or their problems once they had their money.

Here are a few of the actual complaints that were told to me.  Pens......they quit writing within a short time of receipt; they had a very limited choice of fonts or the client didn't like how the type looked on his pen--too small or hard to read; the grips left their fingers feeling sticky. Want to hear more......the sharp blades fell out of the letter openers (ouch!); tops didn't fit on the water bottles or the copy rubbed off as they were using them; bags tore after only being used once. My favorite: copy on the sticky notes wasn't centered & the customer didn't know to ask for a proof.

When you buy a pen or any other customized promotional product, you're not just buying the item--you're buying advertising that is telling the public what your business is & what it stands for. Would you tell a consumer that you have nothing more than the next guy to offer or to buy from you because you're cheap & nothing else matters? No, you definitely would not, so don't say it on what you hand out. Your competition doesn't.

Contrary to belief, dealing with a distributor when buying your promotional imprinted products won't cost you any more. Their prices are the same, if not less, than what you found on the web. But they know the quality of the vendors in the field & they know how to find specials that will really save  you money. With this in mind, here are more reasons to go through a distributor:

1. Good distributors go beyond selling promotional items.  Successful promotional campaigns don't just happen by chance. To achieve your goals, buying promotional wholesale products take alot of consideration: your targeted audience, the best product for your budget & the ultimate result to be gained. A distributor is aware of this & will work with you to get the result you want.

2. Professional distributors have access to vast product resources, including an extensive data base which contains more than 500,000 items. Yes, you can find a mug online; but a distributor can find hundreds of mugs in a multitude of colors, sizes, shapes, materials & those that are on sale. What if you ordered what you thought was a maroon mug but when it came it was actually more purple than dark red? Is it worth the savings if you get the mugs & they are so breakable due to inferior materials that they are virtually unusable? 

3. Distributors know their products including items that work & ones that don't. They can add creativity & imagination to make your promotional product have that extra impact. Many online services show you the products they want to sell while a qualified distributor will listen to what you want & help you find the right product for your needs--& at the best price.

4. Personalized service is the role of a good distributor. When going online your selection is what the internet company determines to make available. When you work with a distributor, your selection is determined by your needs & goals. That's enhanced by the experience, creativity & recommendations of the distributor who has your best interests at heart. Online, you're a faceless, nameless buyer. With a distributor you're a client & should have a working relationship with this dealer that will be vital to your marketing campaigns. He should act as your own personal shopper, giving you service along with ideas & the best prices. 

5. Industry distributors can offer experienced advise on & IF to imprint items. You may have found the flashlight you want, but will your logo stand out on it? Will it be recognizable? Some things just won't work or there might be something else that will work better. Once you find the item you want, a trained specialist can work with you to accurately transfer your artwork, including fonts, sizes, spacing & many other important factors. Besides working with you, they deal with the vendor to make sure your copy is clean & your layout fits properly in the space provided.

6. Trained distributors can save you money in the long run. I mentioned earlier thow they can find special discounts on may items. It's not just the cost of the product, it goes further because there's additional costs you have to take into consideration when deciding on a budget. In a generic catalog or or the internet, many times the price you see does not cover the "hidden" costs involved--set-up fees, copy changes, charges for exact color matches, shipping, etc. A good distributor can help you avoid unexpected & unbudgeted costs by quoting the total price up-front. 

Next time you want to purchase a marketing item with  your name & logo on it, avoid finding something "cheap" & "fast" on the internet. Call a reputable distributor. They  know what you buy & hand out represents your company & will help you put your best foot forward with the promotional custom products you choose.

I hope this helps & good luck with your next promotional campaign.
Ronni Sherman

Monday, February 7, 2011

7 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying Customized Promotional Items

Many times a potential customer will tell me he doesn't use promotional products because "they just don't work." The statement couldn't be further from the truth. They do work--just look around you. All the big companies use them......HP, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Delta Airlines, Pizza Hut, NBC, Lexus & the list goes on. But it's not just the large corporations; the small local businesses in your town also take advantage of these because they've seen how effective marketing items can be.

It's been proven in study after study that promotional custom products leave a lasting impression & that they have the ability to stay visible longer than any other form of advertising. This is one of the best ways to obtain company recognition.

So why hasn't imprinted marketing products worked for you? It's not the items that haven't worked, it's most likely the product that was sold to you wasn't effective. Either the item didn't represent your company or it was the wrong one for your targeted audience. Or is it still sitting in a box hidden in a storage closet?

Here are seven questions to ask yourself the next time you purchase promotional wholesale products:

Does my customer need this product? This is the most important question to ask. Will your customers use this item you're going to give them or will it be hidden in a drawer or on a closet shelf? Worse yet, will it even be kept or will it eventually be thrown out because it was useless? Make sure whatever you hand out will be used on a regular basis, otherwise it won't work to your advantage.

Would I be happy to receive this product? This is similar to the one above, but ask yourself this anyway because it will help you filter out cheap items or ones that don't look good.  Select only promotional items you'd like to receive.

Does this item reflect my company & what it offers? The promotional imprinted products you are going to give should be relevant to your own products & service and at the same time be useful to the recipient. If you are in the tourism industry, then luggage tags are an idea for your targeted audience. Another useful & needed item would be the plastic bags TSA requires for all liquids--this has a large space for your logo & agency information. And if there's a problem enroute, your contact info is within reach.

How will the products look once they're customized with my company logo & name? Select advertising specialties that have the space to show your logo, name & contact information easily & clearly. This should not be a guessing game nor should it be an autobiography. Also think of the colors you are using as part of your brand. They should be incorporated into your promotional items because it's part of your identity.

Are the products reliable? Nobody likes something that stops working after a few days, even if they are getting it for free. Make sure the customized promotional items you are giving out are of good quality so that people can rely on them & create a positive image about your business. Realize this above all else......promotional products will reflect your company & what you stand for. Don't let that pen or cubicle clip say you don't care about quality.

Are these products unique? Research your competitors & don't select the same thing they are using. Try to think out of the box & opt for something different so that you can stand out easily from your competition. Even a common pen can be unique......there are gels, highlighters, eco-friendly pens, pens where your logo floats in the barrel. Or if you're a vet, pet groomer or dog trainer, how about a chip bag clip in the shape of an animal's paw?

Do you want your product to be identified with a current trend? If you're a local business appealing to people in your area, you might want to give out two messages......your own advertising your company & another showing you care about what's important in the community. Eco-friendly products would help you identify yourself as someone caring about the future of our environment. Is there a drive towards cancer awareness or improved education in your town? It's a good idea to become involved & let people connect to you on an emotional level--then they'll remember you when they need your product or service.

Please don't blindly order a pen, note pad or clipboard with your logo on it without doing some research first. Don't put yourself with the small minority who thinks promotional custom products don't work because they DO work & they can work for you.

Good luck with your next order.
Ronni Sherman