Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Consumer's View Of Promotional Imprinted Products

The other day I was searching articles on the internet that would give a different slant to the importance of distributing promotional custom products in your business. I was reading various articles about specific promotional items hoping someone would divulge how a certain product worked for them in a unique way.

Then I found this post written by Dave Krygler--writer, publisher & a coach for people looking to start a small business. His article, Value Of Advertising Specialties, written on his blog states very simply why customized promotional items are so effective.

What makes his article so meaningful is he's not in the business of selling  promotional imprinted products He's a businessman who has received them & appreciates their value.

Here is the article from a recipient of promotional items:
It is my hope to open your eyes to the world of ad specialties & specifically coffee mugs. In my opinion, mugs are the best ad specialty to utilize because they sit on your client's or prospect's desk all day long. Whether you operate an on-line venture or traditional off-line store, it makes no difference. 
This is a really simple concept: use the mug or whatever ad specialty that you have to increase value, show appreciation & keep you in front of that prospect or client.
I'm a sucker for high quality ad specialties. Notice I said high quality. These are the ones that last for years. Some of my favorite jackets, hats & mugs were ones purchased while our family was on holiday.  Some were given to me as samples & some were ones that we were utilizing in our marketing.
Now the funny thing is that we are not in the ad specialty business so what I am sharing with you is unbiased, & in other words, we don't market & sell ad specialties. I have used them for years, & they have really helped us in three separate businesses.
With that said, I want to share three specific examples of how ad specialties have made an impact on me.
Example #1: Win--Recently, on a trip to the east coast I was talking with a sales executive who is a real fan of Honda. Now he doesn't work for Honda but is sold on the brand. The one thing that caught my attention was how passionate he was about all the Honda products he has purchased. Both he & his wife own Acura's. A few weeks after she purchased the vehicle, a package showed up from the manufacturer. In it was an emergency kit that conveniently fit in the back of the vehicle. Now this is way more than an ad specialty. It is showing that the factory cares about the safety of this customer should they ever be in need of the items that could possibly save a life or help the vehicle owner during a time of distress. What a great example of customer retention.
Example #2: Factory Failure--My personal experience is with Nissan. A few years ago, my wife & I purchased two new Nissan vehicles through our local dealer. After each sale was done we didn't receive boo; not even a $10 mug or baseball cap. To be very honest, I would have been very happy with a mug or two from Nissan. After all, we purchased over $55,000 worth of vehicles from them.  Nooooo, I had to purchase the mug. What kind of impression did this leave with me? You get the picture?
Example #3: Test Of Time--Sitting in our kitchen we have a mug that's 10 years old dating back to our retail & service business. I also have several mugs that are in the five-plus year-old range that get used all the time & look great. They are a constant reminder to me of the businesses that they are tied to. I also like the baseball hats & have a collection of those to go along with the mugs. The best quality mugs we have get used all the time.
Ok, so maybe you're still skeptical. You want to retain clients & turn your prospects into clients, right? This simple program is really about client retention & business expansion. If your mugs are of the highest quality & will last daily rounds in the sink & dishwasher, this will prove to your client & prospective that you believe in quality. So many small business owners penny-pinch & don't look at the long term. It's about relationships, folks. The silly little mug can be what bridges the relationship. You gave them something of value, high quality.
For clients: If you really feel like you connected with the client, then give them a mug with a gift card for their favorite coffee or tea. The mug will constantly remind them of the great experience they had with you.
For prospects: You give them something of value & high quality without asking for anything in return. This works especially well if you are in a business that has a long sales cycle or offers high ticket items. Another tip is if the spouse was involved in the sales process, then send them a mug too. Remember, it's all about relationships.
Dave said it all. Please let me know some of your experiences, good or bad, with promotional imprinted products that you either received as a consumer or distributed in your business.

Ronni Sherman

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Promotional Custom Products On TV

Customized promotional items work! Wherever there's a pen, note pad, water bottle or shopping bag with a company's name & logo on it, they'll be noticed......consciously or subconsciously, the business name will be seen & will register with someone. And the more it's seen, the more it will be recognized.

The idea is skyrocketing in movies & television shows. More now than ever before--which proves promotional custom products are very effective. Brands used to be hidden from the audience, but not anymore. Coke & Pepsi are blatantly shown on soda cans as well as a popular sport team's logo on a baseball cap worn by one of the actors. When a star is driving a certain car in a movie or on TV, at one point the cameras will focus on the make of the auto. Big companies are paying mega dollars for their brand & logo to flash before an audience.

Talk show hosts on late night TV or the hosts of the early morning news shows all have promotional coffee mugs with the logo of the network or the name of their show facing the camera so the audience will see it. You might even see this on your local news broadcasts.

How many times have you seen someone using a laptop on TV with the Apple logo clearly showing? That's not an accident or's product placement & a way for Apple to be seen & to boost their already brilliant image with the public.

Do you remember the sticom, Rosanne, starring Rosanne Barr? Food was as important as air in the episodes. Whenever they unpacked a grocery bag or took something out of the refrigerator or pantry, it definitely was from Ralph's grocery stores. Whether it was orange juice, potato chips or a box of cereal, the black stripe with the bold red letters spelling RALPH'S was turned towards the camera. This was not as common then as it is now.

In an episode of Law & Order, detectives Elliot Stabler & Olivia Benson were drinking from Starbucks coffee cups while walking to a crime scene. In another episode a victim was wearing a sweatshirt with the New York Yankees logo & that was predominant throughout the scene. This was subtle, yet very effective advertising for the team or else the actor would be wearing another sweatshirt.

On American Idol, the judges drink from red cups flashing the Coke logo for all to see.

The four fashionistas on Sex & The City, both the movie & the TV show, walk through the streets of Manhattan swinging shopping bags showing the logos of the boutiques where they shop.

In the future, brands & logos will be subtly placed in more programs than ever before whether it's displayed on a promotional imprinted product or it's product placement. This is the new trend in advertising. People no longer sit through an advertisement......this the time to get up & do a quick task or get something to eat......or don't get up--just reach for your laptop & search the internet for the 7 - 10 minutes the ads are running. Technology has made it possible for most of us to bypass the advertisements altogether.  No wonder big time television producers & Madison Avenue have united & formed a new way to get their message across to the public.

"The fact is brands are part of our lives & brands exist in these television environments, so why not showcase them?" said Ben Silverman, chief executive of Reveille, whose shows include NBC's The Office & Biggest Loser and USA's Nashville Star.  Logos of national companies can be seen in all three of these shows.

Some people will pick up on this form of advertising while others may think they don't even see it. You may not realize it buy your psyche is affected by these subtle images. This is the best form of brand adverting & the best use of advertising specialties.

Ok, let's be honest--your company's logo most likely won't make it to primetime TV, but you can get results by distributing promotional custom products advertising your business. Brand & logo recognition on a product does more to boost business & sales than any other form of advertising. If it wasn't so effective, the big companies wouldn't fight for spots on the TV shows you watch regularly.

Next time you're watching TV see what brand made it's way into your favorite show.
Try distributing your own logo & see what it does for you.  Good luck!

Ronni Sherman

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pens Can Be Ideal Promotional Imprinted Products

So promotional pens may not be right up there on your list of exciting things to hand out, but they are no longer the ordinary old stand-by that they used to be. There aren't many low-cost promotional custom products that make a a claim to be the original form of viral marketing or include space-age products in their caps or barrels.

When it comes to getting your name out there you need to get maxiumum awareness bang for your marketing buck. There's a reason why promotional pens are so popular......they:
  1. Make ideal low-cost promotional gifts for any budget.
  2. Are versatile--for everything from promotional giveaways to corporate gifts.
  3. Get used--even in this digital world everyone still needs & uses pens.
  4. Get seen--on desks & countertops, in pockets & purses, attached to clipboards.
  5. Come in all shapes & sizes--you're no longer limited to the plain click pen.
  6. Are the original 'viral marketing'--people lend pens all the time.
Here are a couple of misconceptions about the pen:

Promotional pens are the original 'viral marketing'? But isn't viral marketing a contemporary new media concept that applies to digital marketing.
Not at all......when something 'goes viral' it simply means that consumers are out there sharing & passing it on. Ever been given a custom-branded pen by someone not from that business? Or perhaps passed a promotional pen on that wasn't from your own company? Happens all the time & has been happening long before the internet came along.  A pen goes from hand-to-hand almost like a dollar bill does & the logo on that pen stays visible longer than an advertisement on TV.  You see.......there's more to them than you might have expected.

Promotional pens are cheap & tacky throw-aways & one pen is like any other pen?
That was years ago. Today, with modern manufacturing & printing methods, quality & looks have dramatically increased. There's a staggering range of quality & novel looking promotional pens available for even the tightest of budgets.  Your choices can range from bright colored economical plastic pens that have a unique design on the grip to traditional, high-end engraved metal pens. Parker pens are famous around the world as prestigious executive gifts that are a classic status symbol still very much recognized today.

There's a whole range of multi-functional pens that pack all sorts of extra functionality into the unassuming form of the humble pen. As I mentioned earlier, there's the pen with the flash drive in the barrel.  You can also get pens with miniature flashlights, tape measures, paper flags to mark your page or have your 3-dimensional logo float in the barrel. Pretty soon they'll come equipped with GPS (kidding). But the message here is a pen is no longer just a pen.

Custom printed pens really are effective promotional imprinted products that do more than most people realize to promote a brand & message. They are still one of the best ways of getting your business name out among the public & your logo recognized.

Everyone uses pens everyday......even the people that spend most their time on the internet communicating via Facebook & Twitter write with a pen daily. And a majority of those pens are imprinted with someone's company & logo. Jump on the bandwagon & make sure your pen is out there getting noticed.

Ronni Sherman

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year...New Resolutions...New Promotional Products

It's hard to believe that the holiday season has come & gone already. All the expectations & preparations, the celebrations, the hustle & bustle, the hours spent on gift wrapping are all but memories now. Neighborhoods seem a little darker now that the lights have been taken down & the stores seem to have lost their brilliance once the brightly colored displays have been dismantled.

But it's not all gloomy......there's also hope & optimism for the new year. People hold on to the thought that this year can be better than the year before. Businesses begin wondering how they can best advertise their products & services & have a better year than the previous one.

Retailers reported that sales were up & 2011 ended bringing a feeling of optimism  to 2012. It seems people are tired of being overly-frugal & are willing to spend more now than they have in the last four years. This is good & while they're in the mood to spend, this is the time to remind them of your services or products. Jump on the bandwagon while the economy is in an upward swing of hope & there's a hint of light at the end of the tunnel.

Promotional imprinted products are one way to reinforce your brand among the public & to advertise your business. Make it your resolution to purchase & distribute the marketing tools that represents your company. Distribute them among your clients & prospective customers & let them boost your company recognition & sales.

This is a good time of year to buy customized promotional items that remind people of their own new year's resolutions & help them stick to their guns, at least for a little while. Here are some good options that will help all of us make 2012 a better year.

If the new year came in the middle of the summer, it might be easier for people to stay true to  their weight loss & exercise resolutions. Unfortunately the colder weather & shorter days make this more difficult. Whether you put your logo on stainless steel, aluminum or the vivid Tritan acrylic bottles this is a great reminder of the resolution......& your company.

This is a fun way to keep your name in front of your customers. These colorful acrylic banks come in all shapes for almost any field........piggy banks with cute expressions, houses, automobiles & teddy bears. There's even a digital coin bank that electronically counts coins as they drop through the slot & digitally displays the total. It's a good way to kick off a special promotion your company many be having during the year.

Most people like the idea of going green & preserving the environment, but few actually do so. Providing customers with non-woven, reusable shopping bags is a good way to remind them it doesn't take much to be ecological. This is an ideal promotional custom product because it offers a large imprint area for your logo & company information. And when your customer uses the bag when they shop, they're taking your business name & logo right along with them. What great exposure you can get from these!

These are just a few ideas. The main thing to remember is that whatever you give out is relevant to your company & useful to your customer. Another wise thing to remember is to hand them out & not save them for a special client or one will be reminded of your company if they're sitting in a storage closet.

So if one of your resolutions is to market & grow your company, customized promotional items are an effective way to do this. They stay in front of your customers & the public longer than any other kind of advertising & there's something for every budget.

I hope this helps you start the new year off right! Good luck in your advertising campaigns this year.
Ronni Sherman