Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Make Sure Your Promotional Custom Products Aren't "Useless"

Many people don't realize the value of customized promotional items & therefore, don't use them. Or so they say......next time you hear someone utter those words, ask him to look at the pens on his desk, his coffee cup or mouse pad.

Years ago there was an image of men at trade shows standing in front of their booths with a slew of cheap, gimmicky promotional products--blowing whistles, doing tricks with yo-yo's or throwing balls at people in the aisles trying to grab their attention. Pens were boring stick pens with a cap or plain click pens. Note pads were called scratch pads because that's what they were......cheap white paper with a black header at the top.

That was when we had to go home to make a phone call because there were no cell phones & we depended on the mail to deliver an "air mail" letter within a week because there were no instantaneous emails. Everything's changed & that includes the world of promotional items.

Promotional imprinted products are a good way to build a sustainable image. Think about all the paper products with custom imprinting, a majority of the pens you write with have a company's name or for example a USB flash drive to send your customer--a memory stick with your logo on it. If it's part of a corporate image & it's useful to the recipient, then promotional items prove to be one of the most lasting forms of advertising.

It's useful to both you & the person receiving it. It helps you because if the promotional custom product is being used & being seen, it spreads your company image. If it's something your customer wants & uses, then it's especially useful to him.

The products are not useless, but can become useless when they are purchased by businesses who:
  • don't have a specific need for the product, but just want to order some "promotional stuff".
  • don't specify their target audience & end up with the wrong item.
  • don't bother to make or distribute the products once they have them, but keep them stored away for a specific time or a special customer.
  • order as cheap as possible & get stuck with products that ruin their company image.
Don't fall into the four pitfalls listed above.

  • Order a promotional item that represents your business & that your target audience has a need for. Think about what will set you apart from your competition & still sell your company in the best possible way. Try to wow your customer--at least give them something that will make them sit up & notice you.
  • Know your target audience--this is probably the most important of all. Who are the people who will receive your promotional imprinted product? What age group, where do they live, any special interests, are they a part of an ethnic group? Young professionals will probably deem a beach ball or kitchen utensil as useless, but would value & use a letter opener or flash drive with your logo.  On the other hand, if you're reaching out to the American family--they probably would appreciate beach balls & kitchen utensils.
  • Hand out your products once you receive them--don't save them. When a special event comes up, order something special for that event. Don't "save" your customized promotional items to save money. You've basically wasted your money if they're going to sit in a storage closet where no one will see them. The purpose of promotional products is to get them out among the public so they are aware of your business & will remember you.
  • If you order something as cheap as possible, the only place your name will be seen is in the waste paper basket. Yes, you'll be remembered......you'll be remembered as a company who doesn't care about quality. This is a sure-fire way to drive your customers to your competition. You don't have to spend a fortune for a quality promotional item......just don't buy the cheapest. "You get what you pay for" may ring true in this case. On a budget? Distributors of promotional products always have specials--all year long. Don't be afraid to ask about them--we're only too glad to share the news.
So I don't think promotional custom products are useless. Most of the time, these are regular useful products, but made promotional because of the personalization possibilities. Sometimes these items are ordered for wrong purposes & then if used wrongly, the are useless.

Next time you order, think about what will put your business in the best light.
Ronni Sherman


  1. Everyone in business should read this article.

  2. Excellent tips!

    We've all been guilty of some of the above actions & have paid a price later. It's not worth it! As much time & thought should be given to promotional & marketing items as tv ads, outside billboards & online advertising. They get just as much coverage so they deserve just as much time.

    Kudos to you for publishing clear goals when making these purchases!

  3. I am sure that promotional custom products are not useless for the customers. There people can get the best and quality product.