Post image for My 5 Favorite Promotional Products

Source: My 5 Favorite Promotional Products

Working for the industry’s leading distributor makes me pretty hard to impress when it comes to promotional products, but there are 5 types of items I never turn down:

  1. Drink ware: Though I’ve always been a collector of coffee cups, my stockpile has exploded in the past few years in both numbers and variety. In addition to traditional mugs, it now includes insulated and fruit-infusing water bottles, reusable tumblers and whimsical cocktail glasses.
  2. Notebooks and writing instruments: These two go hand-in-hand, and I never have enough of either. Bonus points if the product serves more than one purpose. For example, a pen that’s also a stylus or a notebook with a built-in calendar.
  3. Beach towels: Great for picnics, the pool and even to use around the house.
  4. Things that are just plain cute or clever: Like Phil the piggy bank or Pete the business man (both pictured here). Provided they don’t take up too much space, products like this seem to make people smile.
  5. Food: Especially at an event or tradeshow where you’re running around and might have forget to pack a snack. If you give me an energy bar or a piece of chocolate in such a situation, I will remember you forever.

For feedback from a much wider study group on the products they like, check out the latest ASI Impressions Study.

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Post image for To Give is to Achieve: Corporate Gift Guidelines

A corporate gift does not have to be serious or stuffy in nature. Instead, it should be reflective of a company’s brand and philosophy, and meaningful to the recipient so that it resonates and deepens the relationship–whether the recipient is a customer, vendor, or employee. And, corporate gifting need not be complicated or expensive. Here are some key corporate gift guidelines that can help a business select the most appropriate items to give at holidays, as ‘thank you’ gifts, or in recognition of a job well done.

  • Be creative: There is nothing wrong with stepping outside of the traditional corporate gift box and opt for an item that will surprise and delight the recipient on a personal level, including sports-related items like golf accessories, a personalized wine bottle, a game, or even some type of fitness product.
  • Consider demographics: It is important to consider a person’s gender and age group to get the most bang for your promotional product buck. You do not want to give a younger client some type of house wares item when they would likely prefer a cell phone accessory or electronic device. Corporate gifts are meant to provide you with intangible ROI such as appreciation and allegiance as much as they benefit the recipient.
  • Represent the company’s values: Select items that reflect what the company believes in. For example, if the company is environmentally aware, be sure to select an item that has been manufactured from recycled materials and is produced in a way that’s safe for the environment.
  • Stick to a budget: Always be aware of how much the items cost, including any customization, to ensure that the budget is not overshot and increase the likelihood you can continue to offer the gift program each year or quarter. There are plenty of high quality, utility and perceived value items, including jewelry, barware, clothing and electronics, which will illustrate the level of appreciation you feel for the recipient.
  • Make it relevant: It is important to select those items that are relevant and of interest to the recipients rather than picking up a bunch of pens or diaries because they were specially priced. Take the time to select the types of items that illustrate you know what the recipient likes and is interested in. This small amount of effort will make a significant impact and go a long way toward building loyalty.
  • Go electronic: With so much of our collective professional and personal lives becoming digitized, electronic promotional products and gadget accessories are downright revered–from music and entertainment to travel and productivity, there is a myriad of digital options perfectly suited for corporate gifting.
  • Plan ahead: The best thing you can do with any corporate gift giving initiative is to plan ahead to ensure you can procure the right gift at the right price. This will save you from making rushed purchases that often reveal themselves as just that, which, in turn, may make the recipient not feel as special as intended. Take the time to get it right and you will be rewarded in turn.

In Review

Here is a quick wrap-up on the guidelines for corporate gifts:

  • Think beyond the traditional type of company gifts and go with something fun, practical, or memorable.
  • Make sure the gifts fit the individual based on their demographics, what you know about them, and what is relevant for today’s recipients.
  • Keep the gift in line with your brand, philosophy, and messaging.
  • Plan ahead and you will be able to pick the right item at the right price, staying on budget and delivering something special to the recipient.

References

Source: Premium Incentive Products, July/Aug 2012, p. 18

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Promo Products Rule ROI

by Woody Kaye on November 11, 2015

Post image for Promo Products Rule ROI

With an often limited budget to put toward marketing and advertising, companies are regularly challenged with deciding which channels or vehicles will deliver the most ROI. For their part, promo products are often compared against traditional forms of marketing such as television, radio, print advertising. It has been found that promo products actually deliver the best return for investment—one that extends beyond just reaching existing clients.

The Return from Promo Products

Findings published in Advantages magazine indicate that the majority (60%) of people who receive promotional merchandise then decide that they will do business with the granting company, and experience an overall increase in their favorable impression toward that company.

Also of benefit is the fact that promotional products often commonly get passed on to others if not used by the original person rather than being thrown away. This actually provides a viral way for the company to reach more of its target audience and beyond without having to do the work or pay for additional impressions.

Even better is the fact that this strategy is so much cheaper than traditional marketing and advertising mediums, offering a considerable payoff for what can be as little as half a cent per impression than, say, a few dollars or more per impression utilizing the traditional route.

In order to get the best return, however, it is recommended that a company does its homework and get an idea of the individual preferences among various demographic groups that may be targeted as part of such as promo product campaign. Some promotional items are more attractive to certain groups than others and it’s imperative to strategize accordingly.

Promo Products that Fare Well

In listing those items that appeal to the largest audience and deliver an attractive return among the many choices of promotional and branded products, the most ROI was gained from:

  • Bags, backpacks, and totes
  • Caps and headwear
  • Writing instruments like pens and pencils
  • Shirts of all different styles
  • Calendars, diaries, and planners

These are practical items that most anyone can use so the recipient is likely to hold onto the item and even wear it if it’s apparel-related. In turn, become walking billboards for the company whose logo and information are on them, which enhances the potential ROI. These items also have considerable room to put critical contact information, including name, address, phone, email and website address.

In Review

Here is a summary of the key ideas about promo products and why and how they deliver a significant return on investment:

  • They cost less per impression than traditional marketing channels like television, radio, and magazines, which immediately drives up the return.
  • Those that receive them either keep them or pass them on both of which have been found to leave the recipient with a positive impression of the company and a greater likelihood of buying from them.
  • Promo products should be suited to certain demographics but the overall products that do best are bags, headgear, writing instruments, shirts and calendars.

References

Source: Advantages Magazine, Feb 2011, p. 107

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piggy bank1 300x199 Branded Merchandise Must Haves Under $10

Branded merchandise doesn’t have to eat up your entire marketing budget, and one can look beyond pens and magnets for low-cost options. Check out these top ten low-cost promotional products that can effectively help you achieve strategic goals:

trans Branded Merchandise Must Haves Under $10Brilliant Branded Merchandise Below $10

  • Apparel – While you may think apparel is off-limits at this price point, there is an array of wearable branding available like t-shirts, hats, and headbands
  • Golf accessories – Golf is the ultimate relationship sport, so branding some favorite accessories for current or prospective clients is a great way to keep your logo and messaging top-of-mind
  • Drinkware – Whether it is a wine or champagne glass, beer stein or coffee mug, you can satisfy your customers’ thirst for a great brand and fill their mind with your corporate messages.
  • Health and safety – Offering something practical and personal can equate your brand with customer care and concern.
  • Sporting goods and outdoor products – Appeal to your client’s leisure interests with bargain items like stadium cushions, Frisbees, grill covers or coolers.

Penny Promotional Items Under $1

Then there are those branded merchandise items that are well under $10, but still allow you to build your brand with clients and prospective customers:

  • Food and drink items – One of the best ways to a client’s business and loyalty can be through their stomach. From chocolate boasting your company name and logo to custom-labeled water bottles or refreshing breath mints, these items will leave clients and prospects “hungry” for what you offer them.
  • Pins and tattoos – These have the benefit of sticking to your customer, making them a walking billboard, or provide a way to have your logo in plain sight.
  • Stress balls – Help clients unwind with this fun, affordable, and practical item that can be kept on a desk. It’s a reminder that you are on their side to help them feel better.
  • Business supplies – From desk pads and address books to bookmarks and letter openers, branded business supplies will be put through the paces and remind clients you offer practical solutions.
  • Fun or silly products – Business marketing doesn’t have to be stuffy. Why not make your clients laugh or smile with a banner pin, blinking ball, or flying torpedo?

Takeaways

Consider these takeaways on how to build your brand through branded merchandise for less:

  • Be creative and find items that are memorable and practical for your clients and prospective customers.
  • Pick items that can be displayed somewhere so that others can see your company name, turning your merchandise into a mobile billboard.
  • Select a branded products company that can offer a wide range of items to choose from, especially with a large variety under $10 and even under $1.
  • Consider offering different seasonal items throughout the year, which clients and prospects will consider relevant.

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Post image for Make a Push for Unique Promotional Products

Source: Make a Push for Unique Promotional Products

In this day and age, it seems the go-to promotional products are all the same; the Water Bottle, the Pen, the Pedometer. Trying to market your brand and company is becoming increasingly more difficult, because your rival company is doing the same thing, using the same tactics and same products as you are. For your next marketing campaign, step out of the box and give or send an unforgettable, unique item that will keep your brand at the forefront of everyone’s mind. This doesn’t need to be an extravagant or pricey operation, just creative. Here are a few ideas on how to find the perfect product.

  • Tradeshows – I recently went to my first tradeshow, the PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Not only was I blown away at the amount of products and vendors that were in attendance, but the ideas and possibilities for all the new items that were presented at the show were unparalleled. The opportunity to attend one of these shows, small or large, is worth it. Take pictures, ask questions, and leave business cards. The time and effort spent networking at your next tradeshow will be worth it.
  • Vendor Reach Out – You have done the networking at your tradeshow now it is time to reconnect. Ask your vendor to WOW you. Pens are a quick and inexpensive leave behind; now ask for one that is magnetic, with a stylus and dual highlighter. Instead of a wall-calendar, give away magnetic calendar cubes for the office desk. Having one or two special features on your leave-behind item will have your customer or prospect using, and more importantly, keeping it. The price points shouldn’t break the bank, but show off your creativity and attention to detail.
  • You – How many giveaway T-shirts have you thrown away because the shirt was itchy or the logo was hideously large and unflattering? You are a consumer as well and have no doubt received the very same items that your business is trying to send out. What do you like? What type of apparel item would you keep and actually wear?  A softer, trendy V-neck perhaps or a long-sleeve with thumb-holes. Most apparel vendors have lines that are a bit more comfortable and are keeping up with today’s clothing trends. Try to think outside of the average polo when selecting apparel items so your company’s shirt doesn’t end up in the garage sale.

The right promotional item can go a long way in building your business. So take the time to find that special piece that will represent your company and brand. Use your intuition as a consumer and provide that one product that will keep you top-of-mind for any marketing venture.

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Post image for Budget Friendly Promotional Product Procurement Strategies

It is important to always continue strategic marketing efforts that keep your brand name visible and top-of-mind with existing and prospective customers. One of the best ways to do this is with logoed promotional products, which do not have to be expensive to be an effective “billboard” for your company.

Focus on Smart Branded Products that Add Value

It doesn’t pay to simply pick the cheapest promotional item out there and slap your logo on it. Here’s why:

  • This item may not represent your company’s brand image or industry relevance.
  • Low cost doesn’t have to mean ‘cheap’ in terms of quality, making items impractical for long-term use and requiring a higher volume – and higher cost – purchase.
  • Spend your money on lower cost items more likely to stand the test of time – the less moving parts, the better.

Instead, purchase wisely:

  • Select an industry and/or demographic-relevant item that may be used over the long-term – optimally one that solves a problem or makes life or work easier.
  • Consider selecting an item that is out of the ordinary to help you stand out and build “buzz.” While pens or refrigerator magnets have their place, try to think outside of the proverbial box so customers will think of you more often and fondly.

Do Your Research

Take the time to do research before you select a budget-friendly promotional product rather than hastily picking items in that catalog that’s been sitting on your desk for a while, or just going with the first company that pops up in the search engine. Consider this strategy:

  • Ask customers what kind of promotional product would be useful to them by conducting a quick survey, however informal. This will tell you what’s hot and what’s not.
  • Check out newly introduced products in your low-end price point being offered across multiple companies.
  • Compare prices between companies; call various firms to see if they provide any special discounts for new customers, return customers, bulk orders, end of month/quarter/fiscal, etc.

Find a Trusted Partner

Lastly, you may want to consider finding a trusted partner from which to purchase all of your branded products.  Here’s why:

  • They value your business and can provide special incentives or value-added pricing.
  • They can advise on ways to determine which low cost products provide the best return on investment.
  • Your partner would have your best interests at heart and be ready with great quality product suggestions that meet your budget and marketing objectives.

In Summary

In highlighting the top points about economical promotional product procurement, remember this:

  • Be unique but practical.
  • Represent your brand and carry through your marketing theme.
  • Don’t just pick the cheapest item on price, alone, as there are other strategic factors to consider.
  • Do research on what’s available and what your customers want.
  • Compare prices, products, and companies.
  • Pick a partner for a long-term value-added relationship.

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Branded Items for Fall

The fall season is here and, with it, comes crisp mornings and chillier evenings—maybe even a rain drop or two. Yet, there are days where amid the cooler temperatures the sun is shining brightly. This distinctive climate calls for special fashions, and branded clothing ideas for fall abound.

Top Branded Clothing for Fall

When putting together promotional items for the fall season, consider some of these top branded clothing ideas sure to appeal to your prospects, customers or employees:

  • Fleece-Lined and Micro-Fleece Jackets: These jackets offer warmth while still being lightweight, making them ideal for fluctuating temperatures and windy conditions. These jackets can be screen printed or embroidered with your corporate logo or other brand imagery.
  • Cotton Mock Turtlenecks: The fall season is all about layering, and a mock turtleneck looks nice alone or paired with a shirt or sweater, so that there is added warmth and comfort.
  • Long Sleeve Wicking Tee: Fitness enthusiasts will really appreciate branded merchandise of this nature because of its ability to keep moisture away from the body. This shirt goes the distance by providing added comfort and warmth – especially on those chilly morning runs.
  • Soft Shell Vest: This branded clothing item is both water and wind-resistant, making it an ideal addition to any fall wardrobe. It’s warm without overheating, and it offers a convenient zippered side pocket to keep keys and other valuables.
  • Full-Zip Hoodie: A long-favored look for men, women, and children, these hoodies work well with casual clothes or as part of a sporty look. They are a great way to keep the chill and wind at bay. These fashion favorites are available in a wide range of colors to suit all types of branded options and come in cozy micro-fiber and cotton blends, adding greater warmth and comfort.
  • Fleece Scarf: These cold-weather accessories look great on men and women, keeping necks warm and adding a fashionable flair. There are a wide range of colors, lengths and ways to incorporate a brand to customize for every occasion and image, including patches and embroidery.
  • Custom Suede Boots: Men and women can enjoy this comfortable and warm footwear, which look great paired with jeans or other casual attire. The interior provides more warmth with faux sheepskin while the outside offers many places to embroider a brand and logo.
  • Wool Driver’s Hat: This cap makes a fashion statement plus helps with additional warmth as the weather changes. With colors like navy, black, camel and charcoal, this practical fashion accessory adds style and coordinates with everything from business attire to casual weekend wear.
  • Leather Shopping Bag: These extra large totes work well as an eco-friendly shopping bag, but they also make for a stylish handbag. Made of high-quality leather, these large  totes have long straps and interior and exterior pockets that provide ample storage space.
  • Shawl Collared Robe: What man or woman wouldn’t want a cozy robe to slip into after a long day?  Featuring luxurious cotton velour, these robes can be embroidered with a company, product or other brand name and offer the same comfort and luxury as robes found at the spa or a hotel.
  • Slippers: Comfy, cozy slippers are perfect for those cooler evenings and mornings. Having them embroidered with a brand name and logo is one way to keep the company at the top of a customer’s mind even if they are wearing it on their feet. From terry and velour to extra fuzzy, slippers are a perfect fall indulgence.

In Summary

When it comes to fall fashions, there are a lot of possibilities for adding a brand name and logo to practical and comfortable seasonal outerwear. Keep these ideas in mind:

  • Select items that work well with layered fall looks, such as turtlenecks, long-sleeve shirts, hoodies and vests.
  • Fleece jackets, vests and scarves work well for wide-ranging temperatures and inclement weather like rain and wind.
  • Fitness enthusiasts need practical, breathable, and comfortable athletic wear to keep them comfortable on cold fall mornings. Clothing made for wicking helps to fulfill all those needs.
  • Who says fall fashion is all about going out? Everyone loves to have a plush, great-looking robe and cozy slippers to come home to!

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Post image for Eco-Friendly Branded Merchandise: Popular Green Promotional Products

Corporate social responsibility is all the rage – even when it comes to branded merchandise. After all, environmentally conscious “green” promotional products are a great way to convey specific brand messages and enhance logo visibility while simultaneously showcasing the company’s care and concern for planet Earth.

Recycled, Reclaimed, Renewed Items

Green promotional products come in many forms, and can include those manufactured from materials that have been recycled or reclaimed, created without the use of natural resources, or harvested from sustainable areas. Green logo items also include those that foster the user’s ability to conserve natural resources and reduce their own environmental footprint.

Here are some great ideas on how to incorporate a social consciousness into promotional marketing efforts while staying on budget:trans Eco Friendly Branded Merchandise: Popular Green Promotional Products

  • Recycled totes, bags, and backpacks: These carry-alls are effective for exposing a company logo and/or message to a wide audience while giving the recipient a practical way to go green. The bags, totes, and backpacks can be continually reused during shopping excursions, reducing the need to use plastic and paper retail bags.
  • Sports and entertainment products: Marketers are often amazed with the wide range of eco-smart sports and entertainment promotional items now available, such as golf balls and poker chips made from recycled materials and apparel and accessories made from fast-growing renewable bamboo.  Branded water bottles can go a long way to keep plastic out of our landfills.
  • Office supplies: Much is possible when it comes to recycled or eco-conscious logo gear for the workplace. Green promotional office supplies now include everything from pens and pencils, to mouse pads, presentation folders, calculators, paper products, calendars, and corporate clothing. Green technology and electronics also abound for yet more socially-smart branded merchandise options.
  • Pamper products: Although many promotional products are made to benefit the recipient in some way, there is an entire category of Earth-friendly promotional items dedicated to making the client “feel” good – physically or emotionally. Imagine a client’s delight as he or she dons a plush bamboo robe or an organic cotton shirt brandishing your logo. Scented soaps, sachets, lotions and a bevy of corporate-branded beauty products abound.

Green Reminders

Here are some important green reminders about what is possible for companies when it comes to green promotional products:

  • Going eco-friendly with promotional strategies is a cost-effective way to enhance brand image with target audiences relative to the company’s value system.
  • Just about every type of promotional item is now available in a green-inspired option, including those what contain recycled or manufactured materials that help conserve the planet’s diminishing natural resources.
  • Green promotional items are a great way to help customers be environmentally conscious by supplying them with solutions that reduce waste or use of non eco-friendly materials or products.

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trade-show-giveaways

We’ve all been to trade shows where we’ve been given bagfuls of promotional products by exhibitors that are designed to create goodwill and positive brand imaging which hopefully leads to a business relationship. Some of these giveaways capture our attention because of their uniqueness, quality and usefulness. Others are ‘circular filed’ before they leave the building. Therefore the challenge for those of you who exhibit at shows is: How do you choose a promotional product that has a long shelf-life, will be a lightning rod for attendees at the show and will simultaneously give your brand and marketing message maximum exposure?trans 4 Tips for Trade Show Giveaway Success

The answer? Show that you C.A.R.E.

  • Category? Pens, caps, bags, desk / computer items and drinkware represent over 40% of the promotional products industry. People use these products. The trick is to find an item within one of these categories that meets your standards for quality, creativity, usefulness and end user appropriateness. Avoid anything that’s perceived as ‘seen that done that’. Choose bright colors or unusual shapes and sizes to spark interest.  Remember the goal:  Select an item that your prospect will use and use often. Frequent use will lead to more impressions and greater brand awareness.
  • Appropriate? You also want to consider audience appropriateness when choosing a promotional item. You probably wouldn’t give a fridge magnet to a CEO, a mouse pad to fishermen or a $1 tape measure to a professional builder. Similarly you will help the prospect connect your brand with the service you provide when you tie the item to your industry. Financial services companies often give away calculators, pens, pads and clocks; technology companies mouse pads, usb’s, keyboard and monitor cleaners; travel companies luggage tags, bags and passport wallets.  If the item doesn’t have industry applications at least make sure it mirrors your image.  Are you promising above average service, value or quality? Choose an item that compliments and doesn’t detract from the image.
  • ROI? The key to developing an effective marketing and advertising strategy is to utilize best practices that maximize return on investment (ROI). To that end be aware that the average cost per impression of an ad specialty item is $.004 versus $.019 for newspapers, $.033 for a national magazine and $.019 for primetime TV1. In addition the recipient of a trade show give away has typically been prequalified by virtue of their show attendance making them a highly targeted prospect which will drive up the effectiveness of your campaign. If your giveaway accentuates your value proposition it will drive up your ROI further. If you claim to be a Mercedes or even a Toyota in your industry space don’t give out anything that reminds the recipient of a Pinto.
  • Entertainment? In order to increase brand awareness an effective trade show give away must be functional, attractive, have longevity and whenever possible contain a fun factor. The ultimate goal is to create buzz, visibility and for prospects to positively engage. It’s working if you see ‘em smile….and a smile is your best referral source. At the very least the item must be useful. Usefulness means your brand, contact information and marketing message are being seen over and over by your target audience which increases the likelihood of them calling you to place an order.

Show that you CARE and you will reap a harvest of goodwill with prospects and clients and propel your brand to higher and higher levels.

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