Promotional products are a central part of our consumer lives. Whether it’s the pen we are using with our bank’s name emblazoned on the side, the decal on the back of our car from our favorite brewery, the coffee mug featuring our favorite sports team, or the t-shirt we are wearing from last month’s 5k, we are the marketing agents for dozen of businesses every day. Yet for all the promotional products we welcome into our lives, there are even more that head straight to the junk drawer, or worse, the landfill.
So when it comes time to decide what promotional products are right for your business, how do you choose one that will go into circulation, not into the circular file?
To learn more we asked AlphaGraphics’ promo expert, Marketing Coordinator Anny Carr to share with us her insights into selecting a unique, quality promotional product that’s right for your needs.
CAROLINE: What makes for a “quality” promotional product?
ANNY: Two things make up a “quality” promo item. First, it needs to be usable. I encourage my clients to identify an item they tend to use outside of their workplace, which could be something practical for everyday use or a comfortable and stylish article of clothing. Second, in order to have a quality item, you have to source it from a quality vendor. There are so many vendors that provide cheap service and lower quality items—it shows immediately once you handle the product. I tend to lead my customers to higher quality items that will last longer.
CAROLINE: Since not all promo items are created equal: What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a good impression with their giveaways, but may have a limited budget?
ANNY: I would say if you are working with a budget, take some time and think about what your campaign is trying to do. Are you trying to increase your visibility and brand awareness in general or are you hoping to get a few new high-profile customers? Who is attending your event or trade show and what are they expecting? Knowing who your target audience is and what they like or what they might be expecting is an important first step. Regardless of what the objective is, it is important to articulate why you are spending the money and then tailor your promo items towards that goal. We can work with you to source items that are simple, clean and eye-catching. There are plenty of ways to manipulate your logo into one or two colors that work well with a promo item and something as small and cost-effective as a pen can be something your customer will reach for time and time again.
CAROLINE: What are some tricks people could use to make few, high quality or unique promotional items, go farther at a trade show or event?
ANNY: Think outside the box. If you can identify a truly unique or trendy promotional product, great. If more traditional items like pens, decals or hats are what make sense for you, consider using social media to give your branded item a boost. I have seen a lot of companies take photos of people who visit their booth wearing their apparel or with their items and post them on social media.
If it can be avoided, I usually advise against printing specifics like the date or the event name on your promo product. It hampers your ability to reuse them for something else if all your items aren’t scooped up.
CAROLINE: Why should someone work with AlphaGraphics on promotional products when there are so many direct to consumer options out there?
ANNY: As with everything we do here, AlphaGraphics provides a personalized one-stop-shop. For example, we can order single samples of the promotional products you are considering. I’ve found there’s no substitute for being able to hold and feel an object, imagine where the logo will go, and visualize how it fits with your other branding materials. Our in-house graphic designers are also on hand to make any necessary adjustments to logo files to make sure they fit just right. In short, we do all the heavy lifting and really, all you have to do is pick your product.
CAROLINE: How do you make sure promo products are delivered on time?
ANNY: Things generally go smoother if the customer starts the process with a preliminary plan of what they are looking for, a budget, and good files. Knowing brands that you like or knowing something as simple as whether you want ballpoint or gel pens can be huge game-changers when it comes to making sure that your promo products arrive in the time frame they need to.
CAROLINE: Anything else customers should keep in mind?
ANNY: Make sure the items you choose flow with your whole booth. We love helping companies with their entire trade show vision – from their booth and retractable to their promotional items.
Oh, and be sure to build in time to change your mind! Sometimes what you think you want changes once you see samples or you see what other options are out there.
Are you ready to find a high-quality promotional product that will showcase your unique brand? Contact us about your next project.
Read our related blog about Sabatini Partners, LLC’s quest for branded apparel.