Custom Promotional Products are Great for Marketing

The best marketing techniques keep your logo and name in front of everyone all day without making them tired of seeing it. They even make them want to take it home with them.

Think of a Lacoste shirt with its trademark alligator. The Lacoste brand uses its logo on everything, making its clothing an ad for its brand. Chanel, Coach and Louis Vuitton do the same. Their signature technique carries over to other merchandise types. It needn’t be clothing or even a designer brand. Guests at Radisson Hotels love to keep the Cross-style black pen with its logo on it. Hilton provides favored pens to snag, too. These corporations learned the power of promotional products. They utilize them on every item, from hotel towels to in-room stationery to the pens to advertise their brand. They even encourage guests to take it home with them – except the towels.

Marketing with Promotional Items

The most powerful means of advertising has become word of mouth. With promotional products, the company leverages word of mouth with a free model. Whatever a brand gives away gets worn or publicly used by customers. A company gets free advertising in front of every person someone wearing their shirt or hat sees.

The items themselves and the act of giving them away produce another marketing opportunity. Who doesn’t love free stuff? People turn out to pick up whatever a company gives away – t-shirts, hats, posters, pens, pencils, coffee mugs, water bottles, shopping bags, calendars.

Investing in promotional items for marketing pays the company back with three advertising exposures:

  • the giveaway,
  • the customer’s use and view,
  • the customer’s “audience” who sees them use or wear it.

Tips for Promo Items

1. Before slapping the company logo on everything, think about what customers will enjoy and show off. Big brands like Nike have no problem creating giveaways with their well-known logo. Smaller companies or those with a less universal logo, like Wendy’s adorable red-haired girl, might try a catchy slogan in their ads that they then use on custom promotional products items. Some examples from the past include:

  • “Where’s the Beef?” from Wendy’s,
  • “Got Milk?” from the American Dairy Association,
  • “We Try Harder” from Avis.

2. Use environmental targeting which means offering items that the customer will use within the environment that involves the brand or product. For example, Microsoft might give away mouse pads or flash drives emblazoned with its logo. Betty Crocker might give away measuring spoons bearing its logo.

3. Choose items that last. For example, a letter opener or notepad holder lasts longer than logo imprinted notepads. A coffee mug lasts longer than a logo imprinted bag of coffee. Choose products the customer will use again and again because repeated utility translates to repeated advertising for you.

How to Give It All Away

Promotional items don’t simply advertise a company, they act as a lead generating tool. They also attract an audience. Try giving away promos in the following situations to bolster leads.

1. Referral thank yous. When someone refers a customer to the company, thank them with a promo gift.

2. Give away branded items to introduce the brand. When opening a new location or launching a new product, welcome customers with a gift. It encourages them to return to the business.

3. Draw trade show visits with free items. Brands giving away promo items drew 176 percent more visitors than those without.

4. Special Occasions. Provide customers with an annual holiday gift. Many time this at Christmas or the New Year, but tie it to the business culture. A Guinness giveaway at St. Patrick’s Day makes more sense than Christmas. Send customers something for Valentine’s Day, an underused holiday for promos. Businesses that do target less utilized holidays get remembered more.

5. Say Happy Birthday. If customers provide their birthdate, remember their big day with an email and a free digital download. A wallpaper, screensaver, ebook or song makes a memorable gift.

6. Say thank you for an order. When filling an order, send a branded promotional item with it. They may eat the jam or candy in one week, but the spoon or spoon rest sent with it will get used in their kitchen daily, keeping the company name in front of them.

Designing the Giveaway Mechanism

Customers appreciate the choice. Offer an either/or such as a t-shirt or a cap, a backpack or a tote bag. This lets the customer play a part in the marketing and provides them some control. It ensures they get a gift they’ll use – a benefit back to the brand.

Tiers of gifts provide a fun way to involve customers and build brand representatives. Apply tiers of gifts to a referral program or to a rewards program. While many coffee shops award frequent visitors with free coffee, think about a free coffee mug tier or a free t-shirt tier.

Custom promotional products provide endless opportunities for a brand to connect with customers and potential customers. These small gifts can draw in and help retain customers. Companies can use promo gifts to build referral programs, rewards programs and as a thank you to customers.

They can also provide a company “uniform” when none actually exists. At trade shows or conventions, promotional products like t-shirts and caps provide a logo branded uniform for employees even for companies that don’t wear uniforms during work. In this context, employees can dress almost head to toe in branded gear without it coming off as forced.

Choosing a Promotional Company

The company chosen determines the quality of the gifts distributed. Ask to see an example of each item considered before ordering it. Inspect it for quality.

Custom Center Group has been around for the past 15 decades and knows what a quality promotional product is and should be.

Check each company’s certification. Those that carry the seal of the Advertising Specialties Institute (ASI) or the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) meet specific quality standards and offer products designed for advertising purposes.

The right promo items given away in the proper setting can generate leads, build customer relationships and market a brand with every wear or use. Choosing the items is one small part. Using them the right way means so much more.


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