There are people out there who are willing to put in hours, days, weeks, months, and even years into a project. Their aim is to get the best result and in order to achieve it, they’ll invest as much time and effort as possible. Oftentimes, these people are at the very top and the results they reach end up huge and almost flawless.
However, most people don’t think like that. In our lives, especially in the early 2020s, we think in terms of speed. There’s very little time to achieve anything, so we aim to reduce the effort as much as possible. In other words, we often take shortcuts.
Naturally, shortcuts in and of themselves are not a bad thing, especially if you’re doing something mundane. But when it comes to creative work, as is the case with selling promotional brand products, the shortcuts are far from being the best way to go. In fact, they might actively work against your brand and harm your reputation.
So, why exactly should you avoid shortcuts when it comes to promotional products, and how can you do it? This article will attempt to answer those questions and a few more.
Doing it Easy vs. Doing it Right
Let’s focus on promotional products and custom branded merchandise, in particular. But try to think of them not as a brand owner or a brand promoter, but as a customer. And then ask yourself the following:
- Why did I continue to buy items from that particular brand?
- What was it about this brand’s promotional products that made me lose interest?
- What was it about this other brand’s promotional products that made me keep coming back to it?
- How often do I use the items I got from a brand and why did I not use them more/less often than that?
- Are the items I received something that I would personally give to someone else as a present?
- What does the selection of these items say about the company, at least to me?
Once you have the answers, weigh down the opposites, ie the positives and the negatives. Then consider all of the promotional items that you either outright hated, didn’t like, or simply didn’t care for but kept anyway. And yes, all of that is incredibly relevant for any brand promoter.
Here’s a quick example. Let’s say that you perused the services of a law firm, and that they decided to give you a few promotional items. For years now, you kept receiving pens and paperweights with their logo on them. That right there is a sign of a shortcut being taken — the brand is using low-cost and somewhat dull items to reward your loyalty.
Now compare that to the internet service provider you have a contract with. Their promotional gift to you was a 16GB flash drive that folds into a neat little card. Not only is the gift incredibly creative, but it’s functional and it fits with the tech-leaning nature of the company.
Finding Success in 5 Easy Steps
OK, so you now understand that you need to consider what product you’re getting your customers and that it can’t just be any run-of-the-mill item. But it doesn’t stop there. In fact, there are a few key steps that you need to go through in order to make sure your company sees some substantial growth that’s specifically related to your promo items.
Step #1: Defining a Goal
Every brand ought to have a goal in mind. That goal can literally be anything, from increased sales to a certain revenue limit you aim to break. It can even be something as simple as getting people to subscribe to your social media and your email newsletter.
Goals are key because they help you keep track of what you’re doing. Everything your brand handles, including promotional products, ought to be in service of that goal. And once you achieve it, set yourself another goal and work towards it. Proper focus actually eliminates the need for shortcuts, since it helps you in redirecting your efforts the right way.
Step #2: Defining a Customer
One of the main reasons behind shortcuts failing in promotional marketing is the people factor. Namely, if you simply slap your logo on one type of product and ship the products to your clients, you won’t receive the same response. Some of them simply won’t care for a gift card or a pencil holder, or a calendar, or even a mug.
So, in order to succeed, you will need to do a bit of research and figure out what your target demographic is. Account for age, gender, economic status, and frequency of purchases, and continue researching from there. In addition, figure out the best methods of shipping the promotional items to your customers. You’ll also need to find an effective way to keep in touch with them after the first purchase.
Step #3: Innovation and Creativity
Once again, to demonstrate this step and how vital it is, we will use a pen as an example:
- If you simply send a pen with your brand logo, in a plain brown envelope, with nothing but the address of the recipient, that person will likely not be a return customer.
- If you send an interactive pen with a flashlight and a touchscreen rubber tip, in smooth-looking slim cardboard packaging, with a personalized note to the recipient themselves, you have yourself a return customer and a free viral promoter.
It goes without saying, but the first option takes little to no effort. The second one, while somewhat demanding and price, is guaranteed to get your brand new clients.
Step #4: Proper Distribution
Promotional product distributors that know what they’re doing will focus on more than simply selling an item. They will, in fact, go all out in promoting your brand and presenting the item to potential buyers in the most creative, effective way possible. Their task is to invoke certain emotional responses from customers that resonate and remain long-lasting. After all, an individual that connects to your product on a deeper level is a loyal customer.
A Few Thoughts at the End
Handling promotional products is a process that takes a long time to get right. To put it simply, taking shortcuts at any point along the way will simply lose you money in the long run. But more importantly, it will not help you retain any brand loyalty from customers. With that in mind, focus on selling promotional products the right way and you’ll see the fruits of your labor for years.