Around here, we’re big believers in custom promotional products. We know, big surprise, right? And you know that promo products are an excellent addition to your organization’s marketing mix.
Of course, you want to get the most marketing mojo possible from your promotional products. You don’t want to waste time, effort and cash on products that don’t help you reach your goals, whether that’s sales, enrollment, volunteers or other measure.
That’s why it’s important to consider which custom products are right for your organization. Let’s look at some of the possibilities and pitfalls of promo product selection.
Know Your Market
The most important factor when considering promotional products of any kind is to know your market. Think about what products are most appropriate for your customers, students, staff, volunteers or visitors.
It’s true that custom products are available for virtually any organization. But some products just aren’t right for some uses.
Take funeral homes for example. You might not think of promotional products at all with this kind of business. But with careful forethought, it is possible to promote the business with proper, dignified products.
Examples of Good and Bad Promo Products
Some bad ideas are obvious. Branded coffins or cremation urns might be related to the business, but can be seen as insensitive at best, exploitative of bereaved friends and family members at worst.
Similarly, any items that conveys a frivolous or lighthearted attitude can be seen as disrespectful. That means no stress balls, fidget spinners, balloons or brightly colored items. Do nothing that appears to make light of the loss of a loved one, or trivializes death in any way.
On the other hand, subtle, appropriate products can be useful. Family members will appreciate small, tasteful items such as memorial photo frames, bookmarks or candles. Pens and notebooks are also appropriate.
If you’re promoting something such as an academic program or a bakery, you have a lot more leeway, obviously. You can use balloons, t-shirts, banners, custom coins and more.
Once again, though, it’s important to keep your audience in mind. A certain level of seriousness is best for say, a college business program as opposed to an arts festival.
Quality Means Everything
Once you’ve determined the right kinds of products for your organization, consider which specific products will work best.
There is one cardinal rule to follow when choosing promotional products: Quality is a must.
Nothing will sink your promotional efforts – and possibly even your business – faster than low-quality products that don’t work, fall apart or are simply unattractive.
Cheap plastic pens that stop working get thrown away. So do t-shirts that don’t fit properly or whose colors fade quickly. That eliminates that item’s value as a way to advance your brand. Worse, it can produce a perception of poor quality that can spread to your organization itself.
Quality products don’t necessarily cost more. Any good supplier will offer well-made products in a range of prices to suit virtually any budget. The price difference between a poor product and a better one can be surprisingly small. And the better product will yield a higher return on your investment.
Relevance Matters Too
Excessively branded products also are likely to fail. Sure, you want to promote your brand – that’s the whole point of promos, right?
That’s true, but it is possible to go overboard. Too many labels, logos or imprints can be off-putting to customers. Think subtle, not over the top.
Tech products and accessories can be an outstanding means to boost your brand. But be careful to stay up to date. There’s not much of a market for a custom imprinted CD holder today. And forget that puny little USB drive that doesn’t have room for much data. Give your prospects something they can actually use.
Promotional calendars can be a useful product, but they have their limits. Once the year is over, they’re likely to be tossed in the trash. Take that into account when you distribute them.
How to Succeed With the Right Products
There’s no secret to successfully using custom promotional products to promote your brand. It’s simply a matter of giving your prospects value. That means well-made items that are useful to the recipients.
Some products are suitable for almost any kind of promotion. Take custom printed pens and tote bags. They work equally well for a flower shop, a university, a public broadcasting station or a political group. But to really raise your brand awareness, it pays to consider what’s right for your organization, not some generic group.
For example, if you run a coffee shop, custom mugs and tumblers make ideal promos. Offer them for sale, add a discount or special coffee deal, and you’ve got both increased brand awareness and loyal customers. On the other hand, If you run a gym, go with t-shirts, yoga mats, branded water bottles and the like.
Marketing to Two Types of Consumers
If you’re running an organization that’s oriented toward kids, such as a daycare center or academic enrichment program, you essentially have two types of customers to market to. Both children and their parents can benefit from your promotional products and increase your brand awareness.
For the children, t-shirts, beach balls, balloons and other such items make great giveaways. The kids will have fun, and by taking your products to other places with their parents, they help promote your brand.
At the same time, parents will likely appreciate value-added items such as tumblers (spill-proof!), tote bags (perfect for travel necessities), even calendars (showing upcoming events) and notebooks. By appealing to both customer profiles, you boost your branding power exponentially.
Choosing the Right Products is Easy. We're Here to Help
To recap, it’s important to choose the right promotional products for your organization’s specific needs. Your goal is to select the best products that will resonate with your audience or customers. Once you can greatly expand your brand awareness and visibility.
Our sales professionals will be happy to help you decide which products will work best for you. Contact us today to find out more about how custom promo products can help your organization reach its fullest potential.
Content Director, Blogger
Rick Cundiff spent 15 years as a newspaper journalist before joining TJM Promos. He has been researching and writing about promotional products for more than 10 years. He believes in the Oxford comma, eradicating the word "utilize," and Santa Claus.