“Should I purchase branded promotional products?” That’s a question every entrepreneur eventually asks themselves. Key chains, mini flashlights, pens, and Frisbees are all items you’ve seen with the logo of your real estate office, insurance agent, or local bank. And too often, they just end up in the trash.
However, these products can be extremely helpful and effective for the right new business. Done right, they offer constant brand reinforcement, as well as walking advertisements for your brand. Your answers to the following three simple questions help ensure that your investment in promotional products has a worthwhile return.

Do I need them?

It’s easy to feel like you need promotional products for people to remember your business, but in reality, promotional products only serve two purposes: increasing brand awareness or rewarding customers. If by result of popularity, media attention, or word of mouth, you find that your business is sufficiently visible in your target market, you must then determine if you need to reward your customers with any complimentary “swag.” If neither of these two tenets is met, then branded promotional products probably don’t fit the marketing objectives of your business.

What products to use?

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make in purchasing promotional products is purchasing the wrong products. The products you select to brand with your logo should be items that either: are desired by your target market or hold some utilitarian value to its recipient. What good is a branded bottle opener for a construction company? The owner will most likely never use it outside of their home and its use (opening bottles) hardly relates to construction related decisions. A branded hammer, though… Likewise, a branded flash drive for an IT repair company is related, practical, and utilitarian. If your business does decide to purchase promotional products, be creative when thinking about the daily lives of the people in your target market.

How will the products be distributed?

The method you use to distribute your products should be based on your marketing objectives. If your goal is to recruit new customers, handing a branded pen to each one of your existing customers won’t be as effective as putting a branded pen in a welcome packet for attendees at a business expo. However, if your objective is to reward existing customers, the former will be more effective. Ensure that the method of distribution maximizes your company’s ability to reach your target market.
Promotional products can be highly effective tools for entrepreneurs as part of a larger marketing strategy and can add a tangible dimension to a campaign. Just make sure your company’s marketing objectives align with the use of promotional products, the chosen products have some value to your targeted consumers, and the products are distributed effectively.

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