What Promotional Product Is Best?

One of the questions I get asked frequently by exhibitors is “What is the best promotional product to give away at Trade Shows?” Of course the answer is “It Depends.” Massive amounts of money are wasted on poorly thought out, poorly made and even pointless promotional products every year.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of promotional products. Like all business decisions, a little bit of strategy makes all the difference on the return that you get. As with a great deal of marketing, businesses seem to forget that the promotional product is not about them or about what they think is “cool” but it is all about their customer and their prospect. It has to meet their needs and be something that they want and will use.

Here are five of the key factors to consider when planning promotional products:

1 – What is the Outcome you want?

If you are just giving your visitors a gift then you will give them something different than if you want them to buy from you. Too often exhibitors tell me “Oh it’s just for branding purposes”. Unless you are a massive firm like Coca Cola, Apple or Ford, let go

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of the “branding” band wagon.

The outcome maybe that you want your existing customer to feel appreciated and show them you value their patronage. If that’s the case a branded Frisbee is not for you! Another outcome you may want is that that prospect see’s your logo frequently and is reminded of your services so that when the time is right they come to you.

Understanding the outcome or purpose of the promotional product is essential. So what is the Outcome you are after?

2 – What is the Value of the Gift?

What is the perceived value of the gift? This is different to what you have spent; it is what the gift means for the recipient. For example, elegant cufflinks with no branding may be seen to be far more valuable than a branded drink bottle. For others who may be in to exercise, the drink bottle will be of more value.

To understand the best value, you need to first consider who is your target market and how will they perceive the gift. Everyone will place a difference value on the gift but it is your target market or gift target and the purpose of the gift that will best define its value.

3 – Do you need Two Tier Gifting?

Some of the most cost effective use of promotional product that I have seen is two tier gifting. That is, depending on the quality of the visitor you determine their gift. Trade Show visitors are renowned for their lust for “freebies” and many of them seem to arrive early and run around collecting anything that is free. They can be managed using the Two Tier approach.

The first tier is a relatively inexpensive gift that meets your outcome needs and that you don’t mind sacrificing for low quality leads. These items are given freely to any who ask for them.

The second tier is for a high quality lead. The conversation may start when they claim a first tier gift and as your continue the discussion you find out that they are exactly the customer you are after. In return for getting further information about them you can then give them the second tier gift. A higher valued object suited to your ideal prospect.

The two tier approach ensures you are financially responsible with your marketing spend and getting the best return on that spend.

4 – What is the Cost per Impression?

This is one of the least considered but most important factors when choosing a promotional product. Too often companies spend significant money on funky items that are either single use or their prospect then turn around and give the gift to their kids, never to be seen again.

If you are putting your logo or contact details on an item, make sure it is an item that your client will see time and time again. Give your details a chance to really embed into their psyche. This is why items such as branded shirts and office equipment are so effective.

For example, if you give a prospect a branded polo shirt they may wear it on many different occasions, and then as it starts to show wear and tear, continue to wear it around the house or garden. Over a prolonged period, your cost per impression or cost every time they see your brand is very low.

Another good item for this is a branded USB key. The continual use of the key with your brand on it can work out to a low cost per impression. But if you are giving out a USB key, maximise the opportunity and load it with a PDF detailing your products and services, a short video or even a personalised message saying thanks for coming to that particular show.

What is the cost per impression of your gift?

5 – Brief your Booth Attendants on How to Distribute the Gifts

You have spent thousands of dollars on promotional items, you have a strategy for distribution, you have a specific outcome you are after when they are given out and if you don’t brief your team on what you are after, you have just wasted all of that time, effort and money. It is heart breaking to see people on the stand just distributing the products at random.

Some of the most important time you will spend on the booth is the time you spend briefing your team on what you want from the stand, your objectives for the day, how you will measure your success and how they are to use the promotional items as a marketing edge.

If you consider these five factors you are well on the way to maximising the value of promotional products when you next exhibit.

Warwick Merry is the Get More Guy, an expert in how to Get More results. He is also the Co-Founder of The Exhibiting and Sponsorship Institute.

For further information visit www.warwickmerry.com or www.EASInstitute.com

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