A small business owner who is implementing a new marketing strategy has a lot to consider when deciding which promotional products to use. Some forms of promotional marketing require careful strategies to ensure the maximum return on investment, and certain shortcuts should definitely be avoided.
Many marketing managers question the cost-effectiveness of promotional products – larger projects can cost a lot of money, and can take up a large part of a limited budget. But businesses can take comfort in the fact that promotional marketing has been proven effective – if distributed correctly.
Keep the target audience in mind
Promotional products can be geared toward any number of demographics, but it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a “universal” audience. There will always be a small percentage of people who will either be unable to use or have no interest in certain promotional items, and a small business owner must avoid these promotional marketing faux pas.
For instance, it would be a bad idea to give out a bunch of chocolates to candy companies – they are most likely already inundated by surplus sweets that workers can get for free every day. The demographics of employees must be evaluated as well, because imagine the effectiveness of handing out promotional purses to a business comprised mostly of males.
One of the best solutions to this challenge is to try to give out the most practical gifts possible. Calendars, pens and mugs will find their way into daily use and can be enjoyed by mostly everyone. These items can ensure that a message or brand image is communicated to the largest possible market.
Inappropriate times to deliver promotional items
Especially when the target audience is a potential client or business partner, the general rule of thumb is to avoid giving out promotional products during a personal event. For example, it might seem like a great idea to hand out promotional pens during a wedding, considering the large variety in the age and profession of the people attending. However, some people might see such a move as a mass-marketing strategy and an intrusion upon what would normally be a non-commercial ceremony.
But there are ways around this rule that can help an entrepreneur establish their brand. A special corporate gift to the bride and groom will display a small business’ respect and personal interest in the well-being of its customers – this trait is something patrons value much more than a flimsy attempt at branding.
Stay within financial boundaries
Proper budgeting is also one of the most important things to keep in mind. It is always tempting to shower potential clients with expensive gifts, but this can quickly drain marketing resources. A small business must remain grounded in the reality of available funds and find creative ways to work around budget constraints.
A reduced budget does not necessarily mean a less effective marketing strategy. Buying promotional products in bulk often results in smaller shipping costs and discounts. As long as the quality is not diminished, it may be a better strategy to buy a hundred pocket calendars than ten expensive paperweights. The potential audience will increase by a thousand percent, and calendars are just as practical as paperweights and can therefore be geared toward the same people.
There is never a “wrong” time to use promotional products – a well-planned marketing strategy will take all of these factors in mind to ensure that the appropriate audience is reached at the right events, all while staying within specific financial means.