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Staples | Put Promotional Goods to Work for Your Business

Put Promotional Goods to Work for Your Business

Have you overlooked promotional goods as a marketing strategy? Effectively distributed, promo items can help your company achieve a number of goals. A 1996 Baylor University1, study found that businesses use specialty advertising goods to foster goodwill, create awareness of new products, services or facilities, generate interest at trade shows, motivate dealers and retailers, reward employees, increase traffic, secure business and sales appointments, and retain customers.

Cost-effective advertising

Promo products Promo products

You can easily turn shirts, hats, golf balls, mouse pads and many other items into walking billboards for your business by stamping them with your company's name and logo. Experts agree a marketing campaign designed around promotional goods can be a successful and profitable idea. Better still, specialty advertising goods are a cost–effective way to publicize your company's name and message.

"They really are relatively inexpensive in comparison to other types of advertising... print advertising or broadcast advertising is gone, you do it and it's gone," says Cherri Gann, a public relations specialist for the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). Gann adds products, such as golf equipment, pens, calendars, mugs, or mouse pads imprinted with your company's name are likely to get extra, lasting exposure.

More and more companies are recognizing the power of promotional goods. According to PPAI, in 1999 businesses spent $15 billion buying promotional items, tripling the sales of specialty advertising products in just ten years. The top–selling promotional items are "wearables" like shirts, jackets, aprons, uniforms, and caps. Writing instruments came in second, followed by glassware/ceramics (mugs), calendars, and desk accessories.

It's easy to see why promotional goods create positive results. "Promotional products constitute the only advertising medium that has 'ingratiation' built in. People naturally like to receive gifts," says the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York. In fact, research consistently shows that promotional goods make a lasting impression.

Generate referrals and repeat customers

In 1993, a Baylor University study2 found that salespeople who handed out promo items received 22% more referrals than those who did not give out free gifts. In addition, when compared to coupons (discount offers), promotional goods produce more sales, according to a 1993 Southern Methodist University study3. Within the food delivery industry, the study found that "customers who received promotional products reordered up to 18% sooner than those who received coupons and up to 13% sooner than those who received no promotions." A similar 1994 SMU study4 of dry cleaning customers discovered that "new customers that received promotional products spent 27% more than those who received coupons."

Memorable messages

Be assured that the majority of recipients won't pitch your promotional pens or trash your T–shirts. A 1992 study done by the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York5 found that 87% of people are aware of the message on promotional products and 83% use the products.

Great giveaways

Promo apparel Promo apparel

You know why to buy promotional products. Now the question is what to buy. PPAI recommends choosing a product that relates to your company. For example, a construction company might consider ordering sticky pads shaped like hard hats. Those with a bigger budget might opt for tools imprinted with the company name and logo. PPAI assures that there are thousands of promotional products available in all price ranges.

MarktheWorld offers corporate image apparel including stylish polo shirts, caps, aprons, and tote bags. Customized apparel is a terrific business gift and, according to the Sales Marketing Network, fashionable casual–wear can also help build corporate pride and encourage appropriate dressing.

Also from are a wide array of useful and novel promotional items such as stress balls, glass tumblers, luggage tags, tote bags, chip clips, golf balls, and insulated can coolers. These items are often fun and eye–catching, but experts say don't disregard the value of typically less expensive, tried–and–true promo items like pens, pads, and magnets.

Give selectively

When you see your company's name and logo on a golf shirt or luggage tag, a sense of pride may overcome you. You may want to send your newly acquired promotional goods to everyone you know. However, experts recommend that you do not give out promotional items willy–nilly. Carefully target who will receive your new notepads and shirts. Maybe your goal is to thank your best customers and remind them to do business with you in the coming months. In this case, only send your items to your top clients. Handing out an item to everyone who walks into your office may only serve to deplete your supply — and the impact of the message.

1This information was taken from a 1996 study done by Baylor University's marketing department for the Promotional Products Association International. A mail survey was sent to 800 randomly selected promotional products distributors. A total of 264 usable questionnaires were returned for a response rate of 33%. Distributors were asked to rank industries that spent the most volume on promotional products.
2This information was taken from a 1993 study of 20 beauty consultants conducted by Baylor University's marketing department for the Promotional Products Association International.
3This information was taken from a 1993 study of approximately 900 people conducted by Southern Methodist University for the Promotional Products Association International.
4This information was taken from a 1994 study of 300 people conducted by Southern Methodist University for the Promotional Products Association International.
5This information was published on the Web site of the Sales Marketing Network in "Promotional Products: Getting Your Message Across."

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