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Promotional Products – Investment or Expense?

“I tried promotional products once but they didn’t work for me” is a comment I’ve heard from time to time. Come to think of it, I’ve heard a similar comment relating to virtually every other marketing communications medium too.

Marketing in general, and promotional products in particular, are all an expense and can be a needless cost unless they are deployed correctly. Used properly, they can become an investment, returning many times their cost.

What makes the difference? I would say that’s in the planning. I’m an advocate for bespoke branded merchandise but even I realise that your corporate gifts or promotional freebies are only likely to be successful if incorporated into a well formulated marketing plan.

Branded merchandise can be effectively utilised at different stages of lifecycle marketing, to engage prospects, encourage sales and reward loyalty. Their main benefits are to get you(your business) noticed and remembered at that crucial point of making a purchasing decision.

Yet like any marketing activity, the success or otherwise will depend on some important preliminary thinking. Most important of these is to accurately identify your target audience/market. Effective (or ineffective) targeting makes (or breaks) your marketing campaign!

The next important step is to refine the message. Using the marketing acronym AIDA, your message should attract Attention, engage Interest, develop Desire and encourage Action to buy or, at least, find out more.

Only when the above preliminaries have been determined should you consider the best methods/media to deliver your message to your target audience. Here, marketers are spoilt for choice with dozens of options from ‘traditional’ to digital, broadcast to direct, advertising, PR, exhibiting … the list goes on.

I say methods/media because all sensible marketers will know that to be effective, you’ll require a multi-media approach, aiming to get your message in front of your target audience as often as possible, in as many different ways as possible. Herein lies the benefit of branded promotional merchandise. A functional yet desirable product that is relevant to your brand and appropriate to your customer will be appreciated and an enduring reminder of you as your customer continues to use the product.

Research* has shown that promotional products motivate action and invoke loyalty more than television, online or print advertising. So, while drawing up your 2016 Marketing Plan, consider the use of bespoke branded merchandise to get your message across. They’re a great investment!

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