So, what exactly are promotional products? Pretty much any item that advertises an organisation’s brand, logo, slogan, product or service. There are currently over 750,000 different types of promotional products in the marketplace according to ASI (Ad Specialty Institute) with thousands of items being imprinted and handed out every week. But what defines a good quality promotional product? Sawgrass’ education manager, Jimmy Lamb, explains.
A key marketing concept for a promotional product is that it’s seen by multiple people. Each view is referred to as an impression. A good quality item gets hundreds of impressions over its lifetime.
To ensure that happens, the product should be a usable item that is also visual, otherwise it might get relegated to a desk drawer or the bin.
In reality, the market is flooded with promotional products that get very few impressions. For example, the pen. Think about it, the imaging is small and it gets hidden in someone’s hand when being used. And over time the image rubs off and when the ink pen runs dry it gets discarded. What makes it so popular? The cost.
The tragic thing about product cost is that people get blinded by pound signs, instead of thinking through what they actually get for their money… or not. This is a great example of the concept of ROI (return on investment) and it’s something that literally should be discussed in every sales presentation.
Let’s say a company buys 100 ink pens at €0.10 each and hands them out to 100 different people. It’s impossible to say how many people will actually see the branding on each ink pen, but logic says one – the recipient. Thus, the total impressions will probably run about 100 at a cost of €0.10 each. Of course, if each time that the user writes with the ink pen, they notice the logo and feel compelled to buy something, then it’s an entirely different story, but it’s also highly unlikely.
Now what if a company buys 48 sublimated coffee mugs with their logo and hand them out to 48 prospective or existing clients. Initially that is 48 impressions at about €8.00 each, very pricey compared to the ink pen. But, if each of those 48 people drinks from their mug on a daily basis over the life of the mug, then chances are a lot of other people are going to see the branding. If five impressions were made per day that would be 25 per work week, 100 per month, 1,200 per year, per mug. With an easy 10-year life span, that could conceivably yield 12,000 impressions per €8.00 mug at a cost of €0.07 per impression. Of course, that is all speculation, but the theoretical numbers do illustrate the likelihood that the mug is much more powerful tool than the ink pen.
These are the kinds of concepts that can make you successful as a promotional products source. Obviously, you won’t be able to produce thousands of different items, and that’s ok, because the only thing you need to deliver are a few good quality items that deliver a high number of impressions.
With its low equipment and production cost, sublimation is an affordable solution for any shop. And it’s versatile enough to produce hundreds of high margin items, yet simple enough to setup and start printing within an hour.
Regardless of the process, the key is to create usable products that get lots of exposure. One of the top ways to do that is through personalisation. Let’s go back to the coffee mug as an example.
To maximise visibility, you want the end-user to not only use the product, but use it routinely. In the office, in meetings, in the break room, walking down the hallway, etc.
The best way to make that happen is to add the end-user’s name to the logo. Now instead of a commodity, the mug is a special product that was created specifically for its user. Because of this, a personalised mug has more value to the company whose logo is on it, and thus you can charge more for this added benefit, even though it costs you almost nothing in media costs to add a name.
Personalised promotional products are a hot new trend, but few decoration companies are offering them because they aren’t setup to produce single pieces. Again, sublimation fits the bill nicely, and it’s not limited to coffee mugs.
If you are looking to expand your business reach, then certainly promotional products offer a viable solution. You probably already deal with plenty of organisations who routinely invest in promotional items, so it should be an easy process to start pitching it to them. Make yourself stand out with unique approaches in terms of products and images, and be sure to have a compelling argument as to why they should focus on the end result, rather than just the price tag.
Ultimately, a good quality promotional product will generate far more money than it costs, with better results coming from products that have a clear message.