Posted by: brandextenders | October 1, 2010

5 Reasons Not To Use Promotional Products!

How’s your business these days? Ask most anyone and you’re bound to hear stories of gloom and doom, of layoffs and salary cuts. Not since the Great Depression has our country faced such daunting times in our business and personal lives.

Promotional products are typically one of the first types of marketing to be cut in hard economic times albeit they are usually one of the first to rebound as well. Companies look at them as marketing fluff unlike radio, television and newspapers which still account for the majority of advertising spend especially for larger companies.

To make it easy to justify the decision to cut promo products from the budget, below are five reasons why you shouldn’t use promotional products in your marketing mix:

  1. You don’t want your marketing message to stay in front of your customers. Sure, lots of companies create catchy slogans and tag lines using traditional media, but you can be sure they’re spending millions upon millions on TV, radio and newspapers to help people remember that jingle. Why would you want to give someone a product that is creative and keeps that catchy slogan in front of your customers an average of eight months?
  2. They’re inexpensive so how effective could they be? Despite the fact the average promotional product stays with the recipient an average of eight (8) months, it makes more sense to spend money on traditional media that’s here and gone in literally a moment. When was the last time you saw someone writing a note at work with a radio commercial or using a newspaper ad to drink coffee from? Which do you think is more effective: a $5 branded coffee cup that’s used each weekday for eight months or a $500 radio commercial that’s over in 30 seconds?
  3. They’re too expensive. The polar opposite of reason #2 is those buyers who say promo products are just too expensive to justify the cost. Take that same $5 coffee cup from reason #2 and say it’s used three days a week for eight months (the average time a promo product is kept). That’s 12 days a month or a total of 96 days during those eight months that someone is looking at the coffee cup with a logo and tagline line on it. Taking the $5 cost and dividing it by 96 gives you a whopping five cents per day cost of not only the recipient seeing the message, but co-workers also seeing it in your hand or sitting on your desk. $500 radio spot for: 30 seconds or five-cent per day coffee mug for 96 days?
  4. They’re too targeted. Promotional products are one of the most targeted forms of advertising. It probably makes more sense to spend lots of money on newspaper ads or TV commercials that will hopefully catch a few percent of those reading or watching at that very moment in time. Reach your 100 top prospects with 100 relevant, catchy promotional gifts? Nah!
  5. Can’t find the right product. There are over 750,000 products in the promotional product world you can put an imprint on with scores more being created weekly. Granted, I wouldn’t recommend two-thirds of those products to my customers, but of the remaining third I can assure you there are many items that will meet the criteria and price-point for your project. Not finding the right product simply means you aren’t using the right promotional products professional to aid in your search.

Hopefully you caught my hint of sarcasm because he bottom line is if you want your message to stay in front of clients on a reasonably priced product that is targeted to only those you want to reach then a promotional product is your answer. And by the way, using promotional products in conjunction with other media will not only increase the impact of your message, but increase the ROI of the overall campaign as well.

And if you can figure out a way to use a  :60 second TV commercial as a tote bag to carry your groceries home please let me know.

With 24 years in promotional marketing, Steve Woodburn works with clients to develop creative and measurable solutions that solve their marketing needs using promotional products, uniform programs, online company stores, point-of-sale initiatives and rewards and recognition. He builds long-term relationships and becomes a trusted advisor and consultant his clients can turn to for all their brand extension needs. You can reach him at:

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