Posted by: brandextenders | January 28, 2011

Hitting the Bulls-Eye With Promotional Products

Imagine yourself an expert marksman with a gun, bow and arrow or maybe even darts. If you close your eyes and imagine you’re on the range, what do you see? Do you envision there being bullet holes all over the target or would it be more preferable if they were all clumped within the small area of the bulls-eye?

For most of us, hitting the bulls-eye over and over again will give us a much better score than will scattering lead all across the target. The same can be said for advertising; the more targeted your message is and the more that message relates to the audience you’re targeting, the more successful it will be. Meaning it will generate revenue or whatever other form of currency your brand is after.

So what does targeted advertising look like? Spending millions for a :30 or :60 second ad on the Super Bowl probably wouldn’t come under the definition of targeted advertising nor would radio or newspaper advertising. While these may be good forums to reach the masses and can be effective, they aren’t going to do much for you brand if you have a much defined niche of customers.

I admit upfront I am biased when it comes to promotional products and their ability to target with precision a group of prospects or customers. A study by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), an information and services provider in the promotional marketing world, shows that promotional products have a low cost-per-impression (CPI) compared with other media, have the ability to influence the recipient and are kept and used. They are the only form of media that has the potential to touch all your senses.

Here are five specific ways you can use promotional products to target a specific group of customers, prospects, donors, voters, etc.:

  • Direct Mail: Have you ever heard the words, “lumpy mail?” Think for a moment about your typical day’s mail; bills, letters, postcards and perhaps a magazine or two. What do you open first? The bills? Not likely. What if there was an envelope addressed to you and it wasn’t flat, but three-dimensional or lumpy. Chances are you would open it first to see what’s inside and that’s the point of lumpy mail. Tying a promotional product to an offer or request is more likely to be noticed an acted upon than just sending a letter by itself. Target a specific group with lumpy mail and you’ll be amazed at the results.
  • Trade shows: Walking a trade show floor can get tiring and after a while all the booths look the same. Oh, but up ahead you see a crowd gathered and when you arrive you find they are handing out a unique promotional product related to their product or service. Are you more likely to spend a few minutes talking with this company in return for a useful product? Studies show most people are and if you are exhibiting at a trade show then your target audience is most likely there.
  • Sales Calls: I’m always amazed by how willing people are to help if you are friendly and offer a small gift in appreciation. Inexpensive pens, letter openers and sticky note pads are a great way to start a conversation with a receptionist or administrative assistant. I’ve been able to garner lots of information on companies and people I am looking to meet by simply asking questions and at the end offering a small imprinted gift as a way of saying thanks.
  • Follow-Up: You’ve made a pitch or proposal to a group of people who could mean a big sale or donation for your organization. Target these people afterwards with a hand written thank you and a small, tastefully imprinted promotional product. A hand written note in itself is a rarity these days and including a useful product that is creative and useful won’t hurt your cause.
  • Employee Appreciation: I work with a health care group that every year during National Hospital Week gives each and every employee (3,800 of them) a promotional product as a thank you for their hard work. These are typically lifestyle gifts with the health care group’s logo subtly imprinted and the response is amazing. No, this won’t keep dissatisfied employees from complaining or quitting, but it will show their employer cares.

Promotional Dart Board

Now if you want to really target your prospects  send them a fold-up cloth target with magnetic darts they can hang in their office. Hopefully they won’t put a photo of your face on the target and throw their darts at it!

With 25 years in promotional marketing, Steve Woodburn works with clients to develop creative and measurable solutions that solve their marketing needs. Promotional products, uniform programs, online company stores, point-of-sale initiatives and rewards and recognition are all included in his marketing toolbox. 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 Staples Promotional Products:


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JLmade, Mash Bonigala. Mash Bonigala said: Hitting the Bulls-Eye With Promotional Products « Musings from a … […]

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