Each year companies spend millions on advertising specialties -- customized mugs, pens, pencils, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, hats, calendars, day planners, matchbooks and hundreds of other premiums and novelties.
And yet how many of those companies actually demand a return on their investment? Most just assume it's the price you pay to keep the company name out there among the (insert one) public, customers or prospects.
Nowadays, though, if your company is spending for advertising specialties without accountability, it's only a matter of time before it puts you in a bind. Every marketing and advertising expenditure has to be justified.
So let's look at sure-fire methods for turning unique premiums and novelties into something you never expected. Sales.
Personalize the recipient, not the sender
Sure the company logo would look great customized on a 1995 calendar. But will the person you give it to even care?
When selecting a premium or novelty, your first priority is considering your audience. Is it your prospects? Customers? The media? Draw up a profile. Then consider only premiums and novelties which will be well received.
A recent effort of MOC entailed rewarding customers of a Fortune 500 telecommunications company for maintaining their long-distance service despite moving to a new address. The premium selected was brass door knockers.
If you had just moved to a new home, which would solicit more business from you --the brass door knocker or the calendar? Never forget appropriateness, selectivity and originality count big in the advertising specialties game.
Whet their anticipation
All too often advertising specialties are delivered without any consideration to packaging. Recipients find the novelty or premium inside the package with a letter at best. This is unfortunate. These companies are missing out on a golden opportunity to deliver a memorable message by capitalizing on receiver's anticipation, I wonder what's inside?
When you send out a novelty or premium, whet their anticipation with the right packaging and presentation. One of the best ways to do this is with a box. Popularized by advertising agencies, the box approach works like this: A headline on the outside of the box captures the receiver's attention and hints at what is inside. Our inquiring receiver opens the box and the novelty/premium serves as the payoff. A second message drives home the point.
Boxes are ideal because you're combining packaging, presentation and product (novelty/premium) into one cohesive sales message. You also have greater freedom in choosing the novelty or premium. Your selection isn't required to stand alone. As long as it fits with your packaging and presentation, you can send almost anything.
The next time you try advertising specialties, whet their anticipation by sending it in a box. It'll make all the difference in the world.
Divide and conquer
Utilizing novelties or premiums as a powerful marketing weapon isn't cheap. Compared to other efforts, advertising specialties are expensive to produce, package and delivery.
Consequently, you'll have to be very selective. Target a list from one to several hundred. One? If it's a potential major customer, the right premium and the right presentation could impress the decision maker. And the cost would be minimal compared to your salesperson's time.
You can use advertising specialties to promote a new product to your best customers, break the ice for your sales force, solicit media coverage for an upcoming event, you name it. Just be sure to keep your list targeted and manageable.
Marketing's box of chocolates
As they say in Forrest Gump, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you'll get." That same principle applies to marketing with advertising specialties.
Recipients have no idea what's inside the package you sent, but hope springs eternal that it's good. They're anxious and receptive. Someone sent me a gift! Could you ask for a better frame of mind for your prospects and customers to be in?
The next time your company spends on advertising specialties for the masses, consider the sales potential of a premium or novelty personally selected, wrapped just for the occasion and addressed to the individual. Sounds a lot like Christmas doesn't it?
Smart Bomb Marketing is a publication of Michael Ogden Creative. A firm committed to providing companies with surfproof advertising, including ads, brochures, direct response, radio and television commercials. If you'd like to give your competitors some sleepless nights, call or fax Michael Ogden at 816-455-4395.