The hot buzzword this year is disruption. It is what all the startups and tech companies are trying to create as they fight each other for your attention. They battle over Twitter, Facebook, & niche sites targeting typical users. The marketers pore over data, do A/B testing, and examine their excel sheets like a doctor looking over x-rays. Marketers are also now facing the challenge of “banner blindness.” Banner blindness is where you ignore the advertisement banners on an article or web page.
There is a simple offline solution that many companies think about but don't use, their swag, or promotional products. This is what brings your brand off the screen and into the physical world where your brand also needs to exist. This strategy includes handing someone a useful product, and in doing so putting your brand in their face every day.
Let me pose a question to you. Do you remember that ad you saw a week ago on Facebook for something you had no interest in? How about the digital advertisements that pop up when playing a game on your cell phone? No? Ok, do you remember your favorite pen or journal you received at a conference? What about that water bottle you received when you signed on to your new position at your company? Of course you do, because they are helpful products!
Virtually every company buys swag. They usually start with some t-shirts. Oh, and don't forget the stickers for everyone's laptops. Well, that's fine when you are starting out and have a small team. What about when your brand and company starts to grow? When you start scaling your business from a couple of hundred customers to thousands? T-shirts alone won't cut it. Time to put some thought into how your brand will look on swag.
A typical mistake companies make is the result of a tight budget. They will buy low-cost items. Some examples are a can cooler (because everyone can use one), or a fidget spinner, which was a trend this year. These are great options for a tailgate or other similar situations. But what about if you're attending an event where you may be trying to secure investors or new users of your product. Does a can cooler present the right image of a company marketing to investors? If you are going to use some of your marketing budget for an item, why not use a product that will fit with your brand strategy?
Choosing the right strategy with your service or product will help you grow your brand's recognition & marketing efforts as well. Promotional products have some of the best impression rates compared to all the other channels of advertising. Calendars, for example, once given out are visible for an entire year. And writing instruments have a 1/10th of a cent cost per impression according to a recent study. Now I know some of you reading this will say there's no report to generate or track the conversion rate on this product. Yes, you are right. There is no report to generate how the one item you gave to one person at a conference may have converted or not. But, some studies have shown how useful and effective promotional products are. You can read some of those in this article -
*Click here to read my article, “How to better utilize your marketing budget with Promotional Products”
If you're like me, you like examples of ideas to reinforce what you have read. I thought I would share some scenarios with you on how to have an effective strategy with your swag. If your product or service has to do with vehicles, you could opt for something as simple as bumper magnets. If you want to stand out, try something like custom made car mats, so your target sees your logo every time they drive. If you have a mobile application, you can choose something simple like a phone wallet. A trending item right now is Popsockets®, which stick to the back of your phone to make it easier to hold. The next step up would be something that has a high perceived value like a phone charger.
After reading this, you may not be sure what product you should look at that would best align with your strategy. I would suggest speaking to a promotional product specialist. Another suggestion is to read my “Top 5 tips for buying promotional products” to get started.