Promo Faux Pas - Promotional Products No-Nos

Promo Faux Pas

Promotional products are the most powerful advertising medium because they both promote your business or event AND they are tangible, usable items that will continue to be used by the recipients. This means your advertising will live on for months or years if you choose the right promotional items.

There are times when promotional products can actually damage your brand if you haphazardly buy items without planning effectively. However, it only takes a little thought to avoid these simple, yet all too common mistakes.

Promo Faux Pas Exposed

Wrong Gifts For Your Recipients – For this scenario, let’s talk about that hip, Grandpa whose hobby is playing music. He has mad skills on the guitar, and his vocals are still amazing. Additionally, he is tech-savvy. He has a favorite Bluetooth speaker which is always playing his favorite playlist on a loop in the background. For his day job, he sells Medicare supplemental insurance, so his customers are 65 and older. Because of his love for music and tech products, he decides to buy promotional Bluetooth speakers to help promote his services. While these items are great gifts for tech-lovers, it may not the best gifts for his target audience since the majority won’t likely be as tech-savvy as Gramps.

Promotional products should be thoughtfully selected based upon the main demographics of your clientele. Often, you may need to select two to three different gifts to meet the desires/needs of your customers. The gifts should be age-appropriate and sometimes gender appropriate. For example, if you are giving away screen printed t-shirts, it’s always a good idea to have a variety of both men’s’ and ladies’ style shirts.

By giving away gifts that don’t fit the demographics of your customers, you are wasting your advertising budget. Worse, you are saying to those customers that you don’t really know them, making you and your company seem “out of touch” with their needs/desires.

Segment your customers into groups to determine the most appropriate giveaways for each group. This doesn’t mean every single customer will love that item, but it does dramatically increase the chances of those items making a bigger, positive impact.

Cheap Thank You Gifts

There’s nothing worse than giving away cheap promotional products that either don’t function well or are known to be low priced items, right? Well, actually there is something worse. Giving away those cheap promotional items as “thank you” gifts to your customers is much worse. It is insulting and it shows you don’t appreciate their business. The old saying, “A for effort,” doesn’t apply to this situation. This practice simply makes you look cheap, which is harmful to your company image and your individual professional image.

If you want to thank your customers for being loyal, you have to give high-quality promotional items. When buying thank you gifts, base the value of the gifts upon the amount your loyal clients spend per year. If they spend $10,000 per year, a $30 or $40 thank you gift doesn’t seem unrealistic.

High-quality means a sturdy and stylish backpack, not a thin, drawstring backpack.

Give away a high-quality metal pen set, not a cheap plastic ballpoint pen.

Gift a durable canvas bag, not a cheap non-woven polypropylene tote bag.

Your clients WILL notice the difference between a quality gift and a cheap gift, and if you choose to go the “cheap” route, it will hurt you. Your clients will feel underappreciated, and they will become less loyal, opening more opportunity for your competitors to snag your clients.

On the other hand, by showing true appreciation with useful and high-quality promotional gifts, you will help gain a loyalty that your competitors won’t be able to touch.

Promotional Products That Aren’t Useful

With well over 1 million SKUs in the promotional products industry, quite a few of the products have very specific purposes. It’s great to give away products with a specific purpose as long as they tie in with your company, profession, or your overall marketing theme. However, when giving away promotional products, make sure they do have a purpose.

An underlying goal should be to ensure the promotional items you give away will continue to be used giving your company repeated advertising exposure (at no extra cost).

An example would be promotional stress balls. These are perhaps one of the most overdone promotional items in the industry. While they have a great purpose for physical therapists to use with their patients, they don’t have much of a purpose for those who are not in PT. Sure, you can throw them at your co-workers, but realistically, they don’t reduce your stress. Randomly giving away these items with no purpose and without a themed campaign doesn’t make sense.

Another example would be custom koozies. If you are hosting an event at which you are serving canned drinks, koozies are a must-have item. They help keep drinks colder and help prevent that awkward cold and damp handshake. However, giving away can insulators at random doesn’t make sense. Why? Because realistically, 99% of people already have a kitchen drawer full of koozies in which one more koozie probably won’t fit in that drawer. So where does that leave yours? In. The. Trash.

No More Promo Faux Pas

You work hard to gain the trust and loyalty of your clients. You also work hard for your money. Don’t weaken your customer loyalty or waste your marketing budget buying the wrong promotional products for your clients. And for the love of promo, please don’t give cheap, low-quality gifts to your customers as a way to say “thank you.” While low-priced promotional products do occasionally have purposes, they must have a purpose for your specific event or marketing theme.

Every item you purchase should have a goal or they should at least be a catalyst to reach that goal. Random promotional giveaways don’t usually work to reach your goals. Define a purpose for your promos and you’ll see a huge increase in the return on investment for your promotional products purchases.

Related Articles
Stop Insulting Your Good Clients With Cheap Promos
Promotional Products Shouldn’t Be An Afterthought
Here’s What Promotional Products Are Not
Do You Have Goals For Your Promotional Products?
Here’s Why Promotional Products Are An Investment

Patrick Black
patrick@perfectimprints.com

Patrick Black, MAS, is the founder of Perfectimprints.com and has been in the promotional products industry helping businesses and organizations since 1999. When not geeking out over the newest and greatest promotional items, you can find him paddleboarding at the beach or hanging out by the pool with his wife, three kids, and his basset hound in Fort Walton Beach, FL.