Never Underestimate the Power of the Branded Pen
We all know that the pen is mightier than the sword, but it also might be mightier than an advertisement when used as part of a promotional product strategy. That’s the assessment of the Advertisement Specialty Institute (ASI) after interviewing more than 450 consumers in major U.S. cities.
The research group found that advertising specialties — promotional products branded with company logos and messages — beat out all forms of TV, radio and print advertising as the most cost-effective advertising medium available. And that mighty pen could be the best ink your company receives. ASI reports that writing instruments are the most-recalled advertising specialty items, followed by shirts, caps and bags.
Pack Your Bags: Promo Products Travel Far
When planning a promotional products strategy, consider ways to complement your integrated marketing efforts with advertising specialty items. Here are some creative uses for promotional items:
At your next trade show or community event, give out reusable shopping bags branded with your logo, contact information and tagline. Even if the recipient doesn’t use it, changes are that bag will be passed along to someone who will carry it. Some studies show that up to 66 percent of promotional product recipients give away branded items to colleagues or friends, meaning that bag will travel far and provide your company with even more brand exposure.
The Award Reward
Instead of simply sending your best customers thank-you letters for their ongoing relationships with your company, create branded awards they could display in their offices. ASI found that recipients hold on to awards for 7.4 months on average, rewarding you with daily advertising and top-of-mind awareness.
Promotional product recipients value style. When unveiling a new company logo or product, extend your branding efforts by producing apparel, such as t-shirts or caps. Recall — the term used to define when a recipient remembers the advertiser printed on a promotional item — is nearly 100 percent on wearable items. And you get extra points for style. Receivers of branded clothing and accessories are more likely to keep these items if they consider them attractive.
Are advertising specialties (aka promotional products) the Rodney Dangerfield of integrated marketing? Not really. But with so many disparaging nicknames, it’s easy to forget just how much impact, value, cheer and goodwill promotional products can add to a campaign or event.
The fact is that advertising specialties is a multi-billion industry, trusted and relied upon by the world’s most successful brands and agencies. When a campaign calls for a memorable and tactile execution, offering great value and affordable cost-per impression, promotional products usually top the list.
Versatile, Flexible, Cost Effective
But for many integrated marketers the real appeal of advertising specialty products is their creative flexibility and versatility. An experienced promotional products consultant can help you develop a virtually unlimited number of ideas and executions to support external and internal marketing programs, such as:
What to Look For
As with most service companies, quality, selection, support and experience can vary widely among ad specialty providers. Whether you choose an established, nationally known provider or a small boutique, remember that their job is to help you select promotional products that:
For more advice and tips on developing better promotional products campaigns, use this handy checklist.
Advertising specialties, by any other name, remain essential tools in the integrated marketer’s toolbox. A well-conceived campaign, supported by an experienced consultant or provider, can help you generate leads, drive traffic, create goodwill, and leave an impression that lasts for years. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to call it “geegaw.”
Toyota introduced the Prius c with an integrated marketing campaign aimed specifically at first-time car buyers—who also happen to be city-dwelling millennials. Taking into consideration the youthful, fun spirit of the Prius c, Toyota partnered with Hasbro to create “The Game of Life with Prius c.”
As stated by Bill Fay, group vice president marketing, in Toyota’s news release, “The Prius c campaign acknowledges the fact that buying a car is a big decision, as well as a new experience for many in this demographic. We wanted to give our customers something entertaining and engaging, yet familiar, they could identify with while introducing a vehicle to help them navigate this exciting new chapter in their lives.”
“Entertaining and engaging, yet familiar” is an interesting assumption. For baby boomers, the Game of Life was a fixture in their living rooms—and now in their memories. Do millennials have the same connection to this game?
Hitting All the Highlights
Toyota’s integrated marketing campaign certainly contains all the bells and whistles that typically engage millennials. For instance, digital programs, including those in partnership with YouTube, Facebook, Hype Machine, Pandora and Hulu, will leverage all digital screens—Web, mobile and tablet—to support the target audience’s media behavior. Additional partner collaborations will feature first-of-their-kind executions, such as a mobile spinwheel integration with Urbanspoon, custom Prius c badges on BuzzFeed, and sponsored free apps available on Amazon.com for the Kindle Fire.
The Prius c YouTube landing page greets visitors with a virtual game board where they interact with a series of videos on tips and tricks for navigating some of life’s more daunting tasks, such as “Car Buying 101,” “Wallet Wisdom” and “Tech Talk.” Likewise the Prius c section of the Toyota.com website features the bright colors and imagery of “The Game of Life” game board.
Similarly designed print ads are now appearing in major lifestyle publications, such as Time, People, InStyle andSports Illustrated. Billboards are being displayed in several markets. In addition, Toyota is running two TV commercials, “Malti-poo” and “Dolphin Tattoo,” that support the Game of Life campaign.
Toyota is certainly hitting all the highlights with the “The Game of Life with Prius c” campaign. But will millennials respond to this whimsical approach? Only time will tell.
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Are you using promotional items?
For more than 200 years, promotional products have integrated their way into daily life, serving not only as useful tools, but as powerful, long-lasting advertising. But how do recipients feel about receiving promotional products? The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) conducted a study fielded by MarketTools Inc. to answer this question.
The study found that, if free promotional products were being handed out by an advertiser at an event, mall or tradeshow:
Other findings from the study reveal that:
One of the most interesting results came when respondents were asked to think of a promotional product they’d received in the past two years and to recall the specific product, the advertiser and the message. A whopping 76.2% of respondents were able to bring to mind all three key pieces of information.
Businesses are continually challenged to find new ways to cut through the clutter. According to this PPAI survey, integrating a promotional product into a complete direct marketing campaign is a great way to not only reach your target audiences, but more importantly, to resonate with them.
Are you DELIVERING the right message?
Research indicates that 85% of your customers likely live or work within a five-mile radius of your business. If strong signage is not a part of your overall marketing strategy, you’re probably not attracting as many customers as you could be.
Stop Here Please!
To convince customers to stop at your business instead of driving right on by, your sign must be designed with enough color contrast for the information to be seen or read from a distance. The first time someone reads your sign, he or she should immediately be able to understand the most important information—what you are selling. A brief, simple message, in conjunction with eye-catching visual features one would expect for your particular type of business, is essential.
Of course, the use of your logo, company colors, tagline, etc. on your sign should be consistent with your letterhead, business cards, print ads and more. Coordinated imagery and messaging build recall and recognition and help brand your business in the minds of your customers.
If you’re trying to enhance your brand message and expand its visibility, consider vehicle graphics. Remember the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile? It was first created in 1936 to promote Oscar Mayer’s products at grocery stores across the country. While you might not see very many hot dog-shaped cars on the road today, more and more companies are using vehicle graphics in much the same way to boost their branding efforts.
Vehicle graphics can be placed on a car, truck, van, bus, fleet, motorcycle or just about anything you can think of. From Mary Kay cosmetics pink Cadillacs to local merchants in white vans decorated with logos, photos and contact information, vehicle graphics attract a lot of attention. They also generate millions of impressions over time and garner even more exposure for a longer period of time, especially when the vehicle is driven or parked in a highly visible area.
Different types of businesses need to employ different marketing strategies to attract the right customers. Strong outdoor signage coupled with vehicle graphics will command the attention of your potential customers every time they pass your business—or your vehicle.
One thing that savvy marketers understand is that, even when you’re doing B2B marketing, you’re still marketing to a real human being. So there’s a very good chance you’re marketing to a person with a pet, since 68% of households in this country share their space with a pet. Why not abandon the tried-and-true-tchotchke formula and shake things up with pet-themed promotional products? For example, consider:
Now consider what these items can do for your marketing efforts.
Pet promo items are unique
It’s true that a clever, well-thought of promotional product can break through the clutter, and that there are some innovative, useful products that work both for internal and external audiences. But chances are good your prospects probably receive (and then immediately throw out) the standards, like t-shirts, ball-point pins and calendars. A pet tag, doggie bandana, or toy can help you stand out, which can help you make an impression.
Associate Your Brand with Powerful Emotions
It’s scientific fact: interacting with our pets produces oxytocin, or the “love hormone” (and at least in dogs, the feeling may be mutual), a neurotransmitter that is associated with powerful and positive emotions—it helps us love, trust, and make bonded connections. Now, imagine what’s going to happen when your prospect is clipping your branded tag to his or her dog’s collar, or playing a round of catch. As your prospect’s brain is flooded with oxytocin and pet love, he or she is also going to associate your brand with those moments.
There’s just one caveat
Before integrated marketers invest in thousands of pet toys, they need to invest in maintaining a bullet-proof list: after all, receiving a pet toy in the mail might be confusing to a prospect who doesn’t have a pet at all! So it’s essential that you know whom you’re talking to.
Putting it all together to get your customer to sit, stay, roll over, and beg
So now that you have the genius ideas to court clients by appealing to their pets, you’ve still got to hone in on the audience, what the bigger campaign is going to look like, and what else you’re going to do to lure them deeper into the funnel. Keep reading for more genius ideas that will help with all of the above.