by Tony Vidler
Giving promotional items as “thank you’s” is not as straightforward as many professionals seem to think. The promo gift seems more often to be “promo” than “gift”.
I’d suggest that is a waste of money in the main, as most consumers today are very quick indeed to dump stuff that they think is not immediately useful.
This week I went to 2 events where “thank you” gifts were provided. One was a cardboard folder full of brochures extolling the products of the event provider…and a cheap plastic pen. The whole lot went in the bin before I’d left the building.
Then I went to one which was “invitational” and had a distinct sense of exclusivity to begin with. A far more intimate and engaging event which was well worthwhile…and a beautifully wrapped (in gift paper!) surprise thank you for everyone there. It looked a substantial little package, and created intrigue – especially because nobody was going to open it publicly to see what it was. It transpired that it was a lovely little power bank. VERY handy thing to have, and relatively high value and high quality. It did of course have the sponsors logo on it as a permanent reminder…but I can live with that. In fact I don’t mind at all…and I am willing to bet nobody threw that away.
The difference in “user experience” between the two is stark: one was just promotional junk of zero value to me; the other was of immediate AND long term value, and was a pleasant surprise. Which of the two event sponsors do I think far more highly of?
So here is the lesson:
Poor quality marketing collateral or trashy trinkets tell your market more than many firms realise. Apart from being a waste of money, it conveys a very poor image and actually undermines the entire marketing effort.
Here is the choice I see being made constantly in financial services:
1. Budget: $2,000. Spend $2 per potential prospect and have 1,000 low quality pieces of marketing collateral.
2. Budget: $2,000. Spend $20 per potential prospect and have 100 quality pieces of marketing collateral.
The majority seem to choose Option 1. The result is a dusty collection of trinkets or junk mini-brochures cluttering a corner of the office that cannot be given away, and when they are given away they are treated with the same disdain that we give to the person standing on the street corner handing out tacky flyers to a local nightclub. We ditch the nightclub flyer immediately, if we were unable to avoid the urgent thrust into our hands it in the first place.
Those who choose Option 2 find that they become far more selective about who they give their marketing collateral to, which tends to make it more effective to begin with. An image of quality can be conveyed immediately, which enhances your ability to generate interest or desire to consider doing business with you.
It is a no-brainer: Get the best you can afford, and then use it selectively to appeal to the right sort of clients. Go for quality and functionality wherever possible. A rubiks’ cube or a set of desktop petanque balls are cute and all, but what am I really going to do with them? The test is “would I keep this gift because I want to use it?”
When it comes to creating or sourcing promo or marketing collateral, use the following great tips:
The promo gift is really a reflection of your professional image rather than an opportunity to just get your logo in front of someone.