September 12, 2012 by Contributor - 1 comment
From the dawn of consumerism, retailers have been searching for ways to make their product memorable. This has led to a situation where the marketing of products is itself a purchasable product. There are many different approaches to marketing, but one of the most effective is that of giving items away. The idea behind this is that if you give people something, they are more likely to buy your product. Over the years though, the same products have been used for marketing by countless companies, rendering some of them useless. Here is an overview of some commonly chosen handouts, along with their Pros and Cons.
Pens are a useful tool, in that they actually have a purpose, and they are easily branded with your company’s logo. They are inexpensive, and you need pens for your office anyway, so buying a large number of branded pens would not be seen as a splurge. Also, when pens go missing from the office, as they are wont to do, it can be viewed as marketing. This brings up a valuable point. Any item used for marketing should have your company’s name and logo on it. After all, the point of both the item and the logo is marketing, so don’t waste your time by giving away ineffective items.
While pens are useful, there are a few downsides. Pens are not only inexpensive; they’re kind of cheap as well. People do not place value on pens, so even though you are getting your name out there, it is in a small, possibly low-impact way. Since pens travel from person to person, you have the possibility of a large audience. The best way to utilize that audience is to expend some effort on making your pens creative and noticeable. The more unique they are, the more likely someone is to comment on it. Once it has stuck in people’s minds, your goal is achieved.
Magnets, like pens, are semi-useful and relatively inexpensive. They also have the opportunity to be a lot of fun. You are limited only by cost in terms of size, shape, and colors on your company magnets. You can take a certain theme, and even make them into a business card if you like.
Like pens, magnets can be easily ignored. They are not overtly useful or valuable, so it is important to choose a design that is functional and stands out. Again, going for something that makes people stop and think “huh, that is cool; I wouldn’t have thought of that,” is your goal. This will ensure that your company’s name sticks in their head.
While pens and magnets are good for every day networking, sometimes you need something bigger. If your company is hosting a special event or asked to sponsor a gift basket, you want to make sure that there is something for people to take away that reminds them that your business was involved.
T-shirts are a great item to give away because everyone needs clothes. You can buy them in bulk, and it offers a great chance to show off your company’s logo and creativity. You are not only advertising to the person who gets the shirt, but to everyone who sees them wear it. To this end, you want to make the shirt as appealing as possible. If the shirt gets relegated to night-shirt status, you’ve lost a great advertising opportunity.
The biggest pitfall of t shirts as marketing strategy is the temptation to go super-cheap. If you buy hundreds of baggy t-shirts, you may pay less than a dollar per shirt, but it will not be a useful investment. Rather, spend the money on well-fitting shirts that people will actually want to wear. Choose a comfortable material and be sure to get a range of sizes.
This way, the shirt does not lie in the bottom of a drawer forgotten.
Another useful giveaway item is the water bottle. On top of the marketing advantages this item offers, it also gives your company the chance to promote healthy lifestyle choices. Water bottles can be associated with working out and strenuous activity, but the truth is that everyone stands the risk of dehydration. A water bottle with your company’s logo may be seen in workplaces, at the gym, and countless other locations.
With water bottles, there are a lot of choices you need to make. Not only must you design the product, but you have to choose the material. Cost is only a fraction of the decision. Be careful to avoid products with BPA or other substances that have a bad reputation. You may want to avoid plastic altogether if you can afford it. If your company has any environmental stance at all, you must be careful with your choices.
Another option is to give out small versions of the product your company offers. This will be seen as generous, since you are giving away something you would normally sell. There are a couple of ground rules you should follow with samples though. Make sure that the sample is a good representation of the product you offer. If it is not as good as your product, it will not be an effective marketing tool. If it is better than your product, people will feel duped and will not become returning customers.
Also, be sure that samples are the right size. You want it to be big enough that people feel that it is worth something, but at the same time, you do not want it to last forever, or the customer will never buy more.
Remember, quality of any item you are handing out is important. The quintessence of what you are trying to do is to represent your company as a place where people would like to take their business. If you skimp on the freebies, it will be assumed that you skimp on the services as well. Even though you are not making money directly off of these products, it is important to make sure that they are something you are proud of. After all, they do have your company’s name on them.
Alice Jenkins is a graphic designer, writer, and avid t-shirt wearer. She enjoys blogging about all aspects of design, but particularly current trends in pop and alternative-culture fashion. She currently writes for youdesignit.com, where you can make Custom Design T Shirts Online.