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How can Customized Promotional Gifts improve my advertising?

A good question, and yet one that is seldom asked. When thought about carefully, and when equally carefully chosen (with full regard to your actual customers and prospects and the sort of people they are), Customized Promotional Gifts can improve your advertising in quite a few ways.
I will start by giving you an example, a real one, from just a couple of weeks before writing this eBook.


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A client I had written radio adverts for in the past happened to come into the business where I was working (selling, you guessed it, Customized Promotional Gifts). They complained that their advertising was no longer working for them.
This client is a tyre (or tire, if you prefer) retailer. My suggestion was for them to have their logo and phone number branded onto a key ring (since all of their products are based around vehicles, and vehicles need keys, and keys need to be kept on something).
These key rings were to be given away at no cost. They could then reduce their standard 30-second radio ad to just 15 seconds (saving them money or getting them greater frequency for the same spend). All they were advertising was a free key ring: drop in and pick one up, it's free, no strings attached (just a little key chain).
Now they were back in the game, and with the power of Customized Promotional Gifts working for them.
Hang on, I hear you say. Didn't you write another eBook talking about how to improve our radio advertising? And now you're saying that radio isn't good enough. What gives?
Yes, I did write that book, but that is not what I am saying. The business I was helping had long since reached the point of diminishing returns with their radio advertising. This is the point where it seems that no matter how much you spend you're just not getting the same response you used to get. And so they had to do something different to reignite interest in their brand.
They had a useful giveaway, and they were offering it for free. That simple act meant they could also measure the effectiveness of their advertising campaign. If no one came in to claim a free key ring, they knew that their campaign had been a waste of money and that radio was no longer hitting the right audience for them.
So the giveaway was a standout message in an over-crowded advertising space, and a useful measure of the effectiveness of their radio advertising. All without costing as much as it would cost to get a media analyst to produce a report on the current radio advertising campaign (which they already know isn't working as well as they had hoped).
The lesson here is: Don't stop what you are currently doing with advertising just change it slightly. Add in an element of Customized Promotional Gifts and watch your advertising lift you above your competitors.

Customized Promotional Gifts is another way of emphasising your brand, a very personal way. So that when people see, hear or read your regular advertising they recognise your name and it is instantly familiar. Often, people will choose to buy off people/businesses/brands they know and are familiar with. Just look at how much money is spent on advertising trying to get you/me/all of us to change brands of just about anything (even soap).
Brand owners know that you are already using a product similar to theirs; and their advertising is about convincing us that their product or service is better or more desirable.
So every time you encounter their brand, you are millimetre by millimetre, inch by inch, identifying with it.
The goal, making their brand your brand of choice. In internet terms, they are trying to make their brand your home page. And they use everything in their armoury to do that; including utilising Customized Promotional Gifts.
MASSIVE TIP
Know your target audience, and know what they like to do. Choose Customized Promotional Gifts that will achieve that AND support your brand and current advertising. Look to combine the merchandise and the advertising for the synergies that can bring significant benefits.
Take the time to order the best quality for your budget. We've all seen, and probably received, product that doesn't work. All we do is throw it out. The branding opportunity has been wasted, the money spent is a cost with zero return (or perhaps even a negative return, depending upon how the customer feels about the products that failed). Many consumers WILL make a direct link between a failed product and the company that gave it to them.
EXAMPLE
I recently supplied $12,000 worth of 8Gb USB thumb drives to a company that was updating their stock. They just gave the remainder of their existing stock away. Their customers queried and wondered what they would do with a 256Mb thumb drive. The client complained to me saying: What do they want for free?
Not a great attitude, and one that has the potential to do more harm than good as it displays a fundamental lack of understanding about their customers.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE
This time from the home - my fridge. When my daughter was born, we got a bunch of promotional goodies in what is called a Bounty Bag. One of those goodies was a fairly large branded fridge magnet that listed the immunisations schedule for the new arrival. The schedule continued to age 4.
We put it on the fridge and it stayed where we put it, so the magnets did their job. However, a couple of months before my daughter's third birthday I went to move the magnet and found that it was stuck in place. It finally peeled off, leaving a mess and bits of magnet firmly stuck to the fridge door.
I was less than impressed as I was left with a mess to clean up. And it made me think: a company the size of XYZ should have probably spent a little more and got a magnet that didn't try and permanently stick to the fridge. It didn't make me turn away from the product completely, but it certainly soured my feelings towards that company; and I did look around and try alternatives.
If your Customized Promotional Gifts is intended to do a job (like hang around for a long time), make sure that it can. Have a strict quality control procedure in place.
MAKE SURE THE CUSTOMIZED PROMOTIONAL GIFTS YOU CHOOSE IS USEFUL. Research indicates that more than ? of business people who receive Customized Promotional Gifts keep it for more than a year because it is useful. That is a whole lot of brand awareness just for taking the time to make sure of that one criterion: usefulness.
Here's an interesting situation. About a year ago I had tyres put on my work car. The brand was from a huge international company. Just out of interest, and with no prompting from anyone, I visited (post-purchase) the company's website to discover that I could get a branded key ring just by filling in an online form. I did so and the key ring duly arrived in the mail.
Since then, and despite having all my contact details, that massive company has not been in touch. This is despite the fact that I usually go through a set of tyres every 9-12 months. Will I buy the same brand next time, or will I just look for a good bargain?
I started a conversation with manufacturer of the tyres, and they failed to continue it. It doesn't take much to stay in touch and earn an extra sale next time I need tyres. And given that I use a set of tyres every year or so, that could be have been a long and profitable relationship.
Why would a company that large (and with that impressive a pedigree) not do that simple thing? I suspect it is because they concentrate on their distributors, who have also not stayed in touch.
The point of this story is this: Customized Promotional Gifts on its own can do some of the job. YOU have to do the rest. Build an ongoing relationship with your customer, by staying in touch: not so much that you're annoying, but enough to keep me interested in you.
And the ONLY way you can do this effectively is to know about me (your customer) and how I use your products or services.
Customized Promotional Gifts helps, and often starts the conversation. It is up to you to keep it going.