3 Pitfalls To Avoid When Using Promotional Items To Market Your Brand

Imagine receiving your very own promotional items in the mail (products with your logo and marketing message). You’re very excited to see what the physical product looks like. You place the box on your desk and carefully break the packaging tape. As you unfold the box flaps, anxiously, you peak inside the box and take a look.

A big smile forms across your face as you reach into the box and lift up your item to see your very own promotional item printed with your very own logo.  It looks even better than you imagined!  As a wave of accomplishment washes over you, you give yourself a mental pat on the back for making the decision to get your branded items.

You set the item on your desk for you to use all the time.

“Now”, you say, “let me think. who should I give these items to?

“I know!”. You stand up from your desk, grab the box of promotional items and pass them out to your employees.  In fact, you decide you are going to keep the box with you all day. Heck all week! Surely you’ll hand out all of these products by the end of the week if you give one to everyone you come in contact with.

You quickly realize that 500 products feels like a lot more when you have the actual products in front of you than on paper. When you look inside the box at the end of the week, it doesn’t look like you made a dent. You gave them to your employees, your kids and gave them away at your business meetings and networking events. But, you still have a lot of products left.

Now what do I do?,” you ask yourself. At the moment, you don’t have time to think. You have work to do.  You take the box off your desk and place it in the corner of your office. “I’ll figure it out later.”.

When “later” rolls around, you’ve completely forgotten about the items in the corner. After your catch a sideways glance at the box in the corner, you double-take. “Oh my goodness! I forgot about those!”

Shaking your head, you place the items in a storage closet thinking you will have to save them for a future event. “I thought these were supposed to help me get more sales?“, you say to yourself. Disappointed about spending money on items you haven’t used since you bought them. It’s even more frustrating that you haven’t even received one inquiry from the ones you did pass out.

“Where did I go wrong?!”, you think. Other people talk about how promotional items can help you get results. The’re supposed to be advertisements, aren’t they?

The scenario above is one of the many situations that can make a professionals curse promotional items as marketing tools. But, promotional items do work! They can help you advertise your brand and make you memorable. In fact, if the three pitfalls in the above scenario were avoided, “you” could have been singing a different tune in the end.

Pitfall #1 : Giving promotional items to anyone and everyone

Yes, it is very exciting to see your branded items for the very first time.  It’s true that they look even better in person than they do on your digital proof.  However, as excited as you are, you need to be strategic about who you are giving the items to.

In order for the items to work for you, you need to determine your audience up front.  Think about who you are trying to reach, first.  Then, once you defined your audience, chose a product that will be useful to that group of people. If you cater the products to your audience, they are more likely to hold onto the product.  This leads to more impressions of your brand which can make you memorable.

Pitfall #2 : Not knowing what to do with the items after you received them

Before you choose which products to purchase and before you decide on your target audience, you need to create an action plan. This action plan should map out all the parameters of your campaign with details like goals, KPI’s to track, audience, promotional items to buy, etc.

This way, when your promotional items come in you will be excited about the product and the possibilities they can bring.

Create an action plan, before you purchase the items. This will help you determine how to use the products as well as how to choose the right products for your goals.

Pitfall #3 : Expecting the items to do the heavy lifting for you

Simply handing someone a single promotional item is not going to give you much of an impact.  The key here is how the item is presented to the recipient.

When creating your plan, think of how the item ties into your business, promotion or event. What does it represent? What story can you tell with the item?  Conversely, how can the item help you tell your story.  This is what makes the item more impactful.

If you spend time creating a plan, executing the plan and keeping track of results will help you avoid the above pitfalls.

With a well thought out plan, your recipient will hold onto your items longer. They will also think more highly of and remember your company. This is why creating a promotional marketing campaign is crucial to your success. When you plan out your promotional marketing campaign and execute it fully, you will start seeing better results.

4 thoughts on “3 Pitfalls To Avoid When Using Promotional Items To Market Your Brand

  1. Great stuff. First you should definitely not give them out to anyone, but carefully pick out your target audience. Also, they need to be useful and not something you should just give out for it to never be used again.

  2. Great article; fun to read too. It is important to consider the target audience before planning the products. The employees for one are always the greatest brand ambassadors, so they should be considered first. Nowadays people give away these items after closing deals with other companies; a good way to establish trust in the market.

    1. Thank you. It is definitely important to take care of your employees, first. They are your greatest assets and should be treated as well as you treat your customers.

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