23 Jun Why should I use promotional gifts?
It is vital to remember that promotional gifts have a strategic value for any business. Whilst giving is always rewarding, handing out branded merchandise is far more than a philanthropic gesture – what you are doing is actually incentivising, motivating, rewarding and relationship building. Whether it be to prospects, clients, staff or even suppliers, these ‘gifts’ are ambassadors for your company and are a great way to express your appreciation. This, in turn, cements and consolidates sound business relationships. Besides all this, they are also keeping your name out there, providing ongoing advertising and brand exposure. Think about this simple example that a large proportion of the population will have experienced; when a global fast-food outlet gives away a gift with every child meal, is this because they are feeling kind or have money to throw away? I would suggest that this is an extremely well-researched marketing strategy that is proven to work. It is not just because they can afford to do it, it is because they can’t afford to stop doing it! This brings us to my next point.
Should I cut out promotional merchandise in tough economic times?
Let’s put it another way, when economic conditions are difficult, can you afford to lose a client, and can you afford to lose commitment from key staff members? Promotional gifts are a proven way of building customer loyalty and motivating staff. After all, everyone loves to feel valued, and consistency is vital – if your clients feel that you appreciate their business, don’t give them the impression that things have changed. If your competitors are holding back, this is your opportunity to get ahead. Of course, when budgets are restricted, you may need to look at ways of economising and buying smarter. This is where a merchandise specialist can help you to find cost-effective and appropriate products for your market and budget. More about this later.
How do I monitor the Return On Investment?
This is not just about how many clients pick up a pen with your phone number on and give you a call. The science of marketing includes the way you enhance the perception of your brand and company culture – what sets you apart and how that is going to increase your market share. The benefits are tangible and have been well documented over years of research. This is what motivates blue chip companies to invest six figure sums in their merchandise programs, and has built the promotional products market into the multi-billion dollar industry it is today. The important thing is to look at the value of customer loyalty and how the profit from just one retained client can recoup your investment in a carefully managed promotional merchandise program.
What products should I use?
A sector-specific approach focuses directly on relevant ideas for your client base or target audience. This requires a personal touch, product knowledge and a bit of time, which is where a specialist can really help you. Someone who takes the trouble to understand your particular application including budget constraints, quantities and the age group of your target audience can make the process a whole lot easier. This then results in a tailor-made solution which is relevant, appropriate and affordable.
What about bribery regulations?
This question occasionally comes up, and is an important consideration in certain specific industries where the procurement process is carefully protected. In the overall, however, as long as gifts are not excessive and are appropriate for the given situation, they are a perfectly acceptable and recognised method of expressing appreciation in a commercial application.
Author: Alan Doughty, Sales Director at Archer Marketing