Buying promotional items is something that most companies will do, sometimes multiple times a year. Many will purchase the same items over and over because they go over so well with customers. If you go into the marketing department of a large company, you may even find a team solely designated to buying swag. Many people, though, tend to get hung up on the product itself.
What do we want our customers to buy?
What’s the cost?
How quickly can we get it?
But the most important aspect of buying promo has nothing to do with you at all. Promo products supply a marketing message. This means that you need to know who your audience is and what THEY want in order for you to reach them. What are they looking for? What benefits them the most? What will make their lives easier, based on who they are?
At one of the industry trade shows that I attended, we did an exercise on exactly this. We were first told that we would be coming up with several promotional products to give to this imaginary target audience. The room of people was then split into two groups. Group 1 was told that the target market was women ages 20-30 who were mothers of newborns. Group 2 was simply told that the target market was aged 20-30. In our groups, we collaborated to come up with a lengthy list each of giveaways to our target market. Group 1 presented their list first, which included things like a small pack of diapers, an eye mask, and other things that new moms would likely appreciate. Group 2 – who knew the target audience by this point – got up and presented their list. One of the things included was branded glow sticks. They had been stuck on the idea that the 20s are a time to party. Of course, most new moms aren’t out partying – and glow sticks in the hands of an infant is dangerous.
Specifics such as lead time and cost are absolutely valuable information. But don’t let it rule the entirety of your marketing spending. If your item has no value to your customer, you’re simply wasting your money.