I recall several years ago, I was working on a project for a customer and after confirming her delivery date, quantity needed and theme for the event, I inquired about her budget. She replied – “The gap between perceived value and actual cost needs to be wide.” It took me a few extra seconds to process, but I’ve always loved this answer. Isn’t that what we all want to some degree? We want to get the most bang for our buck, the best value, the best deal for our marketing budget. We may only have a $.50/pc budget for our promotional products, but we want our customer to think we spent top dollar.
Actual Cost versus Perceived Value – a marketers’ challenge! But there is no shame in that, and there are a number of unique strategies to maximize your budget for promotional products. From ordering larger quantities than you need for an event and saving the excess items for future use, to varying the price points of giveaways for different clients based on their purchasing power, creativity can enable you to launch a successful giveaway campaign without breaking the bank. And don’t forget about the deals that can be found in Pinnacle Promotions’ selection of Monthly Specials!
Some of my favorite TV commercials this holiday season are part of Target’s sarcastic “Blue Christmas” campaign. The retail chain’s edgy, slightly gloomy approach to holiday shopping stirs up conversation no matter when the commercials appear on-screen, and after a little bit of investigation, it has become apparent to me that the controversy about the campaign has extended into the online arena as well. Frequenters on many advertising and marketing-related forums and message boards weigh the appropriateness of Target’s holiday advertising this year and mixed opinions abound.
I find Target’s take on thrifty spending to be tactful and right on “target” (pun intended!)- the current recession has put a damper on the holidays for many families, and finding humor amidst this enormous crisis is one way to shed light on how Americans are coping. Why ignore the truth when it is a glaring reality that fiscal challenges are facing almost every member of our society on a daily basis? Yes, the bluntness of Target’s ads may offend more conservative viewers, who fare better when problems are kept behind closed doors, but for other avid TV watchers, the ads are easy to relate to and provide a much-needed dose of comedy. The thought of spending excessive amounts of money on holiday gifts is stressful enough for consumers when the country is NOT in a recession!
Economic hardship has been an on-going struggle throughout 2009, and although we all hope to see financial improvements in 2010, the recovery is shaping up to be a long and arduous process. In the meantime, we can all add the phrase “recessionista”* (made popular by another Target ad campaign earlier this year) to our vocabularies and try our hardest to return to normalcy next year. You can save money on your promotional products by exploring Pinnacle Promotion’s Sale and Closeouts category- the recipients of your custom imprinted giveaways will be none the wiser about how much you actually spent on the items! ;)
*Wikipedia defines “recessionista” as: “a blend of the words Fashionista and recession that describes a person who strives to remain fashionable on a minimal budget… originated in the United States during the economic difficulties of 2008.”
I was driving to work the other day when I noticed a billboard featuring an advertisement for a popular company. It (not surprisingly) boasted how much money I could save by switching to their company. I couldn’t help but think about this statement and wonder what it is that makes these advertisements so common. Simply because you attract a new customer based on price doesn’t mean that you have secured a life-long business relationship.
I know that times have been tight, but I greatly value and respect the long-standing relationships I have with some of my service providers. Take my car insurance provider for example. I’ve been faithfully with the same company since I was old enough to insure my own car. We have a relationship. I know whom I can call if I’m in an accident – or if say a tree falls on my car. I wouldn’t trust my car, home and most prized possessions to just anyone. I want a dependable and trusted ally to fight for me. The same principle is applied to all of my service providers all the way down to our pest control company – Larry and I are on a first name basis. My dog, Sadie, greets him warmly every time he comes to spray around the house. Even my favorite shoe and clothing stores keep me hooked with specials “just for me” and free gifts with purchase. I wouldn’t switch from these companies just to save a buck or two.
Now, when it comes down to it, I’ll admit that money is important. But when it’s a dollar difference – and it isn’t in your favor as the product or service provider – what have you done to insure that that additional dollar won’t cost you your business? This is where relationship building comes into play. When you nurture your relationships with your current customers, you have a greater chance at overcoming the smaller obstacles when they arise.
One of the best, and easiest, means of building business relationships it to express your gratitude to your customers. When you thank a client after the close of a sale or simply for being your customer for another year, you show them that you are more than just another company. You reinforce a personal connection that is oftentimes stronger than a business association with a foundation based only on price. Distribute promotional products to your clients after the close of a sale. Or send out a promotional giveaway to all of your customers as the year winds down. You give them a tangible reminder of who you are, what you sell and what service you provide. And don’t forget to give corporate holiday gifts to your top customers (and employees of course). No matter how large or small the gesture may be, helping to reinforce that connection with your clients helps keep your business strong enough to weather the tough times.
Kim Patton Johnson
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A few days ago as I was leaving the office for the night, I walked to my car and was surprised to find an imprinted reusable grocery bag hanging from my driver’s side mirror. I can’t lie; at first I was a little startled by the bag. I didn’t see it until I rounded the corner of my car, and I wasn’t expecting anything but the mirror to be there. But once I glanced around the parking lot to see the same white grocery bag hanging from the mirrors of all the other cars, I realized it was an advertisement.
Of course, I wasn’t going to stand outside and read the contents, so I tossed the bag onto my passenger seat and headed home. While I intended to take the bag home and check it out there, curiosity got the best of me on my drive and I ended up reading the entire message printed on that bag at various red lights.
So what’s the moral of my story? Apparently flyers aren’t the only thing people are leaving on cars these days! While I wouldn’t advise that you go hanging bags and other various promotional products on cars in parking lots (I did have mixed feelings about it, and I’m not even all that crazy about my car), I did think it said a lot about marketing in our society.
Savvy marketers are moving away from the disposable and concentrating on making longer lasting advertising impressions. When this company left bags on our cars, they literally put their brand into my hands. I got a new grocery bag and a constant reminder of their business. Not only was I exposed to their message, but they’ll gain even more advertising impressions every time I take their bag to the grocery store.
Again, I’m not saying you should run out and hang bags on the mirrors of the cars in your lot, but unexpected promotional advertising can be an effective means of getting your message out there.
Let me preface this post by saying that I consider myself to be extremely unlucky. Aside from the watergun I won playing Bingo when I was 8, I can’t remember the last time I won a contest or drawing. My sister, on the other hand, continues to win countless freebies: tickets to sporting events from furniture store raffles, numerous movie premiere tickets from radio stations, and even a weekend getaway courtesy of a large hotel chain. My losing streak, however, does not discourage me from trying my luck every so often with scratch-off lottery tickets. 9 times out of 10, I wind up empty-handed, but the mere prospect of scratching off prizewinning boxes is enough to keep me coming back for more. “Not a winner” this time? I guess that means I have to buy another ticket!
One of my favorite giveaway ideas involves the aforementioned scratch-off cards. At a tradeshow booth or even in a direct mailing to valued customers, distribute custom imprinted scratch-off cards to promote your brand. If you are feeling generous, make every card redeemable for an inexpensive gift so that everybody feels like a winner, or vary the price points of your prizes to add to the excitement and suspense. Premium giveaways featuring your company’s logo and contact information can generate buzz and create brand awareness, and you can minimize costs by only giving out a handful of winning cards.
Scratch-off cards, unlike most promotional products, provide an experience instead of just a giveaway item. When people are engaged in a memorable activity related to your company, they are much more likely to think of your brand first and foremost when they have a need for your services in the future. Also, the originality involved with scratch-off card promotions can be helpful in terms of referrals, lead generation, and client retention.
You don’t need luck to ensure the success of your next promotional giveaway- customized scratch cards are destined to do the trick!
Particularly in tough economic times, organizations and individuals are looking for maximum return on marketing investments. Promotional products are valuable tools to get your brand optimal exposure, and there are thousands of unique options that won’t cost a fortune. With Pinnacle’s Dollar Deals, you can browse our constantly growing selection of promotional items that sell for less than a buck per unit! This category on our website is a great starting point if you are interested in promotional products but unsure about the added expense. At such a small price, our Dollar Deals can afford you the opportunity to purchase much larger quantities of items like pens, keychains, mugs, and tote bags. Now you may assume that these items are so inexpensive because they are outdated, poor quality, or damaged inventory, but these products are honestly just a great deal!
The current recession has affected every area of corporate spending, with budget cuts, hiring freezes, and layoffs bringing down consumer confidence across the board. Remind your clients and partners that you value their business by providing them with practical custom imprinted office supplies, like adhesive notepads or letter openers. These thoughtful gifts will send the message that you are available to support their needs, and let them know that you appreciate the relationship you have built with them- all for less than the price of soda!
Make your marketing goals recession-proof by taking advantage of creative and cheap promotional products!