Itâ€™s a crowded marketplace, especially for B2B companies that provide services to other companies. Many of these services are similar, such as project management, sales and customer service, and accounting/payroll software packages. Developing a sound marketing strategy requires creativity and multiple tactics.
We know that direct â€œpushâ€Â marketing is falling out of favor. Even in the B2B community, it is well known that if a potential customer wants a product or service, he is not usually watching advertisements for it. Long ago, he turned out mass marketing efforts.
Instead, he is searching the web; he is asking for recommendations; and he may be remembering that company from the last trade show that gave him the umbrella hanging from a hook in his office. In fact, he just used it today when he had to leave in the rain for a lunch meeting. He remembers the software demonstration and thinks it just might be exactly what they need right now. And their company name and phone number are right on the handle â€“ perfect. He makes that call and sets up an appointment.
Although many marketers believe that little trinkets are not worth the money and effort (a pen runs out of ink; everyone gives out a coffee mug, etc.), they do see value in providing a physical object of some sort that target audiences can place in their hands and actually keep. They have to meet four important criteria:
- They contain a brand name and perhaps a short slogan, along with contact information
- They provide real value and are useful
- They will last and be kept for a longer period of time
- The cost doesnâ€™t â€œbreak the bank.â€Â
Branded promotional items that meet these four criteria are probably one of the best marketing tools a B2B firm can have. Great content is important if target customers find it; calling leads can bring some results, of course; segmented emails are also great. But all of these things are not a physically present object that has â€œstaying powerâ€Â and can serve as a permanent reminder.
Promotional Items That Have â€œStaying Powerâ€Â – Categories
Promotional items can be divided into two broad categories â€“ internal and external, both of which have a certain value.
- Internal Items: Your team members have a life outside of work. Make sure that they have items which can go with them and that are visible. Such things as T-shirts, ball caps, and backpacks can all provide â€œmovableâ€Â promotional advertising. And if you have an appealing or intriguing logo or slogan to add, so much the better.
- External Items: These are the items that you provide to booth visitors at trade shows, that you might provide following a sales presentation, or that you might gift to existing customers in order to express appreciation. These will also fall into categories:
1. Booth visitors at trade shows can receive less expensive and yet â€œpermanentâ€Â items.
2. Gifts to potential customers to whom you have made a presentation should be of high value
3. Thank you and holiday gifts to current customers are always an excellent idea. Sometimes these are of consumable nature, especially for the holidays.
Ideas for Categories of Gifts
1. Trade Shows : You want to impress visitors to your booth with your products or services. You may be providing demonstrations (always a good thing) and actually, have those visitors practice using your wares. You may then provide them with a write-up â€“ a highly professional piece/promotional brochure that succinctly describes the value of what you offer. These are hard to write, so using a professional writing service like essayrepublic might be in order. Beyond that, however, you do not want a visitor to leave with only a brochure. You want to give a more lasting reminder â€“ an item with your brand information. Great ideas for this type of gifting include:
- A stylus. Some of these have a stylus on one end and a pen on the other. But long after the pen has run out of ink, the recipient will still have a use for the stylus. These can be purchased for as low as $.60 apiece. Perfect for all touch devices.
- A mouse pad. These are now very inexpensive and are great for office use, for either a PC or a laptop with a wireless mouse.
- A flash drive. People still carry their data back and forth from work to home or even to colleagues/customersâ€™ offices. They can transport their data for plugin into other devices. Adding a lanyard with your brand information is also a great idea.
- A T-shirt. Everyone likes to have an extra T-shirt if only for slopping around the house. If you buy in bulk and have a decent budget, these are ideal. The same goes for ball caps.
2. Prospective Customers : This represents a bit higher caliber prospect, usually someone with whom you have had an initial call and are now making a presentation. You might want to leave such a prospect a pricier item â€“ perhaps a 3-D paperweight or a metal business card holder â€“ something they can place on their desks and see every day.
Another great item for a hot prospect, especially one who travels, would be a laptop/device bag, one with pockets for tablets and cords too. If you choose this type of item, it must be of high quality or it will just be pitched. So, if you have a limited budget, purchase only for the hottest prospects.
Two other items for great prospects are leather folders and perhaps a travel phone stand. They can sit on a desk or nightstand in a hotel and are a great convenience for anyone who checks their phones often. These are also great for holding M3 players.
3. Direct Mail : Hereâ€™s the thing about direct mail. Most companies are not using it anymore, because it simply gets thrown in the trash without opening. With less direct mail coming into offices, yours may have a much better chance. And if you have included a small gift item, the recipient will have a pleasant surprise. Magnets are a bit boring and not considered valuable. Instead, how about a screen wiping cloth with your brand name and contact information? These are versatile and can be used in the office or placed in the car for phone, tablet, or even rear view mirror use. A handy little item that anyone will appreciate. And each time it is used, you are there in print.
A Word About Mugs
Many managers and executives have probably had enough of mugs. It has been such a popular item over the years, that prospects are just saturated with them. They tend to be shelved and not looked at. If you want to consider variations on this type of item, go for a tall slender plastic drink bottle â€“ one emblazoned with your brand that is also dishwasher safe. And if you are set on a container for hot beverages, go for a travel mug, but a high-quality one that will actually get used.
Promotional products can be a strong piece of a marketing campaign, if used wisely. Handing out a pen to a prospect that is close to a decision and to whom you have just made a detailed proposal or presentation is probably not a wise choice. You will need to segment your audiences into categories and select categories of gifts to match. Often, using a promotional products company is a good idea. They usually have the latest and most unique gadgets and trinkets and can provide good recommendations based upon your types of clients and, of course, your budget.