Most organisations use personalised promotional products as a way of promoting their products and services. If selected wisely, it is one of the most effective ways your company can do to enhance its corporate branding and marketing ideas. This Promotional products Buyers guide will assist you in making an informed decision when buying or selecting your promotional incentives, products, and awards. A thorough promotional product must reflect the organisation’s goals and missions while contending to have an original design that serves as a capable vehicle in achieving the desired results. In modern today, most high profile businesses and companies try as much as possible to create a polished public image through various applications of specific marketing tools.
The promotional product industry has recently been experiencing a boom that goes unprecedented in any other marketing field. In recent times, the market has shown to have already outgrown digital marketing and is now moving with significant steps to catch up with other advertising media platforms such as the newspaper and radio advertising. The reason why old-time giveaways are becoming the loyalty of all marketing tools is because of the heart of human nature. People love and appreciate exquisite or functional products or services in general. When these products come in an excellent package, they appeal and evoke curiosity to our senses, making consumers cherish a promotional product.
WHO USES PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS, AND WHY?
When it comes to the value of money in promotions and marketing, promotional gifts must be proven, tried, and tested for undisputed success. Whether you want just to say thank you, hello, goodbye, welcome, or you want to promote an event, communicate a marketing message or raise brand awareness to customers, staff, or prospects, the power of free incentives and gifts is undeniable. An innovative promotional product frequently keeps the organisation’s logo together with the message close to your clients or prospects for a considerable length of time, such as days, months, or even years after they are given out. Due to undoubted stick ability, they can invariably grab the attention of people for a considerable duration of time. Promotional Products can be given out in conferences and store promotions and shows, giving out something for nothing to people, will grab some attention. Examples of freebies include promotional mugs, sweets, branded promotional pens, drinks, bags, etc. There are hundreds of thousands of promotional products and in most cases, they are embellished with a full-colour print of the marketing message and an organisation’s logo. The gifts come with different product categories classified as business gifts, rewards, incentives, premiums, advertising specialties, eco-friendly, recyclable, environmental friendly to just name a few. In terms of budget and choice, there is always something that can suit any purpose. The price ranges from a low price of a few pennies per gift item for mass giveaways through to different price applications on unique customised solutions. Getting a product at the best price is the key to successful promotions. Branded personalised products give out the best effect on your event and organisation’s details, which makes your customers value and keep the item. Although it may look like the cost of an individual item is typically low, the Global market – including the European and UK market, for promotional incentives and products is worth billions of pounds per year. Any type of business, such as government or non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, etc can benefit from using the proper and right promotional materials to pass their message and build a brand through visual and cost-effective means. The sole purpose of a buyer’s guide is to help you understand the different techniques for branding and the difference between the numerous available promotional items as well as the marketing message. The guide will also help you to effectively do your promotion by making well-informed decisions and achieve the best value for money spent on this type of marketing.
THE BENEFITS OF PROMOTIONAL INCENTIVES AND BUSINESS GIFTS
If used effectively, promotional products can impart enormous advantages for any person that uses them to communicate a marketing message. And because everybody likes gifts, the overall worth of these items is far much higher than the actual cost. It can be even better when the gift is something a person or recipient can keep and use frequently and on an ongoing basis. Some of a few top-selling promotional items that can fit appropriately within this category as gifts include umbrellas, laptop bags, promotional clothing, coffee mugs, and USB flash drives, among others. It is good to note that your branding will not only be seen by individuals who receive your promotional gift, but also by others as well. So, you can imagine how an umbrella or coffee mug that cost you only one euro can support your marketing to the recipients and to anyone else who virtually sees them. With so many products and leading brands, it has become effortless to get flexible gifts for promotional use. Products and brand names can be modified to fit different categories like specific campaigns and individuals or groups of people for freestanding or as a component of a more extensive promotional campaign. There are numerous studies that have proved the power and value of gift items in boosting brand recognition. Promotional items can also raise the response rate and give a positive impression about the organisation giving them out.
MAXIMIZING THE BENEFITS OF YOUR PRODUCTS
To be sure that your promotional marketing achieves the best possible results, it is essential to plan carefully. Proper planning and careful selection of products will help you make a marketing solution that will meet both your personal and business goals. A well-focused distribution and campaign strategy increase the effectiveness of a business’s future marketing activities. Feasible product selection depends on various factors such as product availability, product colours, available lead times, branding options, the size of the audience, your budget, the customisation, and the size and weight of individual items your campaign is targeting. All these factors will have an influence on the distribution process and the costs. For instance, if you choose to give away drinks, most likely they won’t fit through a mailing box, or a tailor-made tube of ice cream will need refrigerated distribution. A chocolate advent calendar may require additional postage boxes to avoid damages when in transit. When planning for your marketing campaign, it is worth to note that lead times fluctuate. Production times from most manufacturers maybe ten to fifteen working days. Items may be available from the same day dispatch service, others two days, five days, or perhaps an enhanced option, especially for tailor-made things that may take longer even through an enhanced express service. Some bespoke gifts may come from a manufacturer as far as from the Middle East. Additionally, some seasons, especially September all through to December, are generally busy months as many organisations use promotional gift items as a way of saying thank you to their loyal customers. There is a high possibility for lead times to extend during Christmas.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CAMPAIGN ITEMS
There are quite many personalised items that can be used as promotional gifts, and still, the number gets ever-increasing. In the real sense, anything that has enough space to accommodate a promotional logo is considered as suitable for marketing use. With such a vast choice, there can be a challenge in reducing your selection to a small list of items that will meet your specific requirements and criteria. Most distributors of promotional gifts can help you to get what best suits your needs. A right distributor should understand your needs and make the best recommendations for you. Below are some of the most used categories of gift items to consider:
Clothing is a highly visible marketing gift item. Whether you need branded promotional t-shirts or branded uniforms, garments are a popular gift item for promotional use. Examples of big sellers when it comes to apparel are jackets, polo shirts, t-shirts, and hats. These items are commonly used and are among the most used in the list of promotional clothing. There are several branding options, and they range from full-colour digital printing, screen printing, embroidery, rubber name tags sewn in garment seams, pull tabs on zips, press studs, and branded buttons. So, with this full range of variety, the critical factor to consider when selecting your clothing is the customisation you need. Most manufacturers offer a wide range of ‘off the shelf’ clothing designs that can be used to overprint your tailored brand on your specific choice of garments. The promotional clothing includes a unique garment design with company branding that is colour-themed, featured own garment label, and customised packaging. The use of promotional clothing is long-lasting and has high visibility, and due to the frequent use, the continuing payoff on your original costs can be substantial.
There are vast selections of drinks and food that can be used as promotional options. Food is massively used and very popularly given as a promotional gift. Examples of confectioneries that are used as gifts include biscuits, chocolate, cakes, sweets, and other types of baked foods. The scope for unique branding is incredible, especially when it comes to mass giveaways of ideal promotional products. Also, the unit costs for these gift items can turn out to be typically low. Since you want the recipients to receive the products in their best condition, it is essential to put into consideration the storage, shelf life, and shipping specifications when choosing the type of items you want. For instance, cupcakes with that photographic print should be delivered in good time so that they can be eaten promptly before that fantastic taste expire. Some promotional food items may have a shelf life of between two to four days, whereas some may last for several months, e.g., fruit smoothies. With digital printing, it means that you can print your preferred artwork in full colour onto your logo branded cakes.
Eco, Recycled and Environmental Friendly Items
The popularity of promotional gifts that are recycled and eco and environmental friendly continue to increase. Currently, nearly all companies have generous corporate social responsibility in their business and ethics policies. Companies must make sure that their promotional commodities follow and adhere to these policies when looking for promotional gifts. There are many new and innovative gift items from recycled plastic cups, recycled notepads, pens, plant watering devices, and old banknotes. For example, the use of items made from recycled materials such as plant watering devices can save up to ninety percent of the water on potted indoor and outdoor plants. The number of usable recycled eco and environmentally friendly products is ever increasing.
Personal Equipment, Desk Accessories, and Office Gifts
Promotional products that are desk mounted remain in the office and are used for several months, if not years. Therefore, these type of gift items can provide an important and worthwhile marketing chance over a while. Items like mouse mats and desk pads are lasting and give long term branding opportunities. Other things like mobile phone holders maintain the phone quality while retaining the brand value for some duration of time.
BEYOND THE OFFICE
Some gift items such as lip balms, ice scrapers, sun shades, and promotional hand warmers are all seasonal gifts. Such promotional products give an individual a regular opportunity to feel good with a promotional gift in a beneficial way all year through. Other items such as flags, flag poles, beach towels, umbrellas, and even sun hats give opportunities to market and promote businesses or specific events and ensure your company gets noticed.
Golf and Sport-related Gift Products
Golf is a corporate event and a trendy sport. Whether you are running your golf, or taking your clients or staff for a social event, or attending a tournament, there are ranges of items available for your event branding. A golf day where your guests have meals and entertainment with one or two rounds of golf may look good if crowned by wearing branded promotional items. Examples of such products include golf balls, tees, gloves, polo shirts, caps, jackets, and even branded trophies. There are many available options just to ensure your guests take away memories of such a special event with your company in mind.
PEN AND WRITING INSTRUMENTS
A pen is a trendy promotional product that typically every person will use at some point. They are commonly used as low-cost promotional giveaways for events such as mail-out campaigns, trade shows, or conferences. Pens are also given out to attention-getters as one of the executive gift or top-level award. Digital printing has made it possible to have a full-colour wrap-around for pens, which allow branding options. It also allows photographic images that cover the entire enclosure and clip. With modern technologies, various options can make it possible to brand pens and other writing instruments.
From the above description, you can get a few ideas of the products that can be used by various corporate for marketing purposes, but the choices are as broad as you can imagine. To be precise, everything that contains enough space to allow for personalisation can be comfortably branded as a promotional product for marketing purposes. With this in mind, it’s advisable to let the distributor or supplier you have chosen to guide you on the best possible products depending on your particular event ideas. Keep in mind that you can get customised manufacturing of your unique branding options. So, always allow your distributor or supplier to guide you on your selection and ideas. The best promotional gifts are the ones that associate your campaign with your organisation’s name and are related to your specific industry.
LOGOS AND ARTWORKS FOR YOUR GIFT PRODUCTS
It is essential to choose the right gift products for your preferred artwork. Options for branding and personalisation of gifts vary considerably, so it is crucial to choose the best artwork option for your items. For instance, the original cost of a product can have an impact on the total price after the artwork has been included. In some cases, your branding may require a full colour and also a separate screen for each print colour used. The coming of digital printing has drastically changed the promotional gift industry. Items that can’t allow digital printing can end up being more costly because of the setup costs, which rises up the average value of the finished product. It is necessary for you to supply your distributor with various formats of your artwork or logo so that they can try to get the right quality illustration of your branding. The most versatile and preferred option in majority of items is the Vector EPS file. JPEG and PDF files are also suitable. The advantage of a Vector file is that an image is scalable without losing the quality of the image and it is possible to convert all fonts into graphic images. To achieve the best and higher quality reproduction, files should be at least three hundred Dots per Inch (DPI). GIF and JPEG have low resolution, although when it comes to embroidery, JPEG is more suitable. JPEG is good in embroidery because the template disk is a copied image from the image itself rather than a print of the picture. During your gift selection process, the right distributor will confirm your product print area and advise you. Where necessary, they can also re-design and re-format your artwork to ensure it fits well with the individual item you have selected. There are several ways to personalize prints, but the main ones are etching, screen printing, embroidery, digital printing, litho printing, tampo printing, laser etching, and engraving.
WORKING WITH YOUR DISTRIBUTOR
Currently, there are thousands of manufacturers and distributors working within the global promotional gift industry. Therefore, there is abundant advice and information available to ensure that you maximize your budget by choosing effective marketing products that will work for your business. Most likely, the distributor you are working with, may aslo probably work with one trade-only manufacturer. Distributors are flexible and very knowledgeable, so they can negotiate with several suppliers just to ensure that you get the most suitable gifts for your project. They also ensure you get the best in terms of product quality, quantity, lead time, price, and delivery.
For you to get the best, you must work very close to your distributor, to effectively get a one source supply and reduce your points of contact for a wide range of products. Right distributors will work with you and advise you on the right ways to develop your corporate branding. They will help you organize your marketing campaign and assist you to choose the best products depending on your needs. A right distributor will also invest in his time to understand what your business entails and your marketing goals. By so doing, they will be able to work objectively and make new suggestions for items that may be of your interest and the clients. When choosing a distributor, put in mind and view it as if you are selecting a longstanding partner in business. Remember, they will save you the money, energy, and time by doing the sourcing leg work for you. They will also do the groundwork and liaise with printers, suppliers, and transporters on behalf of your company. And, will also keep you regularly updated on the progress through your preferred mode of communication – phone, email, or fax.
KEY POINTS TO BE CONSIDERED
During the process of product sourcing and as well as supply of your selected items, the distributor must remain highly responsive and be updating you at every stage. For example, you may be required to do confirmation of stock availability, timely and quick quoting, and also confirm that you will receive the items in a good time and meet your deadline. It is also relevant to fast track your items when necessary and has them delivered to your preferred destination, especially when you are on tight deadlines.
The people you have chosen to be your customer service advisors should be able to offer advice and guidance. They should be well trained and knowledgeable about the items and print options. Also, they should be able to organise your marketing events or campaigns.
Since distributors don’t manufacture the items, they should watch over and strictly monitor the production quality of these items before they supply them. If the printing is done at the manufacturing stage, they should ensure that the manufacture’s guarantees are rightly put in place. If possible, get a sample and inspect before you go ahead to order your products. Additionally, get printed proofs before production, though it may be at a small cost just to be sure, that is if lead time will allow. Nowadays, destination distance is no longer a crucial factor when selecting a distributor. There is ready accessibility of fast emailing, a reliable internet, and an efficient overnight shipping, so many distributors, can supply locally or internationally with ease. A right distributor should be able to coordinate multiple drop deliveries when asked to do so by or on behalf of his customers.
AFTER YOU CHOOSE A DISTRIBUTOR
Before approving an order to a distributor, many customers request a sample product, and distributors provide these samples free of charge. Even large items can be provided as product samples. Sometimes a cost may be involved when supplying expensive items as samples, but this cost can be absorbed when the full order has been placed. In events where a printed sample before production is requested, this can be pre-arranged, and the price may then be included in the overall project cost. When you are ordering for high or large volume orders, it’s advisable to have a sample produced before the production starts. Check the pre-sample for quality assurance before you proceed to approve for final production. When a distributor receives your request, he will continue to work with the manufacturer and individually manage all the work related to proof approval, artwork, printing of artwork, and cargo delivery on behalf of your company. For small orders, a virtue sample can be emailed to you before process approval. It is much easier and quicker. A virtual item sample is a representation of your artwork on a graphic or photographic image. For embroidery, a sample of your cloth with artwork embroidered to it is sent. All these are done so that you can approve the work right before the distributor can proceed with your order. Carriage or shipping may vary depending on the options available and your destination. It can be same-day express or more than a day delivery. If your items are being manufactured overseas, extra options like air or sea freight should be put into consideration, but your distributor should advise you on that. Depending on the available lead time, costs may vary, and you should look at this factor critically if you are looking forward to minimizing costs. When inquiring about your order, always involve or notify your distributor.
PRICING OF PROMOTIONAL ITEMS
The pricing of marketing items depends on the type of product you choose. Gift items can cost as low as one pound or less and as much as you are willing to pay. The lower the cost per unit price, the higher the minimum quantity to be ordered. However, your distributor should be able to advise you on the range of options. It is not economical for a manufacturer to make low-cost items in small quantities because of economies of scale. Allow your distributor to know your set budget line so that he can advise you on what will suit your specific needs and be within budget. So, establishing a good relationship with your distributor will earn you dividends. Good relationships will speed up the process while maximizing your budget. It is obvious to see price breaks on products, and the low the price, the higher the quantity. Many promotional items will have some additional costs. For example, set up costs, refrigeration, and carriage costs, among others. Some distributors will combine all the cost into an overall total while others may prefer to show you itemized costs. To save on the cost, give your right artwork in the most suitable format. Changes will add more costs, but your distributor should advise you on how to do it.
Terms of payment vary from supplier to supplier or distributor to distributor. Since promotional items are personalised, most distributors will operate on a pro-forma or order payment basis. Others may ask for a deposit and a final payment before dispatch. Some may offer credit terms where trade history has already been established. Mostly, when items are being shipped from overseas, an upfront payment is required.
PROMOTIONAL ITEMS BUYING TIPS
Evade the Buying Rush
It is always good to plan to allow your distributor to achieve your goals. Even if your distributor is capable of working on tight deadlines, you should be aware that it is not possible to change the manufacturer’s production cycle. Give yourself at least three weeks from order approval to avoid additional express expenses. Enough time is required for checking stock availability, authorization of your artwork, printing, and delivery. More lead time means better buying prices.
Select your Products Carefully
Keep in mind the audience you are targeting when choosing your promotional items. Also, put into consideration the message to be conveyed. The right product should add value to your target audience, meaning that your marketing costs will achieve more extended benefits.
For your branding needs don’t hesitate to contact us and we hope that you found our Promotional Products guide useful