The Brain Storm

December 14, 2008

Let the Force Be with You - Advertising Speciality Items

Hi, it's Bob Kenehan, president of dbp|chicago. There is good reason why so many marketers refer to promotional or advertising specialty items as "trinkets and trash" or "tsochkes" (Yiddish for “trinkets”) First of all, from a moral and environmental perspective, it's really wasteful to hand out marketing trinkets that will be immediately tossed into the trash. Even items that are promoted as "green". Take those really cheesy mini desk calendars you get from your insurance agent for example. Your Agent selected the green calendar this year because it was printed on 100% recycled paper . . . but you still pitch it. (and I keep thinking of all of those kids chucking their unopened McDonalds Happy Meal toys into the trash that end up in land fills . . . one of my pet peeves )

I think of all of the unwanted, cheap or unnecessary promotional items as "the dark side", whereas the really impactful items are the "force". And what a boon it is for your sales force or your marketing effort when you develop a campaign around the "perfect" viral giveaway item that creates a wow factor or a buzz. The ROI on great giveaway items is HUGE. My feeling is it's your moral marketing responsibility to hand out useful promotional items that people want . . and want to keep.

In my experience, there are three things that make for a high ROI ad specialty program. (1) Quality, (2) Uniqueness and (3) Relevance to your target audience.

We have created many memorable programs for our clients. And the funny thing is that budget is not the driver between a good promotion and a bad one. There are many super inexpensive items that are still unique, high quality and speak to your tarket market.

A really great example is from a company called Image 3D Image3D is the premiere producer of custom View-Master style viewers, reels and 3-D promotional tools that help companies communicate their marketing messages in unforgettable ways. For about 6 bucks you can create a great giveaway that is fun, unique and of high quality. Here is a link to some great sample success stories

Another successful promotion that comes to mind was with one of our clients, SPSS, who are leaders in predictive analytics software. Their target audience are highly educated marketers, social scientists and statisticians, (mostly male) Very techie types. We found one of the most successful and coveted items have been the SPSS white retro plastic pocket protectors. Super inexpensive item. Go figure, but they love them because (1) they are high quality (2) they are unique (where do you go to BUY a pocket protector?) and (3) they are relevant and useful to the target audience. When I say love, I mean the SPSS clients LOVE the pocket protectors. (And we love thinking up this stuff)

If you are interested looking for ways to help find the next cool giveaway item for your company, please call us at 312.263.1569 or to start your own search you can go to Cheers, Bob

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