Promotional Products Buying Tips

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Promotional Products Buying Tips

Tips to making the most of your company's promotional item purchases.

Start Early!

Plan your merchandise campaign a month in advance, if possible. A rush job is more likely to result in mistakes, so take your time and carefully prepare each step of the process several weeks from the launch date. The larger your order, the more time you will need to ensure quality and accuracy in your promotional items. While you can sometimes request rush service, you may have to pay the distributor a premium for it. Get it on the calendar, find a distributor to work with, and start checking out promotional merchandise well in advance of your event to get the best choice of items at the most affordable price.

Give Some Thought to Your Promo Item.

Don't be satisfied with bargain basement leftovers and giveaway pricing, unless you are absolutely sure the item is right for your company image. Choosing a suitable merchandise type is important for targeting your market and getting the overall best results possible. The prevailing idea, of course, is to bring your business favorable attention from those who receive or come in contact with your promotional merchandise. If the distributor tries to sell you on an item that you don't think will work for your clients, be up front in explaining that you would like to consider other merchandise for your campaign.

Start With Your Employees.

Build morale and exposure simultaneously when you give away t-shirts, ball caps, mouse pads, and other usable items that they won't have to buy elsewhere. Everyone loves free gifts, to reward your staff by handing out a symbol of appreciation that they can proudly use to demonstrate their affiliation with your generous company. You can do this at the company picnic or Christmas party. Or choose a time when profits are up or morale is down. Be sure to hand out your gifts with plenty of thanks and smiles.

Plan Ahead.

Build a marketing campaign around your merchandise to create a buzz and an event that will grab people's attention. You may even want to submit a press release to the newspaper for special events, like year-end profits, for example. Publish a blurb in the company newsletter. Have everyone wear their shirts or caps to the Chamber of Commerce luncheon on the same day. You can create a strong, positive impression when you strategize beforehand rather than handing out items randomly, without thought.

Test-Market Your Merchandise.

Give away a few samples to family members or departmental employees. Ask the trade show host how the items went and whether anyone commented on them. Even negative comments can be helpful when you place the next order or plan next year's campaign. You might want to prepare a half-page survey for the display table or customer feedback box that will let recipients comment on the merchandise and make suggestions for the next promotion.

Plan Each Phase

Make your merchandise campaign count by planning each phase of the implementation and making modifications as needed. With each succeeding campaign, your results should continue to improve.

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