A New Use for a Tried and True Promotional Product

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As any parent of young children knows, having a menu to color and play games on can be the difference between a peaceful dining out experience and a “Where’s my food. I want to go” full out tantrum disaster for the family and all those within hearing distance. I sell coloring books/sheets and activity books/sheets that often double as menus to restaurants day in and day out.

As I was looking at some samples I’d recently received from one of my suppliers, it dawned on me all the amazing opportunities there are to utilize these to make a variety of experiences more peaceful:

1) Realtors can have these available at open houses. They can give the adults the opportunity to talk more in detail about the house as well as keep the kids (with their potentially sticky fingers) at a kitchen table while the parents look around.

2) Any contract signing occasion where children may be present (mortgage, car purchase, attorneys, etc…) would benefit from having something available to keep the kids busy. Parents often underestimate, or forget, how long it can take to complete paperwork and may bring the kids along thinking it will only take a few minutes. Anyone whose ever purchased a car from a dealership knows that it can take hours to go through the process. If an activity book is available, the kids can be kept busy while the parents concentrate on the business at hand. It may even speed the process up a bit because there will be fewer distractions.

Of course, having your imprint on such a book doesn’t hurt. Kids love to hold onto these types of things and that means your contact information (and your thoughtfulness) will be around the home for the parents to see.

Activity Book

If you’d like more information on getting coloring or activity books or sheets imprinted with your information, call us at 619-697-2045 or e-mail us at info@levpromotions.com or go to our Coloring & Activity Book catalog at http://www.levpromotions.com/item_choose.cfm?&CatalogGUID=2b2c74ff-945c-405f-9023-39ececbda6ee.

Is It Wrong to Market a Product/Service Based on a Disaster?

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This is a tough one for me. I have a client whose whole business is developing contingency plans for businesses. (You know, those plans every business – and family, for that matter – is supposed to have for when a disaster or other emergency happens so to allow for minimal disruption in the workflow. When I met with him yesterday, I pointed out that, given the horrible circumstances in Japan, this is the time he’s got to reach out to every client and prospect and make sure they understand the advantages of being prepared and the probable consequences if they’re not.

As I was starting to say this, I hemmed and hawed and begged his forgiveness if I sounded crass. I assured him that I have nothing but the utmost compassion for the people who are injured, homeless, hungry, and missing their loved ones due to death or inability to locate them. That being said, I told him that, with this fresh on people’s minds, and still playing on every news show out there, this is the time to make sure that everyone he knows is aware that there is a way to mitigate both their personal and professional circumstances in the event of any type of emergency or disaster happening to them.

Yes, some people will look on it in a negative way and consider it capitalizing on other’s misfortunes. I say, if you have the tools to help get a family and/or business back on track after this type of loss and heartbreak, then you are doing the right thing and possibly preventing them from more suffering than they need to have if such a thing happens to them.

If you still have any vestiges of guilt about it, then donate a portion of the proceeds to the cause that created the awareness. You’ll be doing good both on the front end and, if the worst should happen to your clients, on the back-end, too.

Can Marketing Deliver Measurable Results?

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There is an old cliché in the marketing industry: “Half of my marketing is effective. The problem is I don’t know which half.”

The fact is that most people don’t really know if their marketing programs are effective and, if so, which ones are effective and how effective they are.

Although there are some aspects of marketing that are somewhat ephemeral, most marketing efforts should be and can be measured. The key is to have SMART goals for each objective and then to implement a metric device that can measure how the program is performing in relation to the objective.

That means that you can’t just exhibit at a trade show, put some pens (or magnets, or mugs, or flying discs, or whatever) on your table and expect results because those items are all gone by the end of the show. When you implement a marketing campaign that utilizes promotional products, media ads, direct mailing, social media, or any other method of getting your message out, you must have some sort of call-to-action associated with it in order to determine results.

Remember that a complete strategic plan for any marketing campaign includes: 1) an objective, preferably a SMART goal  2) a tie-in to your branding or event theme  3) a call-to-action  4) a system to measure results  5) a person responsible for seeing the program through from beginning (planning) to end (final evaluation of results).

Are Promotional Products an Expense Or an Investment?

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I was recently approached by someone who had gotten my contact information from a local printer. This person publishes e-books and had decided, on his own, that license plate frames and maybe pens were the way to promote his e-books. In regards to the license plate frames, he had decided that  it would create a type of affinity club if people saw the frames on cars as they were driving around town – much like seeing a KPBS Member license plate does.

During the course of our phone conversations, I told him that, as a promotional products distributor, I could certainly take his order for whatever product he decided on. As a promotional marketing consultant, however, I would not recommend licence plate frames to him for a number of reasons. First and foremost, most people won’t attach a license plate frame to their car unless it’s a cause, organization, or part of their life that they feel strongly about. Simply buying an e-book through amazon.com is probably not going to give the average consumer  enough reason to rush out and proclaim their affinity to this publishing company.

I gave him information on the frames and on pens. In addition, I gave him product information on two other items that I know will be better suited for promoting his line of books. What I did not give him yet was my recommendation on why these products would be more effective, nor my ideas on how they should be used. (In the end, even the right product used the wrong way will not achieve desired results.) I did let him know that, should he decide to go with one of my recommendations, I would explain my reasoning and how to use them to achieve maximum results.

His response back to me was, “Thanks. I also plan to check with Office Depot because I think they sell this kind of stuff.” In other words, “I want to see if they’re cheaper.”

I’ve gone to Office Depot to see what a promotional product buying experience would be like there. With all due respect to them, I asked about promotional products at the service counter and was given a catalog to look through. When I asked what she would recommend for my needs, I was told that, “Pens are always a good bet.” When I asked why, I was told, “Because everyone can use a pen.”

OK, so you can buy the same type of items from an office supply store or online, and it may be less. The question you have to ask yourself is will I see results if I get this product? If you don’t know the answer, or you’ve done it and didn’t see results, then you can classify that money spent as an expense.

If, on the other hand, you worked with a professional consultant who was able to guide you to an appropriate promotional product for your needs and showed you how to implement a promotional campaign that would give you measurable results, isn’t that worth paying more for?

Which would you rather do? Spend $100 and see no tangible results, or invest $150 and get a measurable ROI/ROO?

How much is your money worth?