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Tchotchkes: Marketing Starts After the Give Away

tchotchkes, marketing, promotional items

How to be more effective with tchotchkes and promotional items. Photo credit: Flickr.

Note:  This is an exceptional guest post by Matthew Powers of Blue Soda Promo. Matt had pitched another idea, but as it is with me, I asked him to try for something a little different: Everyone loves tchotchkes, but how can we use them beyond give-aways at trade shows? He accepted the question came back with this post, which I think is pretty compelling.  Want to pitch a post?  Read these guidelines first

>>>Promotional products are still an effective form of advertising.  While most can easily see the benefits of a giant billboard that millions of drivers will see or a PPC campaign that drives targeted traffic to your site; they also may think twice when it comes to promotional items.

But promotional products have staying power. According to the 2013 ASI Impressions Study, recipients keep a promotional product for, on average, 5.8 months.  That’s longer than it took us to completely forget who actually sang, “Call Me, Maybe”. 

On top of that, 87 percent of people who own a promotional product can recall the advertiser.  Why? People tend to think higher of the brand because these items are usually given away for free and are useful.

Although these numbers seem impressive, it takes much more than handing out branded merchandise on a street corner to make a REAL impression and get those potential customers to convert.

Compliments go a Long Way

Coca-Cola is a brand recognized all over the world and it would be easy for them to forget some of their smaller demographics.  Yet, when Denmark was named “Happiest Country in the World”, Coke ran an amazing marketing campaign, printing promotional flags (made from the Coca-Cola logo) to give away at the airport to help welcome visitors to the country.

Their cheap, yet effective advertising helped congratulate Denmark and make them feel like they were a part of the Coca-Cola brand.

Social Media Gains

Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library is a great public speaker, but also a genius when it comes to utilizing the power of social media to build his brand.  In his 2011 speech at the Inc 500 Seminar, he told the story of how he used Twitter to track one of his customers.

This customer was a HUGE bears fan.  They read the emotional tweets that came Sunday after Sunday about the game. And thanks to social media, now they had the research they needed to find what he was truly passionate about.

But how do you leverage that into more sales?  Gary went to eBay and bought a signed Jay Culter jersey with a simple customized thank you card from Wine Library.  The result? They gained a customer for life.

Now buying signed jerseys for each one of your customers may be outside your budget.  But a simple thank you and some unexpected swag can go a long way towards customer loyalty.

Word of Mouth

Neal Sales-Griffin is the founder of the Starter League, a coding school and Chicago startup.  They didn’t have much of a marketing budget early on, so it was important to them to focus on functionality.  If their students weren’t going to use their promotional products on a daily basis, their budget would be shot and exposure would be minimal.

However, their Starter League backpackers were pretty popular downtown and around the loop and  it was what fueled their word-of-mouth campaign.

Promotional products can help kick start even a small startup, but knowing your customer base is the first step.  Handing out something like a Frisbee for your construction business isn’t going to leave as big of an impact as a level or screwdriver.

Getting your Foot in the Door

Blue Soda Promo is a promotional product company itself.  It is one of over 24,000 companies in the United States alone that imprints on products, so to say there is a little competition is a big understatement.

With that much competition it’s important to differentiate themselves and stand out from the crowd.  A simple mailer isn’t going to cut it, no matter how much free swag comes inside.  It was important for BSP to stick to our core values and get creative.

So to get the attention of marketing directors across the country, BSP imprinted their logo on rubber ducks with a personalized message inside that stated, “When you’re ready to get your ducks in a row, give us a call.”

This had an amazing response rate, with executives rushing to ask who came up with such a clever campaign.  This shows that your work isn’t done once your logo is imprinted on a product.  The more thought you put behind it, the more memorable it will become.

About the author: Matt Powers stands in at 6’9”, 260 pounds and NO he does not play basketball.  Instead, he is an Internet Marketer at Blue Soda Promo.  He also rambles about things on his own blog and never misses a great documentary.

Photo credit:  Flickr.

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