When you’re ordering a promotional product, whether it’s a series of pens or tote bags for a contest, it’s tempting to purchase the cheapest possible. If you’re giving something away for free, it makes sense to spend as little as possible, right?
But in reality, promotional products are just as important part of your marketing program as a well-designed print ad. If done correctly, your return on investment (ROI) can be far greater than the amount you actually spent in the first place.
Your brand is your company’s identity – the way potential customers or clients think of you. Every piece of advertising and every client interaction impacts your overall brand, and promotional products are no exception.
Purchasing a high-quality promotional item is akin to investing in the atmosphere of a restaurant. Technically, you can serve your food on disposable paper plates; but if you want to attract a higher end clientele, you’ll need to purchase a decent set of porcelain dishware. The initial investment now will pay off in the long run, when you start getting more customers who are willing to pay higher prices for the dining experience.
Likewise, a higher-quality business card makes an impression on the way your clients see you. A cheap design on low quality paper is less impressive than a glossy, well-crafted card. When forced to choose between two otherwise equal companies, customers will choose the one with the better presentation.
Your promotional products don’t just affect how customers see you; it also reflects how you view them. If you give them a high-quality shirt, they will view it as a gift, and want to wear it on a regular basis. If you choose the cheapest article of clothing available, the customer will wonder how much you value the promotion – and in turn, how much you value their time.
The other side of this is that you want to give customers something that they will value. A cheap pen that doesn’t work will get tossed in the trash. A nice pen with a comfortable grip and quality ink will stay on their desk for years. Even if they don’t think about it consciously, the simple presence of your promotional gift will remind both potential and past clients that you exist.
The goal is to find a balance between the cost of the product and the overall effect on the customers. You can’t always afford to give away the most expensive item in the catalogue. There’s a reason that you don’t send an expensive gift basket to every customer who walks in your store; the amount you spend on that gift is far more than ROI you would get in return. You will need to judge whether the price of the initial gift will be paid for by the benefits of the promotion. The important thing to remember is that those benefits aren’t always clearly visible on the surface.
The next time you order promotional products, do a small cost-benefit analysis in your head. A cheaper product will cost you less money up front, but is less likely to impress or stick with your target audience. Higher quality items are more expensive, but will have a greater impact in the long run. The decision is up to you.