Every day we are bombarded
with dozens, scores, hundreds of messages.
This was not the case
in the year 1845. The year of the earliest recorded use of an advertising
specialty. The reason then is the same now; Recognition.
An insurance agent
asked a number of business friends to display his announcement in their
office. They all refused. This ingenious gentlemen then purchased blank
calendar pads, attached his business message and presented each as a gift.
They promptly placed them on their walls - thus pleasing everyone.
Today there are 7
specific target market sales tools;
#1. vertical business
trade, & consumer special interest publications
#2. the telephone, as a marketing tool, & for fax marketing
#3. direct mail aimed at specific audiences
#4. vertical industry trade shows / exhibitions
#5. 1:1 sales calls - still "alive" since Adam & Eve
#6. the World Wide Web and E-mail marketing
#7. advertising specialties & premiums
Every other communication
method is designed for a broad based reach.
Let's clarify the
difference between Advertising Specialties and Premiums. First, Ad
Specialties . . .
a). a useful idea
for office, home, car, boat, for travel, for games, a party, for fun,
usually of nominal value
b). they bring a very specific target message, includes the name &
logo of the giving organization
c). sometimes they are personalized - usually not, and
d). very importantly - they are offered with no strings attached ... you
receive it only because of who you are & where you are.
a little different . . .
a). they are useful,
of a higher quality and value
b). they include a "marketing & sales" message, related
to the product or service being sold
c). the item is personalized to the receiver, and
d). a premium comes with strings ... you must do something to earn this
There are 5 categories
of specialties and premiums;
- wall or desk, watch, wallet or purse, large, small, pop-up, by the month,
quarter or multi-year, with beautiful pictures, on paper, wood, plastic,
cloth, film & just about everything in between. Businesses use calendars
countless ways - the average home has 4.
II Writing Tools
- pencils & pens of all types, shapes, sizes, styles, color, description,
singles or in sets, by the dozen or gross, of a wide variety of quality
& value, from a few pennies to hundreds of dollars.
III Business Gifts
& Awards - upscale ideas worth a little more, things of "keep
value". Includes desk sets & award/wall plaques. Usually has
the givers logo, used as reward, for goodwill, as a "thank-you",
- clothing covers everything from head to toe, from hats & caps to
dress shoes & sport socks ... and almost everything in between. "T"
shirts, dress shirts, neckties & scarfs, sports coats & team jackets,
belts & belt buckles, sweaters, sweat suits, & seat bands - plus
dozens of other ideas.
V All Other Ideas
- a wide variety of products in this catch-all category ... such as
beer & coffee mugs, rulers & luggage tags, key chains, notebooks
& briefcases, clocks & watches, personal appearance items, and
hundreds of other items - each used to meet an objective - and to be remembered.
There are countless
ways to use this marketing/direct marketing medium. Here is my suggested
list of The 13 Best Times to use Advertising Specialties &
1. To promote the
opening of just about anything ... especially things "new".
A new plant. A new
office. A new store. A move to a new location. Plus, a new phone number,
postal code, the addition of your web site, corporate E-mail address.
If your marketplace will find anything about you "new", a specialty
will help you get your message across.
2. To introduce a
new product or a new service. Usually such intros are so important to
a corporation upper level management is deeply involved. Maybe it involves
a name change, a division change or addition, new people promoted to handle
this new offering. Whatever it is, those who can buy what you sell need
to know about it, and remember it.
3. To motivate and
inspire your team. It could be motivation of your sales team or office
staff, your independent reps, your plant workers, your store folks. Within
a single department or company wide. It could be at a sales meeting, an
annual meeting, a company picnic. And the reason doesn't matter either.
People respond to an outreach. It is not about cost - it is about value.
4. To motivate your
clients and prospects. To do what it is you want them to do. To "stroke"
them into action. Specialties can improve your relations, and act as a
goodwill tool, too. Everyone likes to receive a gift - you'll benefit
when you give one to your customers.
5. To gain new business
- to open new accounts. A specialty or premium can become your offer -
the incentive to at least talk with you. Everything that comes in a tube,
a box, a puffy bag gets opened - guaranteed 100% of the time. You will
get an audience - at least long enough to tell or share your story. And
frequently the "extra"encourages a sale. At least a trial. People
respond to greed - which is not a bad thing - it is a fact. Offer a "thing"
or "idea", and a certain group of your prospects will become
6. To create an image,
to demonstrate a capability, to build awareness, to position your organization
in the minds of your audience. Each an "advertising" and "public
relations" goal. Which, when repeated often, can become marketing
and sales agents. Specialties and premiums by definition are kept, saved,
used, seen, passed along ... rarely tossed. So, you are remembered when
it is time to buy.
7. To develop traffic
- usually trade show or retail store traffic. People traffic - from those
who are most likely to be impressed and make a buying decision in your
direction. The specialty can be mailed, hand-delivered, or offered on
site when your prospect or customer visits. There are many options on
what to offer, and how to make your presentation. The idea is to get more
people to visit. A specialty or premium will help.
8. To activate inactive
accounts. Most customers become non-customers from a lack of attention.
A specialty sent through the mail, with a premium on the back-end when
a new order is received, gives you an opportunity to gain back what you
lost. Offer a benefit "extra", and many will respond.
9. To open new doors
- to get into truly new accounts, places you have not been able to crack
using conventional marketing and sales methods. You undoubtedly know of
business you don't have, you should have. So, reach out with a unique,
different, unusual approach - something others are not doing - offer an
incentive. Initially for an appointment - later for a purchase.
10. To move - SELL!
- product. At any level. Retail. Wholesale. Through dealers or distributors.
Direct to end-users. Or up-front with manufacturers. Your product need
not be a close-out item - or it might be. It could be end of season. It
could be you have something new. Or, your promotion could be in response
to something your competition is doing. Doesn't matter ... if you want
to move products quickly, offer a specialty or premium ... and watch the
11. To balance in
improper product mix. Inventory control is key to profits for many companies.
And the best up front controls don't always work ... as the marketplace
doesn't always respond the way they did last time. Use a specialty to
gain attention - use a premium to pay off the sale.
12. To introduce new
people. And to reward others. Up to this point I've talked mostly about
places and things. Yet, it is people who are most important. It is people
who make things happen. These people who interface with your customers
are most important. Make sure they each know you care - make an offer,
give a reward.
13. To say "thank-you"
to anyone - everyone - for any reason. At any time In any place. What
you offer is a demonstration of your caring. An appreciation for a job
well done. A goal met. For being a leader - or a follower. For being loyal.
For walking the extra mile. Or ... for just being!
At the top of this
Baker's Dozen collection I talked about 7 specific target market tools.
It is this very description of "target" that gives ad specialties
and premiums their place in the mix. You can "talk" with your
staff, your prospects, your customers with their use.
Specialties and premiums
can be passive, or active. Or both. They will make an impression - it
is up to you to decide what that is. They will support what you do - or
not... that too is up to your selection.
They have high retention
value, and thus high recall value. They will help you be remembered when
you're not around. And when it is time to buy.
and Premiums - the medium that remains to be seen.