They work to get results
to your direct mail, your space ad, your exhibit stand at a trade show,
off a television commercial - in the hands of your sales reps.
Because human beings
are "people", advertising specialties and premiums get our attention.
They are "things" we see, touch, taste, smell, hear. They are
colorful or interesting or attractive or fascinating. Someone else has
this "thing" - we want one too.
Specialties and premiums
should be considered as you build your direct marketing program. They
can work for you. Let's talk about what these tools are - and how to use
Every day we are bombarded
with dozens, scores, literally hundreds of advertising, marketing, sales
promotion, merchandising and sales messages. Something like 560 a day.
We may see 80, remember 12, and have strong opinions about only
Although this was
not the case in 1845 when the earliest recorded use of an advertising
specialty occurred, the reason then was the same as now: offering recognition
and being remembered.
An insurance agent
in upstate New York asked a number of his business friends to display
his announcement in their offices. They all refused. WII-FM went into
play: What's In It For Me.
So this ingenious
gentleman purchased a handful of blank calendar pads, attached his business
message and presented them as gifts to those same friends. They promptly
placed them on their wall, thus pleasing everyone. There was something
in it for me. I had gained a useful item. This simple start was the beginning
of advertising specialties as a business and marketing tool.
Let's define the terms.
What IS an "advertising specialty"? What IS a "premium?
have these characteristics:
- They are useful ideas for the office or home, car or boat, for traveling,
for fun and games - and they are usually of nominal value,
- They bring with them some message - usually very specific as part
of a total marketing program,
- They include the name and logo of the distributing company or association,
- They are rarely personalized to the receiver,
- They are offered with absolutely no strings attached - you get them
because you are who you are or where you are - you don't have to do
a thing, just be present.
You use a specialty
prior to getting a piece of business ... or in conjunction with contact
with your prospect or customer. For example, I've given away non-personalized
post-it note pads or pens at many of my seminars. Each a simple tool the
receivers can use. All with absolutely no strings. They attend the seminar
- they receive the small "gift". Period.
are used to open a door, to increase interest or awareness or your company,
its' products and services. Maybe when you launch something new, move
into new territory - introduce a new person - you give away a specialty
to get attention.
Premiums are a
- They are useful,
usually of higher quality and value than specialties,
- Sometimes they
come with a message and as part of a total marketing program - not necessarily
as a part of the premium itself. Instead they are offered by virtue
of close association with the product or service being promoted,
- Frequently, not
always, these items are personalized by name, company or some other
way to the receiver,
- They most definitely
come with strings attached - strings that say: "when you take this
hardware demonstration we'll give you this software package", or
"buy this product by this date and we'll give you this bonus gift
Most often you use
a premium following contact, or a sale, a presentation, a meeting. The
premium is used to cement the relationship you started, to build on your
position. You offer the premium to look good in the eyes of your customer
and to encourage repeat business.
My use of premiums
is as a small gift I give sponsors of my seminars. There are always 2
or 3 people who are key to the success of each presentation. Those that
coordinate everything, reach out with extra service - do something to
make my visit pleasant, the experience enjoyable.
To these people I
present a "small piece of Arizona" - a gift from where I live.
This has varied over the years. A truly unique design paper weight or
tile, useful on their desk or in their office, has been well received
by my hosts.
What makes both advertising
specialties and premiums different from other forms of advertising and
marketing is they are useful. You can do something with them, and usually
gain a benefit by doing so. They are not only a message - they are an
item with a message.
and premiums offer 4 key strengths:
- They target a very
specific marketplace, the audience you want to talk to, and no one else,
- They are
of lasting value, because they are useful,
- They can serve
a motivational tool, as well as reminder, and "thank-you",
- They communicate
the specific message you wish to communicate.
Because they offer
long life (they hang around a while), and because they get multiple exposures
(hanging around gets them seen and used), they rightly fit one of the
key ingredients of a successful marketing and advertising campaign; they
reach the right audience with a message, and they do it over and over
again and again.
and premiums offer more than dimensions. Length, height and width are
a part of each item - you can hold it in your hand or set it on a table
or hang it on the wall - it is physical.
These length, height
and width factors also give a very direct and personal touch
... that extra dimension ... FEELING. Which translates to "emotion".
An extremely important and active part of just about every sales activity.
Feeling is rarely available in any other marketing or advertising tool.
It is with specialties and premiums.
There are just 5
specialty/premium product categories. Every one of the more than 25,000
items that have been used as a specialty or premium falls into one of
these 5 categories:
wall or desk, watch, wallet or purse, large, small, pop-up, by the
month, quarter year or longer, multi-page with beautiful pictures
or art, or on a single page with a simple message, printed on paper,
plastic, cloth, wood, film and just about everything in between. Businesses
use calendars in countless ways ... the average home has 4.
- pencils and pens of all types, shapes, sizes, styles, colors
and descriptions, singles and in sets, by the dozen or gross, available
in a wide variety of quality and value, from a few pennies to hundreds
of dollars or pounds. There isn't a business or person alive, at home
or in the office, that cannot make use of another pen or pencil.
& Awards - usually upscale ideas worth a little more, things
of "keep" value. Includes functional desk sets and award/wall
plaques. It may or may not carry the advertisers name/logo, design
or sales message. Used as a reward, for good will, as a "thank-you,
as a gift. Available as a serious business tool, and as recognition
clothing covers everything from head to toe. Hats and caps to
shoes and socks ... and literally everything in between. T-shirts
and dress shirts, neckties and scarves, boxer shorts and dress shorts,
sports coats and team jackets, belts and buckles, sweaters, sweat
suits and sweat bands ... plus dozens more. Used by businesses for
team building - used by teams to build rapport.
Catch All -
All other ideas - a wide variety of products - fall into this "catch-all"
category. Such as beer and coffee mugs, rulers and tape measures,
luggage, brief cases and baggage tags, key-chains, notebooks, watches,
calculators, radios, televisions, telephones, sports equipment of
every dimension, beach and swimming pool toys - literally thousands
of ideas. All used to meet the objectives of recognition for the individual
- and of being remembered.
and premiums, to be successful, must be IDEA oriented. Versus "thing".
Yes, you may use the
item, the "thing", to get the idea. And to get your message
across to your audience. To make that favorable impression. To get attention.
To say "thank-you". To create a good image. To increase your
awareness. To position your product/service in the eye of your marketplace.
To be remembered. To help you achieve an objective.
Specialties and premiums
can be passive ... or active. Sometimes they may be both - such as a pen
and pencil desk set. You can "look" at it - you can also "use"
They build an impression
of you, your company, your product and service. They have high retention
value, and thus high recall value. They help you be remembered when you're
not around. And most often at a reasonable cost per contact.
You may find them
useful to generate a lead - and then close that lead into a sale. An advertising
specialty may be offered as an incentive to gain a response. Allowing
your sales rep to make a presentation. A premium may be used as a closer.
And to create "people"
traffic at your store, shop, restaurant or exhibit both at a trade show.
Or to gather more
donations for a cause - "when you give "X" you'll earn
a FREE "Y" thank-you gift".
Plus, as a bonus "extra"
when you make a mail-order purchase from a catalog, off a television commercial
or web site promotion.
and premiums - the medium that "remains to be seen". Think how
you can use this marketing concept in your next DM campaign.