How to Choose the RIGHT Promotional Product

August 28th, 2013

Promotional products and apparel are great for showing your appreciation, launching a new service, or even for building loyalty. The key, of course, is to choose them wisely.  Here are a few tips for choosing the right promotional item for your customers, prospects or employees.

Know Your Target Market
This is the most important place to start.  Keep in mind your audience will accept just about any free item, but the goal is to get them to use it, and that’s why it’s important that the item addresses your target markets needs AND their tastes.

So, who is your target market?  What’s their average age, gender and income level?  What do they struggle with?  If your target market is a business professional, what position do they typically hold?  Analyze your customer base and figure out what makes them tick. You can do this by simply exploring social media sites, or surveying some of your clients directly.  Once you’ve defined who your audience is, it’s easier to find relevant items.  Reach out to us or a professional in the industry for help if you’re still stuck.

Know Your Distribution Method
How will you get these in your target market’s hands?  If you’re including a product in a mailing campaign, chose a light, thin item like a pen or a magnet.  Apparel items and mugs or stemware are ideal handed out in person or at trade shows.

Looks ARE Important
Cheap looking items or those of low quality, or worse, items that don’t consistently work, will reflect poorly on your brand and company reputation.  Always make sure they are good quality.  Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean expensive.

A few more tips to remember:

  • Don’t be boring. You’re not boring, so why should an item that represents your brand be boring? There are so many options for almost any type of product you’re seeking out.  Remember, the objective is to choose an item that gets held on to and used!
  • Choose a product with a long shelf life. The longer it gets used, the better brand exposure you get. Great long term items include lipbalm, unique mugs and quality apparel to name a few.
  • Imprint with your logo and a call to action. Do you want people to visit your website, email you or call?  Whatever you want them to do should be your call to action.  Make sure the color of the item works with your brand.
  • Have a few different items on hand for various occasions. This is a great strategy for trade shows.  Have an inexpensive give-away for all who stop by and a nicer item for those who give them contact info, and an even nicer option for those you have a conversation with.
  • Think ahead! It’s best to get a sample of what you’re interested in ordering so take action weeks – maybe even months – before you actually need the item in hand.  This allows time for you to touch, feel, and even use a sample before committing to a large run.

If you’d like our 3-step worksheet on How to Choose the Right Promotional Item, just send us an email!

Creative Retail Window Displays: Art Meets Apparel

November 12th, 2012

Store windows used to be the retailer’s first touch point with their consumer.  Although technology has become that primary touch point – usually through the company’s website – retailers still need to stage their windows to set the tone for their brand, and give the consumer a feel for what they can expect once they step inside.

Whenever we travel, we enjoy checking out what retailers are creating to capture the attention, and communicate their brand to busy shoppers.  During a recent trip to Toronto, we found quite a few stores utilizing objects like old books, birch logs, styrofoam and plastic plates.  It was refreshing to see such creative and tactile solutions – especially for the electronically over-charged consumer.  Check out a few of our favorites…

 

Retail window display using text books

 

Retail window display using plastic and syrofoam plates, cups and metallic disks.  Second photo is a close-up.

 

Retail window display with old clocks for a change the clock themed sale.

 

Retail window display using 8-1/2 x 11 “snapshot” prints as background

 

Microsoft’s New Logo… Good to be Square?

August 27th, 2012

By now, you’ve probably seen Microsoft’s new logo… four colored squares forming one large square, and flanked by simple grey type “Microsoft”.  It’s been 25 years since it’s been re-designed, and no doubt, it needed an overhaul.

But as a designer, I’ve got to ask… what’s with the square(s)?

The square is comprised of four 90 degree angles. By it’s very nature, it doesn’t express movement. It’s not an interesting or dynamic shape, and because of that, is used when companies want to convey stability, consistency and safety (think H&R Block).

The downside of the square? Well, it’s boring.

What does that say about Microsoft?

 

What’s Not to Love About Every Door Direct Mail?

July 25th, 2012

Direct mail is still the perfect complement to ALL other media channels, making it a great vehicle multi-channel marketing. It is measurable – giving marketers data to gauge its success, and information to improve future projects, and consumers still like to receive it. Think of it as a respectfully intrusive medium! Direct mail tends to linger around longer than other mediums, giving your brand more exposure. It’s also comprehensive. 90% of America goes to their mailbox daily. The US Postal Service (USPS) has 100% coverage of every business and residence in the country.

And now, marketers and business owners have an even better, much more cost-effective way to deliver their marketing message in Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) program from the USPS.

What is EDDM?

You may have seen the catchy commercials about the US Postal Service’s program for EDDM. It was created to give business owners and marketers a more cost-effective way to reach their audience using direct mail. If your target audience or customer base is within close proximity to your location, EDDM could be a great solution for you!

Why we love EDDM

Cost savings on Postage: A typical direct mail campaign for a letter size (6” x 11” max dimension) mailed presort standard would cost an average of 23.5 cents per piece. EDDM postage per piece is 14.5 cents… that can make a significant dent in your marketing expenditures! On oversized pieces, EDDM ships as a flat so it can be up to 12” x 15” inches in size while still only a 14.5 cent postage cost per piece. Traditional presort standard costs of a flat is approximately 35 cents per piece. That’s a 20 cent per piece savings!

Cost Savings on Production: No need to purchase a list: no need to inkjet address; no need to purchase a permit; no need to wafer seal. These are all hard costs that can be avoided with EDDM.

Speed of Delivery: Once delivered to the local branches, EDDM mailings are delivered in 1-2 days. Traditional presort standard mailings can take between 3-9 working days and with all the financial challenges at the USPS, my gut tells me it will be closer to the latter half. So, EDDM is cheaper than presort standard yet as fast as 1st class!

More Real Estate: Why send a postcard when you can send a multipage newsletter? You’ve got more real estate to work with because according to the post office, all EDDM can mail as a flat (up to 12” x 15” in size). Think of the story you can tell with a 22” x 8.5” printed piece that folded to 11” x 8.5”, or an 18” x 24” poster that folds to a 9” x 12” mailer? Now that’s an impressive piece to receive in the mail… and guaranteed to get attention! Will print costs increase? Absolutely, but postage savings and open rate will more than make up for it.

Brand Integrity: If you’ve got a solid, respected and trusted brand, then you need to make sure everything you do reflects that… right down to the delivery method of your message. There’s something to be said for mail being delivered by a trusted carrier and delivered to a real mailbox. Personally, I view fliers and postcards wedged between my door and curled into the railings of my porch much differently than those delivered to my mailbox, and believe me, your audience does too.

Who is ideal for EDDM?

Retailers having a grand opening or sale who want more foot traffic in their store.
Restaurants who serve the immediate community who want to fill more seats, or sell more pizza’s.
Service businesses like dentists or florists needing to drum up more clients.
Community-based non-profits who need to build awareness within their community or promote an event or fundraiser.

Keep in mind, EDDM is not the vehicle for personalized marketing, or for a targeting mailing to specific demographics. The USPS is able to offer this deeply discounted EDDM service because some of the burden of prepping the mailing is shifted to the client.

If you’re just starting out, make sure you work with a marketing company that has an official Customer Registration Identification Number (CRID) from the USPS, and has experience with EDDM mailings. They will be able to help you understand the process better, explain the cost savings you can realize, and get you on your way to real marketing success!

Contact us for more information on how EDDM can help you reach your target audience!

Why Retailers Should Target Female Consumers – Michael J. Silverstein – Harvard Business Review

July 30th, 2011

Great article by the Harvard Business Review.  For female consumers, it’s all about time… literally!

Why Retailers Should Target Female Consumers – Michael J. Silverstein – Harvard Business Review.

Cool Fold of the week

April 8th, 2011

A unique fold can help your marketing piece stand out. Check out this fold – what a creative way to maximize a message!

We’re officially here!

March 30th, 2011

Well, we’ve finally launched the RAD Graphics blog site. Please check back for ideas, thoughts, tips and more!

Hello world!

March 30th, 2011

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!