At a recent networking event, vendors handed out the usual items: pens, brochures, candy and the like.
Assuming someone in the room must have some marketing savvy, I desperately sought a path out of the tedium.
So it was that I rejoiced encountering a community college distributing a collection of colored pencils to hustle graduate students.
The school’s logo and domain name were imprinted on the canister, and I smiled. Learning should be colorful, creative and fun, so these pencils just felt right.
Alas, all was not right. While the canister had the school’s information, the pencils were blank.
Uh-oh, what if the canister is separated from the pencils?
Who cares, right? Ten colored pencils are WAY more interesting than yet another pen. Anyone getting this item is sure to remember the school when they’re considering a graduate degree.
I’d almost persuaded myself that this made sense until I considered the rapidity with which these pencils would disappear from home base. Lacking pencils, the canister would serve no purpose and could safely be recycled. And lacking any identification, the pencils could provide value to their owner, but none to their sponsor.
Meaning this organization spent $2 apiece on a promotional tool that barely promotes it. Assuming the canister and pencils will remain together is fantasy, and that prospective customers will remember the pencils’ source ridiculous.
Furthermore, beyond imprinting the logo there wasn’t any effort to tie these items to the school. Nothing about having a multi-hued student body. Nothing at all.
Forgive my redundancy, but merely slapping your name onto any old inexpensive item to give away is probably a waste of your money. In order to promote your business, giveaways should have some relevance to your brand, and with luck, your message.
And giving away something with multiple parts and hoping they stay together is an invitation to be forgotten.
Odds are good you’re considering giving away stuff in a future marketing campaign. Before ordering anything, think hard about how each item relates to your product, service, brand and message.
Because while budget’s important, conversion to sale is all that matters.
After all, anyone can give away a pen. But it takes imagination to capture customer attention with items they’ll want, keep, use, and remember you by.
With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.
Want more colorful marketing? www.askmrmarketing.com.