Advertising. For many business owners, it can be a scary proposition. If you’ve ever looked into buying media, you probably experienced sticker shock.
The cost for a 30-second commercial in a prime time television broadcast averages around $112,000, according to the AdAge “What It Costs” package. Furthermore, if you want to advertise during The Big Bang Theory (the most expensive comedy on TV), for example, then you’ll have to fork over $344,827. And for a big sporting event, such as the 2015 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, then the cash outlay tops $1.55 million.
Print advertising may have a lower one-time fee, such as the $50,000 it takes to get one full-color ad on the front page of The New York Times. However, to land that coveted Times’ front page space, AdAge found that marketers must commit to a certain frequency, such as front-page ads every Tuesday for six months. Thus, the total investment required tops $1 million.
Let’s not forget billboards. If you have $2.5 million in the bank, you can get four weeks on Times Square’s biggest billboard, the eight-story Clear Channel sign on Broadway from West 45th Street to West 46th Street.
Whoa. Now that’s some serious coin.
Advertising spots like these are obviously for top-tier firms with beyond-huge marketing budgets. But even if you’re a small business looking at advertising in a trade magazine, for example, the cost is still in the thousands for a single page ad.
With all that in mind, however, advertising doesn’t have to break the bank. Actually, it can be quite affordable…if you use promotional products.
Whether you call it branded merchandise, advertising specialties, promotional products or swag, logoed items are one of the most influential, enduring and cost-effective advertising mediums available today. In fact, promotional products have a lower cost-per-impression than prime-time television ads, national magazine ads and newspaper ads, and a similar CPI to radio and internet advertising, according to the Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study 2014 Edition conducted by the Advertising Specialty Institute.
But here’s where promotional products have the edge over the rest. While all of the other forms of advertising are passive, promotional products allow for much more active interaction—such as wearing a promotional t-shirt, drinking out of a branded coffee mug or listening to music on a logoed Bluetooth speaker.
Additionally, promotional products are targeted to the exact market segment the advertiser is trying to reach. Think about this: A local pizza restaurant in a college town wants to make delivery reorders easy. So it includes business-card sized magnets that can put on the fridge in homes and dorm rooms. Highly visible. Useful. Inexpensive. Very targeted. This kind of audience segmentation is simply not possible with mass-market advertising because, as the name suggests, it is to the masses.
More good news: Promotional products costs are not expected to markedly increase in the next few years, making them a more stable, reliable and innovative way for advertisers to reach customers.
Even more good news: When you look at the production costs for a 30-second radio or television commercial, it is often out of reach for all but the biggest advertisers. Many would have their entire advertising budget eaten up before they even aired the commercial more than a few times. But this isn’t true with promotional products. Companies from the smallest local businesses to the largest Fortune 100 companies have access to the best branded merchandise the industry has to offer.
The Bottom Line: Promotional products remain less expensive per impression than most other forms of advertising. With a modest investment, marketers can have a more focused campaign that allows for much greater levels of interaction with customers than other forms of advertising.