Marketing & Branding

Promos and No-Nos: The Do’s and Don’ts of Promo Marketing

do and dont photo with cs logo

It’s no secret that adding promotional products to your marketing mix can help increase its overall ROI. In fact, almost 50% of consumers actively desire getting promotional products from companies, and, as the old business adage goes, the customer is always right. But before you invest part of your budget into delivering branded items to prospects, make sure you are setting yourself up for success by following these simple Dos and Don’ts.  


1. Aim for the Target (Market): Knowing your target audience will help you choose promotional items that they’ll be excited to use, keep, and even share, putting your investment to good use. The more you know about your consumer, the more personal you can make your offerings. For example, we at Corporate Specialties have a client who networks a lot, which entails a lot of handing out business cards. We recommended they use sleek, fashionable, and compact silicone pockets to hold their business cards when they attend events and meetings. Not only does it keep

22853118all their cards in one convenient place, but it also functions as a great conversation starter.

2. Let the Distribution Dictate: What’s the optimal way to get reach your target audience? The answer will inform what kinds of promotional products you should choose. Big and bulky isn’t great for postal, whereas more elaborate gifts are perfect for in person hand-offs. For clients looking for an affordable, mailable giveaway that  packs a powerful promotional punch, we would recommend a postcard with a tech screen cleaning cloth attached to it. The postcard can fit a wealth of information, and the cleaning cloth is long-lasting and worth holding onto.

3. Add a Call to Action: If recipients like your promotional item, they will likely want to get in touch with you. Help them do that by putting clear and direct calls to action on your promo items and/or packaging. Imprint your website or preferred contact number on t-shirts and mailers. Have a special event coming up? Create a unique URL for it and post it on all invites and party gifts. Setting up a photo booth at a corporate gathering? Make sure your printouts feature all your social media handles, so attendees can tag you.   



1. Delay: Depending on the size and type of a promotional product order, preparation can take from a few days to a few weeks. To ensure you (and your target audience) aren’t left empty-handed, work with a promotional products consultant early and often. There’s likely to be a lot of back-and-forth working with your promo consultant — and that’s a good thing! Together you’ll be able to first choose the kind of product or products to work with, then decide on how to customize the products so that they really stand out. This may take some time, but the results are worth it.  

2. Settle for Forgettable: Steer clear of generic items like stress balls or cheap keychains without first jazzing them up. These items run the risk of being forgettable… and therefore dispensable. More common promo products like pens and notepads can be useful, high-quality and innovative, but only if they’re used and infused with some thought and inspiration — a little creativity goes a long way, and a lot goes even farther. If you’re concerned a promotional products project might get too complex or involved, many consultants can suggest items that can be imprinted quickly with a logo to build your company’s image and encourage brand loyalty.

3. Make It Hard for Yourself: Make sure the rollout plan is feasible. You might have the best promo products ever, but if the implementation is too difficult, the outcome might suffer. If your rollout plan involves a lot of set-up at events or gatherings, make sure you know in advance what that entails, and if there will be technicians on-site to assist you. If you’re sending items through the mail, make sure you’ve confirmed the specifications with your distributor. And, after all is said and done, make sure to follow up on your promotional products — both with your customers, through an email survey, and with your consultant, with a phone call. Keeping a record of how your gifts were received and if they were effective or not will help you make informed and educated decisions in the future.

Start enhancing your brand today in as little as 10 minutes, and connect with one of our marketing consultants by calling (313) 432-0300 or clicking here to set up an appointment.