Purchase Cost-Effective Promotional Items

On November 9th of this year, President Obama published an Executive Order titled “Promoting Efficient Spending.” While the order lists many areas where governmental agencies must cut spending, of particular interest is the “Extraneous Promotional Items” section that states, “Agencies should limit the purchase of promotional items (e.g., plaques, clothing, and commemorative items), in particular where they are not cost-effective.” Which begs the question for both government agencies and all of us marketers: What makes a promotional item cost-effective?

Cost-effective vs. good value.

Cost-effective spending is a noble goal for any marketer, but can you really determine if that giveaway t-shirt or flashlight was a cost-effective value for our organization? First off, cost-effective does not necessarily mean inexpensive, and it’s usually gauged by the following:

-Whether or not the item attracts event attendees into the company’s booth.

-If the customers respond positively to the free item or giveaway.

-If the item gets used and draws attention.

Know what your audience prefers – not just what your boss likes.

We’ve covered what makes an effective giveaway in earlier blog posts, but to be cost effective in your promotional spending you’ll need to understand your audience’s preferences. Reviewing research is a good way to ensure effective use of your budget. Not only does meaningful research help eliminate waste; it also does a few other things for you, namely:

-Increases the likelihood that your promotional item is preferred over those offered by your competitors.

-Allows you to confidently justify your choice of giveaway to your internal stakeholders and provides a much better reason than, “Well, my manager likes …”

-Sets the odds in your favor that the giveaway will be well received, maybe even coveted, and thereby certainly cost effective.

How do you get the latest market data?

Fortunately for all of us, the Advertising Specialties Institute conducts promotional items/giveaway market research on a regular basis. Their latest report provides a survey of 544 end-users and 834 end-buyers. The participants provided answers that quantitatively address customer needs and help justify your budget spend.

Below is some sample data provided for t-shirts:

-Black is the most popular color. 64.6% of end-users surveyed preferred black as their top choice shirt color. Second choice? Blue. Third choice? White.

-Embroidered logos are preferred. 33.8% of all end-users prefer embroidery on their shirts. 18.3% prefer screen printing.

-Logo on the left. 59.7% of total end-users prefer logo placement on the left chest. Followed by 26.3% prefer imprinting on the sleeve.

The bottom line: Shop smart by shopping intelligently.

The information above is just a sample of the types of findings you should consider before deciding on a giveaway. If both government agencies and marketers reviewed data like this before making decisions, everyone would certainly make better use of their marketing dollars, avoid costly missteps, and drive a successful and well received campaign. So always remember, let the data drive your decisions.

Next up on the topic of giveaways, we’ll look more closely at popular items and end-user preferences.

By: ETMG Social Media Team

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