Essential Tips on How NOT to Use Promotional Products

Promotional products are effective tools that can yield fantastic results for your company- when used correctly. On our blog, we have previously explored topics such as how to use promotional merchandise on a budget and how these products can help you increase business referrals. There are so many creative, clever ways that they can improve your marketing game. However, we have also seen promotional product campaigns go very wrong over the years. At Red Tomato, we care about your success and don’t want you to make these same mistakes. Here are some essential tips on how not to use promotional products:

1. Don’t Plan Out Your Strategy

The easiest way to set your campaign up for failure is to not plan it out. Don’t set aside the proper amount of time to plan your strategy, consider your targeted audience, and order prototypes of the product, and you will certainly have the worst results in the history of marketing. The less you plan, the more stressful and costly the entire campaign will be. Basically, not planning is a great way to waste time and money, plus say adieu to any notions of ROI.

In detail, write down your campaign’s purpose, what product you’ll use, and how you will do customer outreach. Get a firm grasp of what your budget is and what you set out to accomplish. Make sure that your marketing team is on the same page and that your vision of the campaign is clear before you even think about ordering product. When you do order, keep in mind that it may take a profew tries before you get the merchandise you envisioned.


2. Forget About Calls to Action

One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is not having a call to action. You could have the best promotional products for the perfect demographic, but with no call to action, your campaign is useless. Get clear about what your objective is. Whether it’s encouraging recipients to share your hashtag on social media or to make a purchase, you always want to get something back in return.

Be sure that your website, logo, and/or hashtag are clearly displayed on the promotional products. Make it as simple and direct as possible for the consumer to give you the outcome you expect. Remember that your audience can’t read your mind. No call to action will result in no action and no ROI.


3. Bulk Order Items without Set Intentions

If you’re feeling particularly reckless and want to massively waste your company’s money, bulk order promotional products on a whim. Don’t think about how you will use them or what your consumers will do with them. Just buy out the warehouse because these are the coolest new gadgets. Forget about research and strategy. This is how not to use promotional products.

For any campaign using promotional merchandise, your goal is to stick to your budget. Make sure that you are raising brand awareness by maximising every penny invested. This means sticking to your planned strategy and making calculated decisions. Know the purpose of each promotional product ordered, and be sure not to order too much. It’s better to have to reorder because of demand, rather than have useless, costly items gathering dust in storage.


4. Be Afraid of Change

You’ve been in business for thirty years now, and every year, you’ve sent out keychains to your customers as a thank you gift. During this time period, you don’t see an increase in sales or more engagement- whether online, in person, or via fax machine. Nothing has ever changed with this promotional merchandise, not even your original logo. It’s just a tradition- a useless, money-wasting tradition.

As Albert Einstein blatantly stated, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Just because you’ve always done something doesn’t mean you should continue. Let go of your fax machine and look at what your competitors are giving away. Figure out what’s working for them, roll up your sleeves, and let the creativity commence. Sending out something new and useful is a sign that you’re keeping up with the times, and also paying attention to your consumers’ needs.


What mistakes with promotional merchandise have you made in the past? Is there a crucial part of your strategy that has made your campaigns successful? Please share in the comments below!

If you are launching a new promotional product campaign and have questions, contact us now! At Red Tomato, we are always here to help you be as successful as possible.


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