Picking the Right PROMO

  • Jul 2, 2021

You probably don’t know who John Lydgate is.  I didn’t.  But I’m not up on my fourteenth century monks and poets.  I do, however, think you’ve heard this popular quote of his:

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

For those of you responsible for purchasing promotional items for your organization, you live this every day.  And you know, no matter what you get, you will have some people who appreciate everything, some that get excited over some of the things you provide them, but never everyone excited over the same thing.

In a previous position with another company, we travelled to yearly manager meetings and always received a duffel bag at the meetings.  In the beginning, it was great, the meeting included a trade show and we always had more to take home than we had come with.  Over the years, as we collected bags upon bags, it was less exciting to add another bag to the closet.  You could always tell who was attending their first meeting as they excitedly collected their bag.

We recently gave out some PROMO Packs that had a selection of some of our favourite new PROMO items and then asked our customers to provide feedback on the items.  We asked them what their favourite item was and although there was a clear winner, it was only the favourite item for about 1/3 of the people. With the wide range of items we included, each was a favourite for someone.

We then asked everyone to rate each of the items on a scale of 1 to 10 and even the most popular item had scores that ranged from 5 to 10 out of 10.  So, what was a 10, a fantastic item in one person's opinion, was only a 5 to another.  Most of the other items had even more dramatic ranges in the scores.  Some were predictable, given the varied nature of the industry and demographics of the companies that responded and some took us by surprise.  At the end of the day, it just reaffirmed that fact that there is no one "best" promo item.

So, knowing this, how does a person pick the best promotional items?  Here are 3 pro tips:

  •          Know your audience.  If you have field workers, don’t provide them with desk trinkets or fancy ceramic mugs, they’ll definitely be happier with a good quality lunch cooler or heavy duty travel mug.  Handing out calendars or calculators to millennials will not likely win you new clients.
  •          Pick items that are useful.  Gone are the days of just handing out something that has your logo.  If you want your item to make an impact, and continue making an impact over time, make sure it's something they can use.
  •          Quality is key.  This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive, just find the best quality item in your price range.  Can’t afford a good quality hoodie? Hand out a good quality t-shirt with a great design instead. You're better to give a duffel bag that will stand the test of time than a suitcase that only makes a couple of trips before falling apart.

And the best tip of all that we can offer is this:  don’t expect to find the one item that will please everyone.  That will certainly make things more stressful and overwhelming than they need to be.  Over time, keep buying the things that get the best reviews but don't be afraid to mix it up a little and try out things once in a while!