I went to a networking event last night and thank god they had pre-planned their strategic Tchotchke giveaway system. Luckily one of the members had a bag made for their company so they got the most recognition at the event since people carried the bag around until they left the event.
Today I opened the bag for the first time to look inside and to my surprise was a lot of competing tchotchkes from every company that could afford tchotchkes.
The package included:
- 4 different "coozies", cool now I can have the whole gang over for cool refreshments and tastey beverages
- 5 pens, and 1 pencil I guess we're not going to the office store anytime soon
- 3 brochures/rack cards with a ton of content, anything you ever wanted to know about these companies and more, much more
- 1 bookmark for your reading pleasure
- 1 handful of random mint packs to keep my breath fresh
- 1 business card
- 1 bottle opener to crack open my brew
- 1 random sticky character thingy, not sure what this is for
- 1 note pad to sketch all my business ideas on, thanks I was getting tired of using those silly napkins
- 1 photo/postcard/note holder clip with a nice base
- and lastly 1 wooden nickel - my old Uncle Les always told me, don't ever take any wooden nickels. I never thought I would need this tip.
As you can see this is some serious attempts at promoting. These guys didn't fool around. The person that made out the best was the promotional product person that sold them all this stuff. They made a killing.
Ok, so lets start talking about the effectiveness of this package. The companies in the package were from small mom and pops all the way up to large nationally represented companies. It was quite the range.
Sadly, what this package screams is either "I am too lazy to market myself, but there are power in numbers!" or "I have no idea what marketing is, but I got a good deal on 3 different types of pens".
I know all the specialty promo companies are probably up in arms right now, but I really am not saying promotional items are bad marketing tools. I am however saying that any tool that a company uses should be tied with a well thought out business/marketing strategy.
In the grand scheme of things everyone in this bag thought this was a good idea, but what they don't understand is that they are competing with each other.
Another issue with this bag is although there was a lot of networking at this event, I have no idea who provided my new office supplies.
No one in this bag came up to me and talked to me at this event so I have no idea who the people are from these companies (except 1 who I knew before this event). So since there is no personal connection with this stuff, it really is just junk and a lot of it will get thrown away. Do you think these people are happy to hear most of their marketing will be trashed or worse they will not get a call from these items? I doubt it. In a recession and when money is tight this is maybe not the wisest financial decision.Ok, this article has gotten quite long. In order to get the final answer to "Do specialty promo items really work?" see the article posted on Monday.
Thanks and good luck with all you promotions!