Promote to Communicate

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Breaking through the communications clutter that we all receive daily is a huge challenge.  Whether it be trying to reach out to prospects, sharing information with existing customers (and think if the number of customers you have on your books that are not actively called upon by your sales organization that represent incremental revenue) or wanting to do something creative to reinforce your value proposition or “because its fun”, distributors and manufacturers need to be creative to be memorable. This is where promotional marketing can be effective.

While promotional items can be viewed as “expensive”, they can also be very cost-effective when successful as they can break-through the clutter, reach your audience and enable communications.  There are statistics in this industry that relate to memorability factors.  And having your logo regularly in front of your customer / prospect can only be good as some customers retain information visually.

Dave Wolfe, from Wolfe Promotional Services, has been involved in the electrical industry since 1996 and helps many distributors “break through.”  We asked for some ideas:

Over the past twenty years I’ve noticed significant similarities between the promotional products and electrical products industries.  For example, both rely on a large network of distributors both large and small.  Both have had a lot of consolidation on both the supplier and distributor sides.  Both have a very wide range of product offerings.

That’s really just the very tip of the iceberg.  But there’s another major similarity.

Each year, there are many new products being introduced by suppliers.  Each year In January, the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) sponsors a major show where suppliers introduce the new “catalog” of products and distributors walk the aisles of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to see and discuss them.

Distributors then have to wade through the quagmire of information to select which ones are best for their customers.   You might now believe how many “new” drinkware options there are each year.

Like the electrical industry, promotional companies typically work with a variety of different industries and companies with varying needs.  Many of the basic items (pens, t-shirts, calendars, etc.) have appeal to increase customer’s mindshare.  Consider that a mug, if used daily, will be seen by the recipient alone a few hundred times in one year. On top of that, your company/brand name is visible to several others each day as well.  Items can also be used to achieve more specialized objectives, such as for customer sales incentive or employee reward programs.

Whether it’s a hat or a golf bag, people love to receive “gifts”.  The recipient will have a more positive feeling about your company/product.  In research done by the Promotional Products Association International last year, about 80% of consumers said their impression of a brand changed positively after receiving a promotional item.

With that in mind, what are some of the new trends?

This year, a major thrust continues to be technology.   Many of these items complement the electrical products industry.  For example, wireless chargers using Qi technology.

While some electrical suppliers may be able to offer wireless charger options for installations in homes and business sites, the promotional industry offers them as a cost-effective form of advertising.

“Customer engagement” are just not buzz words.   The most successful promotions happen when

customer can truly get involved with it.  High tech items can do that quite effectively.  What about adding video to a “brochure”?

A LCD screen embedded into a card makes a brochure dynamic.  The video will capture the recipient’s attention.  The customer will likely watch a few times and show it to others on his or her team. This is for special promotions when you want to tell a story, such as to introduce a new product or service.  It’s not cheap.  But with a well thought out strategy , it can be a very cost effective promotional investment  for the in the long run.

Of course, unique products can make a difference in any promotion.  That doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. I mentioned that there is a plethora of new drinkware out there.  This one stopped me in my tracks.

This is new 20 oz. tumbler.  It’s truly an unusual  item that will make customers take note.  And it can be more than just a unique drinking vessel when it’s part of a promotional plan.  Insert a promotional card inside it to introduce a new idea.  Fill it samples of small parts.  Invite customers to come to your locations for a “light drink”.

Another different and hot promotional item for 2018 is socks.

Yes, pairs of customized socks.  We all wear them. If Ralph Lauren can put a polo player on them, why not your logo and have a little fun with a “sock-et” promotion?  Once again, with a little bit of creativity, this it the type of promotion that will stand out among your competitors.

Finally, aside from all of the industry similarities in distribution and product offerings, the key is the service and creative thinking that goes with the products to solve problems.   That’s what our customers really want.

Dave Wolfe is Chief Creative Officer of Wolfe Promotional Services.  He has extensive experience in the electrical industry .  Dave provides many electrical distributors and manufacturers with creative, cost-effective  promotional solutions. He explores ways to “Get What Works!TM

Over the years I’ve worked with him on a number of distributor initiatives.  Ask him about:

  • Unique way to promote wire / wire management services using licorice.
  • Small quantity scratch card promotions
  • Custom-designed guitars
  • Creative campaigns to support incentive travel programs
  • Using helium balloons to reach key decision makers for project quotations
  • Peel off stickers to deliver promotion awards and discounts.

And yes, he has lots of experience with wearables / hats.

While premiums are often considered as “giveaways”, the key giveaway is when you break through the clutter to communicate your message.  Then your target is giving you more of their mind-share. Promotional marketing should be a part of your strategy and you should expect your promotional / premium resource to be an idea generator, not a quotation source.

 

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Supporting manufacturers, distributors and others in the electrical channel with accelerating growth through business / channel strategy, marketing development and customer-focused market research. We generate "ideas that deliver results."

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