Hi. New here? Click to learn about us

Marketing with Promotional Products

by G. Stephen Slagle, CAE

Marketers are constantly competing for consumers' and businesses' attention. From television ads to direct mail to telemarketing calls, everyone is bombarded with information.

What can marketers do to better the chances that their messages will be heard and remembered? While creative copy, a fantastic offer and tenacious telemarketing tactics can help, a promotional product component integrated into direct mail campaigns has proven to be effective.

Research by Baylor University shows that by including a promotional product with a sales letter or sending it as a "dimensional" in a box or tube can increase response rates by as much as 75 percent.

Why do promotional products work, particularly when packaged as dimensionals? Foremost, they cut through mail clutter, particularly if mailed in a non-standard business envelope or packaged in a box or tube.

Some items, such as jigsaw puzzles or phone cards, involve recipients and let them interact with the direct mail piece, an always sought-after goal.

To spark some ideas for your next campaign, here are a couple of recent direct mail campaigns honored with the 1997 Golden Pyramid Award from Promotional Products Association International.

The Aspen Hill Club
The Aspen Hill Club, a tennis and fitness club, wanted to generate interest and inquiries from potential new members. The club decided to offer complimentary one-week memberships.

After identifying 300 prequalified tennis players within a 15-mile radius of the club; the club mailed an eye-catching dimensional mailer designed to be a call to action. Imprinting "The ball's in your court!" inside each custom die-cut mailer, the box contained information on the program, a custom imprinted tennis ball and a personalized, one-week membership card.

Exceeding its goal of 10 percent, Aspen Hill achieved a 25 percent inquiry response rate.

When planning a dimensional mailing, consider the following.
  • Check and double check the mailing list's accuracy. Obvious but crucial when developing more expensive dimensional mailings, this step helps eliminate the expense of paying freight for misdirected packages.

  • Don't overdo the packaging. Be environmentally friendly and win public approval by minimizing the use of paper products.

  • Call the postal service. Make sure that boxes, tubes or containers meet the postal service's height and weight restrictions before making the initial investment.

  • Tailor the promotional product to the pitch. Ad specialties used in dimensional mailings are most effective if they are items that relate to the promoted product or service or the marketing or communications theme.

  • Challenge promotional products distributors. Utilize a distributor's knowledge to develop an integrated and targeted campaign. In addition to selecting appropriate products within the budget, a distributor can also help to create a theme, an imprint, artwork and distribution method.

Copyright © 1994-2001 PPAI. All Rights Reserved.
G. Stephen Slagle, CAE, is the President of PPAI

Search our promotional products - click here!