Crowd Swing’s Arielle Kimbarovsky looks at how to make promotional product work in today’s digital age.
In today’s world of technology, it’s easy for companies to dismiss the value of promotional products. However, as companies turn to internet-only advertising and focus more on things like social media, they risk losing physical touch with their customers. To a certain degree, promotional products allow companies to connect with their customers more closely, develop brand recognition, and serve as a constant reminder.
A study conducted by BPMA found that over half of the study participants’ impressions of the company improved after being sent a promotional product. More importantly, 79% of participants who received a promotional product said that they would likely become repeat customers. Many of the participants were even able to recall exactly when or where they received the product – and 94% of them never forgot the company that gave them the product.
Clearly, promotional products can still impact how – and with whom – customers choose to do business.
But how do you know what products can best promote your business? And when should you give them out? The issue becomes blatantly clear at networking events or conferences, where seemingly every company is handing out a USB drive, a pen, a mug, or some sort of pamphlet explaining their business.
Sometimes, these products are impactful, but other times they just don’t make sense. And for technology-based companies, physical products can seem confusing and meaningless. But with the right intentions and a clear understanding of your goals, physical swag can be a big enhancement to your marketing efforts.
Try to accomplish these three goals when developing physical promotional materials for your customers:
1. Delight Your Customers
Having great customer service and a fantastic product isn’t enough anymore. With increasing competition across industries, companies are now competing for brand loyalty and positive reviews. The best companies accomplish this by surprising their customers by going the extra mile.
One company, HEX, built their success by handwriting over 13,000 physical thank you notes. The wearable fashion tech brand focused on making their customers feel valued and special by sending each order with a physical thank you note as well as a confirmation email.
While HEX’s competitors may have just sent emails, the personal touch of the thank you note made HEX’s customers feel special and appreciated.
Thank you notes aren’t the only way that companies use physical swag to delight their customers. Many companies choose to send welcome gifts, like gift baskets or branded swag bags. This way, customers feel appreciated from day one.
Other companies like Buffer choose to keep a pulse on their customers and potential industry partners via social media, reaching out whenever they feel someone could benefit from a little extra surprise:
Buffer reports ‘We try to ask for an address anytime we get a hint that someone might need swag, for any reason. We also reach out to new faces at our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, and thank them with a personalized note and stickers.’
With this philosophy, Buffer customizes their swag according to the customer’s needs and interests and become the highlight of that person’s day. These random gifts are branded like thank you gifts, but it’s their spontaneity and specialization that truly delights the customer.
As with any company, looking to delight the customer boosts brand impression and typically generates a positive word of mouth.
2. Build A Deeper Brand Connection
According to research on high-impact motivators (read: what drives consumer behaviour), brands that enhance and assist these motivators are able to better connect with their customers on an emotional level, which pushes customers to consume even more. And more importantly, the emotionally connected customers had double the lifetime value compared to highly satisfied customers.
One example of emotionally connected customers were people that sought a sense of belonging. To enhance that desire, companies tapped into a group mentality and made customers a part of a family, a team, or tribe. No matter what a brand calls it, that sense of community creates a deeper tie to the customer and can be done in a number of ways, including with physical swag. The initial outreach and special feeling generated from receiving a gift helps customers feel like the brand values them as individuals, and values them more than other brands do.
To learn more about how promotional products can create a sense of belonging, read “Can A Hoodie Increase Brand Equity?”
Companies build deeper brand connections in the same way that they delight their customers, with thank you notes or other gifts like notebooks and mugs (depending on the customer). The difference is that physical swag aimed at deepening brand connection is usually more consistent and predictable.
When a company consistently follows through with a signature thank you gift, giveaway at a conference, or other swag, they show a commitment to their customers that goes deeper than just their main product or service.
3. Provide A Useful Solution
Physical products allow companies to integrate themselves even more into their customer’s lives. Useful products like mugs or pens are likely to be incorporated into the recipient’s daily life and can serve as a constant reminder about your company. Now, your company isn’t only providing the main product or service, but it’s thinking a little bit deeper about what the customer needs. This connection is even more apparent when your swag is compared to other swag. The more useful your items are to your customers, the deeper your care about them shows.
For example, in today’s digital age, giving out USB drives as swag at a conference may not make a ton of sense. With technologies like the cloud or other forms of sharing files, USB drives have become obsolete. And in some instances, traditional USB drives may no longer plug into newer computers, like the new Macbook Pros. If customers receiving the USB drive won’t find use out of it, the product will be a waste.
Instead, companies can find success in useful products by following product trends. Our increasing attachment to our smartphones has caused a market for sticky wallets that stick onto the back of phones or phone cases to hold credit cards and cash. Since these wallets are inexpensive, it makes it easy for companies to offer these card sleeves as promotional products. Now every time someone pulls out their phone or goes to pay for something, they and the people around them are seeing your logo and design, as well as making the connection between utility and your brand.
In the end, promotional products are just one of the ways in which you can promote your business. Whether they are for a conference or a fun surprise for your customers, physical products can help you better connect with your audience. Because even in today’s digital age, who doesn’t love free swag?
Ed; We’d like to add ‘Make It Creative’ to that list. Going the extra mile to create a branded product that is unique shows your customers that you’ve thought about it and gone the extra mile to make it special for them. Why not take it into the #brandinterrupt and #worthstealing class!