Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, my name’s Mike Yinger. I’m the principal at customer solutions incorporated, where we focus on talent acquisition, helping the CEO hire and keep the best people.
What type of promotional products did you order? Do you have a favorite or “go to” promo item for your business and industry?
Over the course of my career, I’ve had experience with a number of different promotional product offerings, some successful, some not so much in my mind, success really means: Did they remember you? Do they use your product? And so the, the one that most recently comes to mind was we ordered pens with a logo on it. And of course a, the tip of the pen or the, at the end of the pen, you could use as a cursor for your tablet, really useful items, easy to hand out, memorable that they’ve got our name on it, and it didn’t really break the bank. Those are all pretty critical criteria for us.
Tell us about your goals and priority of your project/campaign.
The idea here was to have people remember who we were while having a functional item. We chose something that would be day to day use. It’s not something that you have to think about using, but there it is. And it brings to mind who it was, who gave it to you. So the intent here was memory and the ability then to put our name in front of not only the people who had the pen, but also who might see the pen in use. And so, you know, even if you leave it, yeah, you take it out and you put it on the counter at Starbucks and you forget it. Well, then somebody else is gonna pick it up. And so it’s, it’s got one of those opportunities to sort of carry on its message beyond just the original receiver.
What was your method in searching for your promotional product?
We Googled companies that generate promotional items, looked at what they had from a catalog perspective. And then it called them because, uh, we’re a startup and we didn’t wanna spend a whole lot of money on this kind of an item recognizing it does have some value, but just, you know, cash being king for us, we looked at probably half a dozen different companies that did this kind of thing, talked to a couple of them. And that’s how we ended up with the company that actually did the production of the pens for us.
Did you find the promotional products you were looking for? What other challenges did you encounter?
Once we had a vendor identified the process wasn’t particularly difficult, we had to have the logo in the right sort of format, so it could be uploaded, but it was all done electronically. It was pretty simple and not hugely complicated to go through the process. The website just made it really easy to go through the order process and payment and so forth. And then lo and behold, the product arrived in fairly short order so that we could begin to use it as a giveaway to various people that we were meeting with.
How did you make the decision on this promotional products for the project?
The process of making the decision on the promotional item was a collaborative one. We knew we wanted to have something that had our logo on it. We wanted to be able to easily give it away. We didn’t wanna spend a whole lot of money. You know, the original idea, oh, let’s get t-shirts or polo shirts or mugs or something. And, and all those things were just, they were expensive. And then you add to the cost, distributing them. It just wasn’t cost effective for us. We had our chief of staff was working on it as well as one of the folks from the marketing group. And then they came to the decision makers that the operating committee that I was running. And so we made the decision based on their recommendation to move forward with it. So again, a collaborative process, but fairly easy once we decided we wanted to do something.
Tell us about the result of the project. Are you happy with the outcome on your ROI? Do you feel that you have achieved your goals with these products?
In terms of the overall results of the ROI, so to speak for this particular project, it’s somewhat ongoing, right? We’ve got a box of pens and there are times when it’s appropriate to give them away. And so I would say it’s still, there’s a certain amount of wait and see, although, this was done in, in the recognition that just having your name out there in, you know, in people’s hands, literally, so to speak is a good thing. And it’s an ongoing effort for us. We didn’t expect to get sales from this particularly : You saw our pen and that’s why you called us, that wasn’t our objective. Our objective was just to have something that we could give to people so that they would know who we were and might remember us when a decision time came for using a product like we have.
What advice would you like to share with people who are interested to order promotional products?
The decision to actually order promotional items really is understanding what your objectives are. And as I’ve been talking about, ours were pretty clear. It was a little bit of just grassroots advertising, more than anything else. I’ve seen some pretty sophisticated situations where each individual promotional item was $50-$70, and nothing came from it. And so you have to think through what is it that you’re trying to accomplish? Who is it that you’re going to, how are you gonna follow through?
Depending on if you are giving away pens at a trade show, there’s not a whole lot of follow through necessarily, right? But if what you’re doing is you’re sending somebody as, as we did in one event, we sent somebody a mug and tea and some cookies. And the whole idea was that they would remember us. We didn’t sell a single product. And we sent out 50 of those boxes to 50, very carefully curated customers. So a lot of it has to do with how much research are you putting into it was the audience you’re trying to reach. What is it that you’re trying to convey to them about your product and or service? What is it that that’s gonna be memorable? Often, these things are they’re expensive. You buy a box of shirts. You’re paying some money for that. You buy some hats, you know, even some of these crazy things that you see at trade fairs, little squishy balls cost money. And are you doing it because you think you need to do it, or are you doing it because you really think that there’s gonna be something memorable that this is gonna bring these people back to you, or have them view you, favorably when the time comes.
In terms of the ordering experience for us, it was pretty simple. Alot of the product vendors have made that part very easy in terms of it’s all done on the web. You upload and you pick out the stuff that you want. There are times when I think for us, the more logical solution are some of the on demand services, where your logos out there, and you have a great meeting with someone. I’m sending you a mug with our logo on it. So there are some other ways to think about this as a campaign. The issue is in my mind, thinking about what your objectives are early, and then planning that, and also making sure you’ve got enough time. We actually came very close to not hitting some of our deadlines, which is to get these things out before Christmas. We finally did, and some of them were going outside the US. And so we had some extended shipping times as well. So you have to think about all those kinds of things in normal planning, because at the end of the day, it always seems like things take longer than you thought they were going to.