The 13 Best Times to use Advertising Specialties & Premiums
... and some other ideas
Every day we are bombarded with dozens, scores, hundreds of messages.
This was not the case in the year 1845. The year of the earliest recorded
use of an advertising specialty. The reason then is the same now; Recognition.
An insurance agent asked a number of business friends to display his
announcement in their office. They all refused. This ingenious gentlemen
then purchased blank calendar pads, attached his business message and
presented each as a gift. They promptly placed them on their walls - thus
Today there are 7 specific target market sales tools;
#1. vertical business trade, & consumer special interest publications
#2. the telephone, as a marketing tool, & for fax marketing
#3. direct mail aimed at specific audiences
#4. vertical industry trade shows / exhibitions
#5. 1:1 sales calls - still "alive" since Adam & Eve
#6. the World Wide Web and E-mail marketing
#7. advertising specialties & premiums
Every other communication method is designed for a broad based reach.
Let's clarify the difference between Advertising Specialties and Premiums.
First, Ad Specialties . . .
a). a useful idea for office, home, car, boat, for travel, for games,
a party, for fun, usually of nominal value
b). they bring a very specific target message, includes the name &
logo of the giving organization
c). sometimes they are personalized - usually not, and
d). very importantly - they are offered with no strings attached ... you
receive it only because of who you are & where you are.
Premiums are a little different . . .
a). they are useful, of a higher quality and value
b). they include a "marketing & sales" message, related
to the product or service being sold
c). the item is personalized to the receiver, and
d). a premium comes with strings ... you must do something to earn this
There are 5 categories of specialties and premiums;
I Calendars - wall or desk, watch, wallet or purse, large, small,
pop-up, by the month, quarter or multi-year, with beautiful pictures,
on paper, wood, plastic, cloth, film & just about everything in between.
Businesses use calendars countless ways - the average home has 4.
II Writing Tools - pencils & pens of all types, shapes, sizes,
styles, color, description, singles or in sets, by the dozen or gross,
of a wide variety of quality & value, from a few pennies to hundreds
III Business Gifts & Awards - upscale ideas worth a little
more, things of "keep value". Includes desk sets & award/wall
plaques. Usually has the givers logo, used as reward, for goodwill, as
a "thank-you", or gift.
IV Wearables - clothing covers everything from head to toe, from
hats & caps to dress shoes & sport socks ... and almost everything
in between. "T" shirts, dress shirts, neckties & scarfs,
sports coats & team jackets, belts & belt buckles, sweaters, sweat
suits, & seat bands - plus dozens of other ideas.
V All Other Ideas - a wide variety of products in this catch-all
category ... such as beer & coffee mugs, rulers & luggage tags,
key chains, notebooks & briefcases, clocks & watches, personal
appearance items, and hundreds of other items - each used to meet an objective
- and to be remembered.
There are countless ways to use this marketing/direct marketing medium.
Here is my suggested list of The 13 Best Times to use Advertising
Specialties & Premiums.
1. To promote the opening of just about anything ... especially things
A new plant. A new office. A new store. A move to a new location. Plus,
a new phone number, postal code, the addition of your web site, corporate
E-mail address. If your marketplace will find anything about you "new",
a specialty will help you get your message across.
2. To introduce a new product or a new service. Usually such intros are
so important to a corporation upper level management is deeply involved.
Maybe it involves a name change, a division change or addition, new people
promoted to handle this new offering. Whatever it is, those who can buy
what you sell need to know about it, and remember it.
3. To motivate and inspire your team. It could be motivation of your
sales team or office staff, your independent reps, your plant workers,
your store folks. Within a single department or company wide. It could
be at a sales meeting, an annual meeting, a company picnic. And the reason
doesn't matter either. People respond to an outreach. It is not about
cost - it is about value.
4. To motivate your clients and prospects. To do what it is you want
them to do. To "stroke" them into action. Specialties can improve
your relations, and act as a goodwill tool, too. Everyone likes to receive
a gift - you'll benefit when you give one to your customers.
5. To gain new business - to open new accounts. A specialty or premium
can become your offer - the incentive to at least talk with you. Everything
that comes in a tube, a box, a puffy bag gets opened - guaranteed 100%
of the time. You will get an audience - at least long enough to tell or
share your story. And frequently the "extra"encourages a sale.
At least a trial. People respond to greed - which is not a bad thing -
it is a fact. Offer a "thing" or "idea", and a certain
group of your prospects will become customers.
6. To create an image, to demonstrate a capability, to build awareness,
to position your organization in the minds of your audience. Each an "advertising"
and "public relations" goal. Which, when repeated often, can
become marketing and sales agents. Specialties and premiums by definition
are kept, saved, used, seen, passed along ... rarely tossed. So, you are
remembered when it is time to buy.
7. To develop traffic - usually trade show or retail store traffic. People
traffic - from those who are most likely to be impressed and make a buying
decision in your direction. The specialty can be mailed, hand-delivered,
or offered on site when your prospect or customer visits. There are many
options on what to offer, and how to make your presentation. The idea
is to get more people to visit. A specialty or premium will help.
8. To activate inactive accounts. Most customers become non-customers
from a lack of attention. A specialty sent through the mail, with a premium
on the back-end when a new order is received, gives you an opportunity
to gain back what you lost. Offer a benefit "extra", and many
9. To open new doors - to get into truly new accounts, places you have
not been able to crack using conventional marketing and sales methods.
You undoubtedly know of business you don't have, you should have. So,
reach out with a unique, different, unusual approach - something others
are not doing - offer an incentive. Initially for an appointment - later
for a purchase.
10. To move - SELL! - product. At any level. Retail. Wholesale. Through
dealers or distributors. Direct to end-users. Or up-front with manufacturers.
Your product need not be a close-out item - or it might be. It could be
end of season. It could be you have something new. Or, your promotion
could be in response to something your competition is doing. Doesn't matter
... if you want to move products quickly, offer a specialty or premium
... and watch the results.
11. To balance in improper product mix. Inventory control is key to profits
for many companies. And the best up front controls don't always work ...
as the marketplace doesn't always respond the way they did last time.
Use a specialty to gain attention - use a premium to pay off the sale.
12. To introduce new people. And to reward others. Up to this point I've
talked mostly about places and things. Yet, it is people who are most
important. It is people who make things happen. These people who interface
with your customers are most important. Make sure they each know you care
- make an offer, give a reward.
13. To say "thank-you" to anyone - everyone - for any reason.
At any time In any place. What you offer is a demonstration of your caring.
An appreciation for a job well done. A goal met. For being a leader -
or a follower. For being loyal. For walking the extra mile. Or ... for
At the top of this Baker's Dozen collection I talked about 7 specific
target market tools. It is this very description of "target"
that gives ad specialties and premiums their place in the mix. You can
"talk" with your staff, your prospects, your customers with
Specialties and premiums can be passive, or active. Or both. They will
make an impression - it is up to you to decide what that is. They will
support what you do - or not... that too is up to your selection.
They have high retention value, and thus high recall value. They will
help you be remembered when you're not around. And when it is time to
Advertising Specialties and Premiums - the medium that remains to