Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.


Power Direct Marketing: The Book

Specialties, Premiums, and Your Offer

Direct response is a large user of advertising specialties and premiums. Here are just some of the ways they are put to use:

  • to gain attention
  • to build store or trade show traffic
  • to be remembered
  • to promote an opening, anniversary, or other special event
  • to activate inactive accounts
  • to introduce a new product, name change, new reps, or a product enhancement
  • to move products off the shelf
  • to improve customer relations
  • to simply say "thank you"

For the very reasons they are used for these and at least a score of other activities, they are important to consider when you plan your offer. Specialties and premiums get you attention. They get you some consideration when it’s time to buy.

Let’s define advertising specialties:

  1. They are a useful item for almost any purpose.
  2. They bring with them some message, usually as part of a total integrated program, maybe carrying out the theme of the promotion.
  3. They come with absolutely no strings attached; they are offered with no obligation.

Premiums are a little different:

  1. They too are useful and usually of a higher value and quality.
  2. They carry a message, usually about a specific product or service promotion.
  3. They come with a string attached. You must do something to earn the premium—take a demonstration, make a buying decision, take some positive action.

Direct response lead generation programs use both specialties and premiums. A specialty up front to get your attention—a premium on the back end when you make a buying decision.

Many traffic-building programs offer a specialty for visiting their store or show booth. Mail-order marketers offer premiums for buying within a set time. Or for purchasing a minimum amount. Even fund-raisers have found premiums effective to increase donations.

Advertising Specialty Premium Categories

There are five advertising specialty/premium categories. Every one of the over 25,000 items that are used as specialties or premiums falls into one of these categories:


These include wall or desk, watch, wallet or purse, large, small, pop-up, by the month, quarter, year or multi-year, multi-page with beautiful pictures or artwork, or on a single page with a simple message. They are printed on paper, plastic, cloth, wood, film, and just about everything in between. Businesses use calendars in countless ways; the average home has four.

Writing Tools

These include pencils and pens of all types, shapes, sizes, styles, colors, and descriptions. They may come in singles or in sets, by the dozen or gross, and are of a wide variety of quality and value, from a few pennies to hundreds of dollars. Some are premiums; some are specialties.

Business Gifts and Awards

These are usually upscale items worth a little more, things of "keep" value. They include functional desk sets and award/wall plaques. They may or may not carry the advertiser’s name, logo, design, or other sales message. Used as a reward, for goodwill, as a "thank you," or as a gift for patronage.


Clothing covers everything from head to toe. From hats and caps to dress shoes and sports socks, and almost everything in between. T-shirts and dress shirts, neckties and scarfs, sports coats and team jackets, belts and belt buckles, sweaters, sweat suits and sweat bands—plus dozens of other ideas.

All Other Ideas

A wide variety of products fall in this catch-all category, such as beer and coffee mugs, rulers, baggage tags, key chains, notebooks, luggage, briefcases, personal appearance items, and literally thousands of other ideas. All used to meet an objective—to be remembered.

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