In today’s challenging economic climate it may be difficult to allocate resources for promotional items, however, it may be one line item to consider keeping in the budget. First of all, the item doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as a pen with your information on it, which you give out (at tradeshows or even with direct mail) to promote your business.
The truth of the matter is that everyone uses a pen. How many times do you clean out your junk drawer to find a pen from your bank or from a retail store that you shop at? When you pull it out you automatically think of that particular place, and you have a pen to jot down that note.
According to a 2010 study by The Advertising Speciality Institute (ASI), a single pen is used on average 18.2 times per month, making it the most frequently used promotional product category.
Even in today’s digital world, many of us use our smart phones to keep track of our schedules, notes, and more, but sometimes a pen and paper (yes, the old-fashioned way!) is the only solution to gather your thoughts or diagram the situation.
Second of all, that pen may travel further then you expect because pens are often like money in that they move from hand-to-hand so that pen, which started with an original customer, may end up with someone else. Anyone that doesn’t believe in the power of suggestion and impressions is living in a marketing-free world.
ASI research listed the pen as the third highest promotional product delivering 437 impressions per month. The first two highest impressions per products are bags (1,078 impressions) and caps & hat (443 impressions). For many organizations, however, a pen is the most cost-efficient method to reach a much larger cross section of customers.
If you’ve ever been to a conference or tradeshow, you know the booths that get the most traffic. In many cases, it’s the booths that have a free fun item that people want…and then the people at the booth are able to engage this person in conversation and potentially make a new contact, secure a new customer, or at the least give a positive impression of the organization’s brand.
According to the book, “Shift, How to Reinvent Your Business, Your Career, and Your Personal Brand,” by Peter Arnell: “Branding is primarily about creating emotion.” Emotions are linked to relationships, and each time you engage with a customer you are developing a relationship.
Maybe a pen isn’t the solution for your specific business, but other promotional items may be right to tell your story. Either way, don’t cut corners on this particular budget line item. Something as simple and useful as a pen may be your key to “writing” your way to positive marketing ROI.
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