Promotional products business websites give you all sorts of guidance on choosing the “right” logo items. Our consultants are well-versed in what’s hot in the industry. But sometimes, you’d love to get some advice from someone who makes no money based on your promotional pick.
Here’s some promotional product selection advice from Debbie Mahler, marketing specialist at BigMachines and long-time satisfied Quality Logo Products customer.
Tell me about your company and what you do.
BigMachines develops software to help companies to sell their products and services faster, easier, and more accurately.
As a marketing specialist at BigMachines, I am responsible for creating and updating our marketing collateral, managing our PR efforts as well as our incoming leads, and ordering branded promo products for our marketing events.
Who is your target audience?
BigMachines software is valuable to any company that wants to sell more and sell faster. Our customers come from many different industries including high-tech, software, industrial, media, healthcare, and telco.
How have you used promotional products to help you reach your audience?
Even in this age of technology and social media, face to face interaction is still one of the best ways to connect with potential customers. Our team attends many different conferences and trade shows throughout the year – large events where we usually have a limited time to drive BigMachines awareness and leave a lasting impression with attendees. It’s great to have a giveaway with our company name and logo that an attendee can take with them. We try to choose items that will be reused after an event such as pens, stress balls, or travel mugs. Having our logo on these items leaves a lasting reminder of BigMachines long after an event has passed.
We also use promo products to enhance fun events for our customers and partners and promote a sense of community. We host our own annual customer conference called BigIdeas. Last year, we reserved the House of Blues in Chicago and hired a Blues Brothers tribute band. In order to complete the experience, we purchased Blues Brothers-esque sunglasses with our logo imprinted on them to help attendees get into character for the show. The event turned out amazing, and having these accessories helped people get into the spirit of the evening.
What are the most important factors you take into consideration when choosing promotional products?
Our marketing team usually brainstorms ideas before upcoming events. When we choose a giveaway, we first decide on what would be appropriate for a particular event. If our target audience is traveling to a conference, we would want to choose something that is smaller and easy for them to bring back in their suitcase without breaking – something like a pen or stress ball. If our sales team is traveling to a customer’s office, we don’t necessarily have the same limitations and can bring larger items like branded travel mugs or portfolios.
We also look for something that is classy but practical. It goes back to trying to leave a lasting impression of BigMachines long after an event is over. I’ve been to events where people hand out very cool, but single use items like branded plastic water bottles (the non-reusable kind). I love them at the time, but forget about them once I’ve finished the bottle and disposed of it. We choose items that have staying power, something that you would want to bring back. One of my favorite items to give away at events are Sobe pens. They are elegant, definitely something that you’ll want to keep and use!
How does having a promotional product consultant like Leo make your job easier than just ordering through an online form?
Leo is just amazing and also fun to work with. I appreciate having one person to go to who’s familiar with my ordering history, who’s extremely helpful, and who can help me find anything.
I know that I can go to Leo with either a specific item I’m interested in or a vague idea and that no matter what, the end result is always great.
I also appreciate not only having someone to answer all of my questions (and sometimes there are a lot), but also someone to recommend items that I might not have thought of or to offer alternatives if my first choice is not available for any reason.
What other marketing strategies have you used to draw attention to your brand?
At BigMachines, we work to drive awareness and foster our community through our annual BigIdeas Chicago customer conferences and through our regional customer success forums. We also promote our company and speak to industry trends on our blog and work to build BigMachines awareness through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media outlets.
- Location, location, location! If you’re attending an out-of-town conference or trade show, be mindful of size and durability when it comes to hauling your giveaways to the show and expecting the recipients to bring them home.
- Lasting power. Water bottle labels make for great brand impressions on a hot day, but how many of those make it home with the recipient? You’re better off imprinting directly onto a personalized water bottle for a long-lasting keepsake.
- Pick a theme. Tie the gift to the experience, as Debbie did with her House of Blues/Blues Brothers event. Both the event and the logo will forever be imprinted!
What do you think of Debbie’s tips? Any ideas on how she can enhance her marketing potential with a different approach to promotional products? How can you use her tips in your own marketing plans? Sound off in the comments below!
Until next time, keep expanding your brand!