Archive for the Memory Hook Ideas Category

Top Ten Promotional Gifts

Posted in Memory Hook Ideas, Opinions & Comments, Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by Richard

It’s fair to say this is easily the question I most frequently get asked. I do my best to get folk to look at this question another way – what they should be asking me is what’s  the most ‘effective’ promotional gift for my (insert specific nature of business here) business, together with ‘where and how and to whom’ the promotional gift is going to be used. However, I get asked the question SO much, maybe it’s time to come clean, maybe it’s time to just tell it how it is. Working in the business of promotional gifts, over a period of time, a statistical picture emerges showing you the trends in purchases, which when assessed gives an interesting and consistent picture of the types of promotional gifts that are being purchased.

So, in true beauty pageant style – in reverse order – the results for the Top Ten Promotional Gifts are as follows:

Number Ten
Sports Bottles

Sports Bottles from RT Promotions

Sports Bottles from RT Promotions

Increasingly popular at ‘events’ and even for use in the office. There’s loads to choose from, in all kinds of funky colours – is there a colour to match your brand identity? Within the mix you’ll find some ‘serious’ water bottles and others intended as ‘fun’ items but they all have their role to play. Perfect for associating your company or service with ‘water’ or hydration – or simply to be seen by folk interested in their own health and well being.

Number Nine
USB Memory Sticks

Printed USB Memory Sticks from RT Promotions

Printed USB Memory Sticks from RT Promotions

You’re absolutely spoilt for choice with this promotional gift, and that’s just for the actual device/holder – when the time comes to purchasing a USB Memory Stick, you’ve also got to decide on what size ‘chip’  or how much memory you require? This is a gift that pretty much appeals to all market sectors – if you’ve got a computer, you’ll appreciate a gift of one of these.

Number Eight
Diaries and Calendars

Printed Diaries and Calendars from RT Promotions

Printed Diaries and Calendars from RT Promotions

It’s a common misconception that this area is on the decline. Yes, lots of folk use their computers or hand-held devices to manage their diaries, but there’s still plenty of people that appreciate a good old fashioned pen and paper. From pocket diaries to desk diaries to diary organisers and calendars there’s something for everyone and it’s no longer a case of “do you want it in black, blue or red”? In many cases there’s a wonderful range of colours – maybe one to match your brand identity? Think about it – if you get this right, you’ve got a promotional gift that’ll be used for a whole year!!

Number Seven
Conference Folders

Printed Folders from RT Promotions

Printed Folders from RT Promotions

You could be forgiven for thinking that by their very name these printed folders are only any use for conferences, and you’d be wrong!! In fact, most of our clients who purchase these use them for anything but conferences. Perfect for daily use by your own people, for handing out notes and files at training seminars, or even for use as a quality business gift, one that will be used time and time again.

Number Six

Printed and Personalised Confectionery from RT Promotions

Whilst this isn’t a category of promotional gift that has a long shelf life (no pun intended), after all, once they’ve been consumed, they’re gone, perhaps forgotten, and with them so has your message – they do have their part to play. Unlike the other items in our Top Ten Promotional Gifts, where the item may be used for weeks, months and even years, constantly reminding the recipient of your brand and message, confectionery, by it’s very nature, will soon be gone – but that’s where it’s POWER lies. Promotional gifts appeal to your customers ‘senses’, and this one will appeal to their sense of ‘taste’ in a way that the other items simply can’t. Perfect for using as a promotional giveaway at trade shows or exhibitions, they also have their use in the training room.

Number Five
Coffee Mugs

Printed Coffee Mugs from RT Promotions

Printed Coffee Mugs from RT Promotions

Printed and Personalised coffee mugs are a brilliant promotional gift, and today, more than ever, you have so much choice. The most popular style of promotional coffee mug is the earthenware or ceramic mug. Perfect for everyday use and with hundreds of styles and shapes and colours to select from. Increasingly we are seeing a trend towards Travel Mugs, or Thermal Mugs – great gifts for folk on the move or in the car. Don’t forget, if your style requires it, you can even get Bone China promotional coffee mugs!!

Number Four

Promotional Clothing from RT Promotions

Promotional Clothing from RT Promotions

You’ll be spoilt for choice in this category. There’s just so much choice. The ever-popular and potentially low-cost printed T-Shirts continue to sell well, but increasingly folk are trading up to the more stylish Polo Shirt, and that usually means they’ll be embroidered as opposed to printed. Embroidery opens up all kinds of possibilities in the Promotional Gifts market, as once the image has been set-up and created, it’s easy to simply apply it to a massive range of garments. Traditionally, when ‘printing’ you need to print as many garments as you can to keep the costs low, whereas embroidery opens up the possibilities of having very low quantities across a much broader range of garments. Whether you decide to go with a budget garment, or upgrade to executive, branded clothing is certainly a powerful promotional gift.

Number Three
Plastic Giveaways

Printed Plastic Giveaways from RT Promotions

Printed Plastic Giveaways from RT Promotions

It’s hardly surprising that this category should feature in the top three promotional gifts, there’s just so many products to choose from. Ranging from the sublime, (Printed Paperclips), to the functional (Printed Rulers), to the ridiculous (windscreen wipers for computer screens) – there’s something for everyone, and more importantly, every budget.  This is a popular category as it’s mostly ‘budget driven’, but remember, not everything that’s cheap is nasty – I’ve many examples of these low-cost promotional gifts bringing a powerful ROI to my clients.

Number Two
Pens and Pencils

Promotional Pens and Pencils from RT Promotions

Promotional Pens and Pencils from RT Promotions

Often cited as the Number One Promotional Gift, this category regularly features as number two. There’s no doubt it’s powerful as we all use pens and pencils, so getting your name onto one, and then into the hands of your potential customers is such a simple way to make sure your brand/service is remembered. There’s something for everyone in this category, with Plastic Pens being the single most popular sub-category. Whilst we all love a quality Metal Pen, sometimes the budget just wont allow it to happen!! Don’t forget the Novelty Pens section – have fun with your pens and bring a smile to your customers faces.

Number One

Printed Bags from RT Promotions

Printed Bags from RT Promotions

Consistently coming in at Number One – Printed Bags have a multitude of uses as a promotional gift. Ranging from the disposable and simple carrier bag to the type of bag that will be kept and used for years to come – shopper bags, laptop bags, sports bags, gym bags, messenger bags, golf bags, etc, etc.

So there you have it, the Top Ten Promotional Gifts – these are the ones that folk are purchasing, and they consistently purchase them because they WORK!!

What promotional gift has worked for you and why?

Research by Sourcing City – January 2012


Do You Go After The Herd – Or Do You Cater For Minorities?

Posted in Memory Hook Ideas, Promotional Gifts, Trivia with tags , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by Richard

Could be contentious this one, so I’d better be careful – especially when you see where I’m going with the ‘minority’ group.

In business, it generally makes sense to go where the mass market is. If I’m selling football scarves, it would make sense to put my market stall on the approaches to the football ground on the morning of the big match. Simples….

But, what about selling scarves to a much smaller demographic – say, for example, landscape gardeners? They work in the cold, need to dress warm, and probably need scarves, don’t they? The problem as I see it is three fold:

1: Their numbers won’t be as big as a football crowd.
2: They probably don’t care if their gift is ‘branded’ (which for my business, RT Promotions,  is after all the point)
3: They don’t naturally gather together in large groups on a regular basis (makes it harder to reach them)

So, it reinforces the argument to go after the numbers right?

Well, I’d like to introduce my ‘minority’ group to you – left handed people – aka left handies

I think they’re a part of society that’s often neglected, and for my part, as the owner of a promotional gifts company, I’m on a mission to highlight their plight. Take for example the typical promotional printed pen. Go on, pick one up, I bet you’ve got a few on your desk that have someone’s logo and/or message printed on them. Got one? Now do something different with it…. hold it in your LEFT hand, as though you were going to write with it…. and take a look at the logo/message printed onto it. I bet it’s upside down?

Almost every promotional pen I’ve ever seen, and trust me on this, I’ve seen thousands, has been printed for a right handed audience. Now just think about that. Given that it’s believed that 10% of the worlds population is left handed, maybe you could go on a mission to appeal to them. After all, on a printed pen, all you have to do is print your logo/message upside down, and if nothing else, it would make all the right handed folk look twice at the pen!!

Using a promotional pen designed for left handed people

Using a promotional pen designed for left handed people

Using a promotional pen designed for left handed people

Using a promotional pen designed for left handed people

Effective Promotional Gifts – The Umbrella

Posted in Memory Hook Ideas, Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment with tags , , , , , , on July 19, 2011 by Richard

Printed Umbrellas

It’s often said to me that most promotional gifts are simply not kept by the recipient. They’re viewed us low value or cheap and tacky, and simply given away. naturally I’d argue with that, as I have many, many examples of low costs business gifts bringing my clients a Return On Their Investment (often referred to as ROI). However, I ‘can’ understand why some folk may have the impression that promo gifts aren’t kept. That’s why I believe Printed Umbrellas are one of the most impactful promotional gift ideas out there. Umbrellas are a promo gift that are rarely discarded. I believe they are the perfect promotional gift, and yet, they are so often under utilized. If you get this right, they’re a mobile advertising message that will hang around and be used for years.

I’d like to share some tips with you on how to ensure you get the best possible results from them.

  • Printed Umbrellas don’t HAVE to be ‘golf umbrellas’. Why not consider an alternative shape/size that’s appropriate to your target market?
  • Umbrellas are perfect for any sporting occasion, but are also powerful promo gifts for use in the hospitality sector. A handful of umbrellas in the lobby of an Hotel or restaurant are a great way to show your customers how much you care!!
  • You don’t HAVE to have that classic golf umbrella look (alternate coloured panels), and for no additional cost, can often have the whole canopy in just one colour (one to match your brand?)
  • As a general rule, you will pay extra, each time your message is printed onto the umbrella’s canopy panels. The typical umbrella has eight canopies, so if you print onto every panel, you’ll be paying for the privilege!! Why not be subtle, and have just the one/two panels printed? Some of your recipients may like this more and then use the umbrella more often, resulting in increased exposure for your brand or message.
  • Have you considered a Travel or Folding Umbrella?
  • Printed Umbrellas can last a long time. We regularly see examples, still in use, that are more than ten years old, so make sure your message doesn’t ‘date’.
  • Have you considered a ‘double skinned’ umbrella? Working with two different coloured materials, we can manufacture the umbrella with an outer canopy and an inner skin that complement your brand. Certain colours make the umbrella look stunning, and that’s even before we print it for you.
  • The handle is an important element of the umbrella, and with many of them we can offer you a choice. Low cost budget plastic, wooden, moulded grip or even a crook handle.
  • New print technology allows us to print multicoloured designs across the whole of the canopy, with a total disregard for the limitations of printing within the confines of the individual panels. With the right artwork, the effect is amazing!!!
  • Don’t forget those little attention to details: Colour co-ordinated handles, ribs and spike? Branded umbrella pouches? Printed fastening straps? Printed epoxy decals inserted into the base of the handle?

Effective Promotional Gifts – The Coffee Coaster

Posted in Memory Hook Ideas, Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment with tags , , , , , , on May 11, 2011 by Richard
Take a look at the average desk in your office. The chances are that most of them will have a coffee coaster, possibly with someone’s marketing message on. There’s no doubt that a Promotional Coffee Coaster is an effective marketing tool, and we’d like to share some tips with you on how to ensure you get the best possible results from them.
Top Ten Tips for Promotional Coffee Coasters

Top Ten Tips for Promotional Coffee Coasters

  1. Remember that whilst in use, the central area will be covered by the coffee mug. Design your coaster with print around the edges so that your marketing message is seen at ALL times.
  2. Consider using a trackable unique telephone number so you can measure their effectiveness.
  3. Make your coasters really stand out by selecting an unusual base material. You can get glass coasters, leather coasters, ceramic/earthenware coasters, or maybe you’ll go ‘green’ and have a coaster made from recycled materials?
  4. A lot of desks will already have a coaster. Is your design good enough to make the recipient choose yours over their existing one?
  5. Let your competitors spend all the money on the more expensive promotional coffee mugs. Just make sure they use your lower cost coasters to put them on!!
  6. Promotional Coffee Coasters can last a long time. We regularly see examples, still in use, that are more than ten years old, so make sure your message doesn’t ‘date’.
  7. Choose a coaster shape that compliments your brand/logo/message. Instead of the more common square or round shapes, why not consider: oval shaped coffee coasters, octagonal shaped coffee coasters, heart shaped coffee coasters, house shaped coffee coasters, and there’s even a coffee coaster shaped like a jigsaw puzzle!!
  8. Promotional Coffee Coasters are perfect for mailshots. They slip into a standard envelope, and go ‘letter post’ saving you money on the more expensive ‘lumpy’ items.
  9. Put a ‘call to action’ on your Promotional Coffee Coasters. They’re a marketing tool and a daily ‘memory hook’, so invite your prospects to do something. Visit your website perhaps?
  10. Purchase more than you think you’ll need. It’ll make the cost per coaster cheaper so you won’t mind giving them away!!

Are Business Cards Effective?

Posted in Memory Hook Ideas, Networking, Promotional Gifts, UK with tags , , , , on April 15, 2011 by Richard

Every business owner, manager or sales rep I’ve ever met hands me their business card. After a quick glance at it, the conversation continues, and at some stage the card goes into your pocket, purse, wallet, etc. So what do you do with all those cards you’ve received?

OK, OK….. there’s some of you that will be highly organised. Maybe you file them, card index them, alpha sort them into wallets or boxes, or if you’re really techie, you may scan them into your computer or mobile device.


With so many people and cards to remember, how will you re-call that person you met at a function, who was mildly of interest, but who you’d now like to make contact with? I for one, struggle to remember all the details of the folk I meet. I may recall their face, and their business proposition, but I struggle to remember their company name, so how can I find their card and their details?

This week, I was at a business networking event, and the guy sat next to me asked me if a promotional pen was all it was cracked up to be. (Promotional pens are reputed to be the single most effective promotional giveaway in the world!!!) I was just about to get the luckiest break ever…… I caught sight of a promo pen in his inside jacket pocket. I couldn’t see much (rude to stare), but I could see a red pen clip with some branding on it, and seeing how this guys logo and branding was predominantly green, I reckoned it was unlikely to be his own branded pen…. and I was right.

Our best selling promotional pen

Our best selling promotional pen

I told him that if you used a promo pen, and you managed to become the recipients ‘favourite’ pen, then you’d be kept. If you gave away tacky, boring pens, then the likelihood is that your pen will be discarded. To prove my point, I then asked if he had a favourite pen. he said he did, and then he reached into his jacket and pulled out the pen I’d seen, declaring, “I’ve had this one for ages, I love it”.

People of the world wide web, let me tell you, my jaw hit the ground, I was astonished…… he was holding one of my very own promotional giveaway pens!!!!

Now here’s the thing:

  • I’d only known this man a few months.
  • The pen he had kept was a pen that I’d given away to promote my own company, but which I’d not used in over three years!!
  • He didn’t even know where he’d got the pen.
  • He hadn’t even realised that the pen was one of mine.
  • BUT….. he’d kept it, for several years!!!

In my opinion, he had had my ‘business card’ in his jacket pocket for three years. He had been holding my ‘business card’, every time he used it to write. He may not have ever wanted to buy a promotional gift, but if he had, then he was holding my contact details in his hand.

In my humble opinion, when chosen and used correctly (ask me how), the promotional pen is more effective than the business card.

Five Mistakes To Avoid When Using Promo Gifts At A Trade Show

Posted in Memory Hook Ideas, ROI - Return on Investment, Trade Shows with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2011 by Richard
Having the right Promotional Gift at a Trade Show can make the difference between a poor performance and a GREAT show. But, it’s not good enough to simply buy a box of promotional goodies, in fact there’s five mistakes you could make, which I’ve highlighted in this article: Continue reading

Getting A Return On Your Investment

Posted in Memory Hook Ideas, Opinions & Comments, Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment with tags , , , , , on November 25, 2010 by Richard

Do you measure how effective your marketing initiatives are? All that time effort and money you’ve been spending on brochures, leaflets, flyers, advertising, etc, how do you know which is effective and which isn’t?

Here at RT Promotions the best thing about working with promotional gifts is that you can, if planned in advance, quite easily measure their effectiveness. One of our clients wanted to do a mailshot campaign to their prospect database. We worked with them on putting together an appropriate branded giveaway and supplied them with 1,000 promotional coffee coasters. Perfect to go into a mailshot campaign, as their size and weight don’t add to the postal costs here in the UK.

But here’s the thing, here’s the one thing they did that allowed them to measure this promotional idea…. they used a unique email address and telephone number on the coasters. It’s really easy to do this, and allows you to track incoming emails and calls, and of course, because the details are unique, it can mean just one thing, the enquiry has come as a direct result of the promotional coffee coaster campaign. I can tell you that they had over 50 enquiries as a result of the campaign, resulting in 10 new customers. Lets say the cost of the coasters was £500 (it was cheaper, but lets play a worst case cost scenerio). If it cost £500 and you secured 10 new customers from the campaign, then the cost per customer would be just £50!!

Or, put another way. If each customer spent an average of £750 with you, and you made a margin of 33% on each one, then the campaign would have brought you additional profit of £2,500.

So lets look at ‘Return on Investment’ one more time shall we? You spent £500, and made an instant return (profit) of £2,500!!! I’d say thats pretty good wouldn’t you?

Just two more thoughts…
1: Those customers should continue to buy, so ask yourself the question. What’s your average customer spend/profit over a year. The think how many years does your average customer stay with you for? That figure is the TRUE return on investment, as your initial £500 will continue to bring you a return from those customers for years to come.
2:  Lastly, think about the 950 other businesses, that received your coffee coaster, but didn’t instantly respond to the promotion. They could well still be in use, constantly reminding folk of your brand and service delivery. Think of them as ‘ticking sales time bombs’, they could go off at any time, you could receive your 51st enquiry from the promotion.