Archive for the ROI – Return on Investment Category

How to choose your promotional gifts supplier – the industry expert gives us his guidance

Posted in Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment, UK with tags , , on September 16, 2014 by Richard

Welcome to the second of my blog posts in a series of three, in which I ask some pointed questions of the Director General of the British Promotional Merchandising Association (BPMA), Gordon Glenister.

With the UK’s second Promotional Products Week event under way (it commenced on Monday 15th September), I felt this was the perfect time to glean Gordon’s invaluable insights for buyers of promotional gifts, and how such gifts and give-aways might help you to grow your business and brand.

My first blog post in this series was all about what makes a good promotional gift, this one focuses on helping you to choose your promotional gifts supplier.

1: With the click of a mouse, buyers can find a plethora of promotional gift distributors offering the same kind of thing – pens, coffee mugs, coaters, etc, – how should they decide which company is most suitable?

1: I know buyers want maximum value with minimum risk when searching for promotional items. But with so much choice, they need to be able make an informed decision about what products are best suited to their needs. By talking to a BPMA member distributor, many of whom have years of experience and are trained to an industry standard, a buyer will feel reassured that they are working with an expert. If buyers clearly explain the type of activity they are planning, it’s likely there are a range of ideas and options available. Other signs of a potentially good gifts supplier are case studies. Look at what other companies they have worked with already and the results, feedback or testimonials they have achieved. The most capable suppliers have often won industry awards, too.

2: The promotional gifts industry used to be driven by mailing-out brochures but has seen a gradual move away to promotional tools like e-shots; where do you see this going?

2: It’s definitely true that catalogues have dropped in popularity but not by a staggering amount as there are still people who like to view ideas away from the computer. It’s sometimes easier, for example, to talk with colleagues while viewing a catalogue rather than on a screen or hard copy e-mail. In addition, e-mails are extremely cheap to deliver but I would also ask how many even get through to recipients in this day and age with so many spam filters. As a society we are overwhelmed with messages, receiving thousands every day. In some instances we’ve become oblivious to them. Furthermore, for me at least, one of the most effective methods for gifts suppliers to get their message over is through word of mouth and referral marketing – which are the kinds of signals buyers should be listening for as well. Tailored and focused direct mail is seeing a resurgence.

3: Gordon, you have worked alongside the biggest and the smallest in this industry – what tips would you give to a company seeking to source a UK distributor?

3: If a company wants to source a UK distributor, it all depends again on what they are trying to achieve and what they are looking for in a partner. Are they looking for a local company they can meet regularly and discuss ideas and options for campaigns? Are they looking for a company that can help them create a merchandise scheme or collection for a large brand with a sizeable budget? Are they looking for in-house design or a company that can cater for their tender requirements? Once they’ve decided upon what type of company they are looking for, they should then select from BPMA members, all of whom have been financially vetted and sign up to a code of conduct. What’s more, some BPMA members have taken steps to becoming  super compliant by gaining “Charter” status. All these companies have customer service procedures, proper complaint processes, ethical policies and many also have CSR polices. All of which are just some of the reasons why promotional gift buyers should also talk to BPMA members first!

That’s it for this blog post and our thanks to BPMA Director General, Gordon Glenister, for his detailed answers.

In the third post in this blog series, I’ll be asking Gordon to help me with three factors which have had an impact on the promotional gifts industry in recent years – EU legislation, environmental concerns and ever decreasing delivery deadlines.

Keep it here then for blog post three but if you’d like to know more about any of the matters Gordon has discussed, please feel free to give us a call.

Also, to discover more about Promotional Products Week you’ll find it here: www.promotionalproductsweek.co.uk

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What makes a good promotional gift – I ask the industry expert

Posted in Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment, UK with tags , on September 14, 2014 by Richard

As we run up to the UK’s second Promotional Products Week event, which starts on 15th September, I thought I’d put Gordon Glenister, the Director General of the British Promotional Merchandising Association (BPMA), on the spot and ask him a number of searching questions about the state of the industry.

If you buy – or are thinking about buying – promotional gifts to help your enterprise with its  sales, marketing, PR and brand building, this and the next couple of my blog posts are essential reading.

1: Gordon, as Director general of the BPMA, you must see lots of really good examples of promotional gifts, care to describe your favourite?

1: Yes, I see a lot of great promotional gifts but my favourite gifts are those that have some relevance to a theme. One of my favourites is something I have kept for over 15 years – I picked up what looked like a piece of wood only to be told it was whistle and made the noise of a great steam train. Given the company was called Commission Junction, I liked the link. Not only have I shown this gift to thousands of people in my seminars, all our research suggests those items that have relevance and usefulness are likely to be kept for the longest.

2: For clients looking for a memorable promotional gift, which style offers the best ROI? Quirky/unusual or regular/standard?

2: That’s an important question, especially in today’s still economically challenging times. I have to say that much depends on the target audience. If you are targeting a cool, young and trendy audience as, for example, you would be if you’re in the fashion industry, you might source unusual items that are relevant to that group. However, all the research suggests that the stable products such as pens, mugs, clothing, usb sticks and so on still lead the way. I know that sounds like I’m recommending safe or dull choices but it’s amazing, for example, what the Google brand does on a standard mug – I’ve seen the reaction! The other big question gift buyers should ask themselves is how the gift is being presented. For example, is it being given away at an exhibition, is it to be mailed, is it an on-pack promotion or is it being resold? These factors will impact on the effectiveness of the response a gift generates and therefore the ROI the sourcing business enjoys.

I hope you enjoyed Gordon’s insights into the kind of promotional gifts and merchandise that tend to work best for business, and how to go about choosing them to benefit from maximum return on your investment.

In my second blog post in this series, my questions and Gordon’s responses deal with choosing a promotional gifts supplier. So don’t forget to check back soon.

In the meantime, if you’d like highly expert and experienced advice and guidance to help you make the right choice of promotional gift for your purposes, budget and deadline, please don’t hesitate to give me, or any of my team at RT Promotions a shout.

If you’d like to know more about Promotional Products Week simply visit www.promotionalproductsweek.co.uk.

Attitudes and Perceptions of Promotional Products

Posted in Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment, UK with tags , on September 19, 2013 by Richard

Here in the UK, a survey of 1,000 consumers has been conducted on behalf of the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) by the independent research company Atomik. The survey was completed in September 2013 and has some interesting finding on the attitudes and perceptions regarding promotional products.

Take a look at the results – we’ve been supplied some brilliant infographics.

Promotional Products - Attitudes and Perceptions

Promotional Products – Attitudes and Perceptions

Ten Unusual Ideas For A Promotional Gift

Posted in ECO Friendly, Opinions & Comments, Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment, Trivia with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2013 by Richard

Even though I keep telling my clients to ALWAYS go with ‘effective’ and not fall into the trap of going for something gimmicky – there are occasions when ‘unusual’ may well be the right route. So with that in mind, I thought I’d share with you the ten most unusual ideas for a promotional gift that we have on our website. They’re in no particular order, so for your entertainment, the top ten promotional gift ideas are:

The Hammer Bottle Opener
Crazy isn’t it? Shaped to look just like a real DIY hammer!!

Hammer Shaped Bottle Opener

Hammer Shaped Bottle Opener

The Twig Pen
We love this ECO friendly pen. Every pen’s unique – the wood is, after all, a naturally grown item.

The Twig Pen

The Twig Pen

The Umbrella Hat
Yes, we know it’s not practical, but it does get a lot of attention and makes folk smile – maybe that’s the point?

The Umbrella Hat

The Umbrella Hat

Bride and Groom LogoBugs
We tend to get a ‘marmite’ reaction to these bugs – you either love them or hate them, but they’re certainly memorable. Perfect for use as ‘wedding favours’ or maybe to tell your guests to put the big day in their diary

Bride and Groom LogoBugs

Bride and Groom LogoBugs

USB Characters
These little characters always get a positive reaction. With articulated arms and legs, they look great even when you pull their heads off – that’s how you get access to the USB part to plug into your computer.

Character USB's

Character USB’s

Cow Bells
If you want your event to make a load of NOISE – this could be a good place to start.

Cow Bells

Cow Bells

Fold-Away Flower Vase
These look great when branded, and would be perfect for anyone working in the Hotel and catering industry. Your customers liked the flowers so much, they took the flower pot home with them!!

Fold-Away flower pot

Fold-Away flower pot

Giant Pencil
At 325 mm in length, it’s bigger than your average ruler, and is a genuine working pencil. Perfect for making a BIG impression – but seriously, it would be difficult to put away wouldn’t it?

Giant Pencil

Giant Pencil

Logo Projector Keyring Torch
Don’t you just love it? Projecting your logo in full colour is a little bit special isn’t it?

Logo Projector Keyring Torch

Logo Projector Keyring Torch

Condom Keyring
Well, this is a list of the Ten Most Unusual Ideas for a Promotional Gift!!

Condom Keyring

Condom Keyring

Evidence that Promotional Gifts bring a ROI

Posted in Opinions & Comments, Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment with tags , , , , , on May 3, 2013 by Richard

The newest research from the bpma indicates that Promotional Merchandise delivers results, that’s why big brands have increased their spend on this marketing medium.

The survey was commissioned by the bpma and individual interviews were carried out by an independent research agency to a 1000 respondents, the results of which were published in Spring 2013. Sectors represented in the survey included finance and IT, retail, services, insurance, charity and education.

See – I told you it worked!!!!!

Promotional Product Effectiveness

Promotional Product Effectiveness

Case Study – Boring Pen v Exciting Promotional Pen

Posted in Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment with tags , on December 17, 2012 by Richard

It’s not often I get the chance to show clients a ‘before and after’ type scenario, particularly with promotional pens. More often than not, our proposal for a new pen is tied-in with a re-brand and so you can always argue that any improvement in reaction is the result of the new branding. So the example I’m going to share with you is a little unique. The company had been buying the same pen for years, and in recent times, with the orders for pens being placed with my company, RT Promotions, I decided to explore the possibilities of them trying a new style of pen.

Continue reading

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
Confectionery

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
Clothing

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
Bags

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