Use bait the FISH like, not bait YOU like.


Just because YOU think a particular promotional item is the cat’s meow doesn’t mean the item will be loved by everyone you’re reaching, or that it is appropriate for the event or audience. It’s really important that you think about how an item will be received and what sort of impression it will leave in the mind of the recipient.

Many in the promotional products business are simply order-takers. We can be that if that’s really what you want, but would rather help you figure out the right item and strategy. That’s why we ask so many questions, and why we frequently recommend products that you didn’t ask us for.

A case in point: A large and successful locally owned business is having an open house. Their ideal client is affluent and older: 50 at least, but likely as old as 75+.  They want to spend less than $1.70 per unit ion about 500 items. We were asked to provide pricing on a cel-phone wallet/lanyard combo and on a re-usable shopping tote. I don’t want to get into the details of the business…. that wouldn’t be very nice, but the situation is instructive.

The ideal promotional item is something that is kept, shown, shared, used and appreciated. If it doesn’t do at least a few of those things, it may do more HARM than good. What can you get for under $1.70 that someone WANTS? Not much. By giving away “UPC” (useless plastic crap –our term for anything purchased just because it is cheap), you demonstrate something about your brand. Specifically that your brand is cheap and that you don’t really care who knows it. What’s the likelyhood that someone affluent and older will appreciate a device that allows a cel phone to hang around their neck on a plastic cord? Tote bags are better… but for THIS crowd it would need to be a nice one… not the cheapest thing made.

This is not to say that you must spend a fortune to make the right impression… just that when your budget is small, you will want to lean on the advice of professionals.

The buyer who requested the info is either young or young at heart, and chose an item that she thinks is cool. And it IS cool… if you happen to be a high-school student.

We did provide samples and quotes on the items requested, but also proposed another item: a high-quality pocket calendar-planner… an item with a much higher perceived value that the target audience will be likely to keep, use and appreciate.

Now if a high school club called and asked us for pocket planners, we’d probably have suggested something different… but for THIS audience, it is the perfect item (at this super low price-point).

I have no idea which way our client will go. I’m hopeful that she’ll heed our advice and select an item that works. Time will tell.

Before getting excited about a particular item, give us a call. Tell us who you are trying to reach, where you want to reach them and what your budget is. Let US suggest the right thing. Not only is this less work for you, you are SURE to get a better result. And that’s what matters.

Happy fishing!


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