Just the other day, a promotional consultant got a call from a customer who wanted to order promotional products for a trade show event in a hurry. As usual, the promotional consultant went through the list of questions we normally ask customers to meet their needs. However, the consultant didn’t get much from their conversation. In summary, the questions and answers went something like this:

Consultant: What’s your budget? Customer: Don’t know.

Consultant: Your target audience? Customer: Don’t know.

Consultant: What would you like printed on the products?

Customer: Don’t know. Consultant: Objective? Don’t know.

Customer: Just need the cheapest promotional products you have in 3 days.

Now when a conversation with a customer goes something like that, it doesn’t make things any easier and it doesn’t give the information that’s important in getting the right product at the right cost to you at the right time. If you want a promotional products company to meet your needs, you need to let them know what you need. So here is a quick must know list before approaching a promotional products company.

1. Know Your Promotional Objectives

Unless you’re in a habit of throwing money into the air, you must know your promotional objectives. Why are you going to spend dollars on promotional products? Is your objective to thank your loyal customers, reward new customers, improve customer relationships, promote goodwill for the company to position it in a better light, to attract attendees for a company event, community recognition, to launch a new product, to publicise a new initiative, to motivate staff, to reward staff performance? You need to know what you want to achieve with your promotional campaign.

2. Know Your Target Audience

Before you go to a promotional products company, make sure you know: Who are your target audience? What do they want? Are they your top 20% loyal corporate customers who deserve premium corporate gifts? Or will they be prospects who opt in for your E mail campaign?

3. Know Your Budget

Many customers say they don’t have a budget but when the prices are placed in front of them, they suddenly realise they need a budget. Be sure to set a realistic budget and don’t just go for the cheapest product. Find a product with the best value for money within your budget that suits your target audience. Letting your promotional consultant know your budget also saves time which would otherwise be wasted on recommending you products which don’t fit into your budget.

4. Know To Choose Promotional Products which Fit The Picture

The promotional products and printed message chosen for your promotional campaign should fit into your objectives, target audience and budget. If you’re not clear about which products would fit the picture, seek the advise of your promotional consultant who should be able to give you a few ideas based on your information. Remember, promotional consultants are not there to draw up your whole marketing plan so be sure to give them the information they need to help you unless you’re willing to pay extra for them to do your marketing job for you.

5. Know To Plan Ahead

For best results, plan at least 3 months ahead for your promotional campaign. Don’t get caught up in a last minute mad rush to buy your promotional products. This might cause a lot of stress, added costs and you might overlook certain important things in the purchasing process such as looking through the artwork carefully before approving it for print. Many marketers are also pressured to change things last minute by other decision makers in the company which results in more delays. If you’re handling the marketing side of things in your company make sure you firmly push for a realistic timeline for your promotional campaign to avoid such situations.

6. Know To Measure Your Results

Many people overlook this stage of the promotional campaign. However, if you don’t measure your success, you won’t know how well or how badly you’ve done and you won’t know where to improve in future. Track the performance of your promotional products campaign not only at the end of the campaign but as it progresses so changes can be made if required. You might measure your promotional campaign by asking people how they heard about your company, perhaps even print a unique phone number or url address on the item to know that the lead was generated from that promotional product.

In summary, knowing your objectives, target audience, budget, choosing appropriate promotional products, planning ahead and measuring your promotional results will ensure a successful promotional campaign for you.