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16BUILDERS' DIGEST| OCTOBER-NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2010WWW.BATC.ORGThepromotionalmarketing industryis much larger than mostpeople think. Over the pastdecade it has varied between $17 bil-lion and $19 billion a year. To put that in per-spective, compare it to the retail side of gifts andsouvenirs. This from Hoovers:The US gift, novelty, and souvenir store (giftstore) industry includes about 30,000 storeswith combined annual revenue of $17 billion.Major companies include Hallmark, SpencerGifts, and Disney Stores (a division of The WaltDisney Company).- http://www.hoovers.comIf you're among those who see advertisingspecialties as "trinkets" or "giveaways," you areselling it short. Putting some of your advertisingdollars into promotions "gets your name around"and gives you the opportunity to put somethingtangible into someone's hands. Everybody likesto get a gift, even a small token, and when thatgift says something positive or useful or funabout the company who's name is printed on it... well, that's what it's all about. Uses of promotional market-ing familiar to BATC members mightinclude: logo mats at the doorsteps of yourmodel homes; custom flags flying outside amodel; imprinted coffee mugs or tumblers as agift for attending an open house; grocery totes,"frisbees" or the ubiquitous pen (the largest sell-ing category of all promotional products) givento visitors to your event booth.Sound advice on product selection to matchyour business and event is available from mostASI Distributors - the folks who sell promotion-al items - but the professional marketing adviceand high-quality design and artwork that giveyour promotion that extra bounce is a little morerare. Not all ASI distributors are integrated withthose competencies. A promotional product is anopportunity to make a connection with aprospect, and to that end a little creativity canturn a toss-away trinket into a keepsake. Craftingthe message and maximizing the visual impacteasily doubles the bounce for the promotionalbuck over just "slapping on a logo."A final note on resources. If you undervaluethese "trinkets" to begin with you might assumethat buying them online is easier and cheaperthan through a client-service distributor. In real-ity, this is not the case. In the promotional prod-ucts industry all distributors are selling essential-ly the same products, sourced through the 4,000or so companies committed to the needs andstandards of the industry. This includes onlinepromotions sellers like http://www.branders.comor, who are sim-ply ASI distributors pursuing an online businessmodel. Except for factory specials availablethrough any ASI distributor, or a strategic loss-leader, prices online tend to be the "recommend-ed" published factory prices. In return, orderingonline means you give up a level of customerservice, accessibility, and the input and advicethat is always a part of the face-to-faceclient/distributor relationship; plus you give upthe opportunity to actually negotiate that price.Like any other aspect of a good marketingplan-website, video, email, print ads, sponsor-ships, signs, handouts, etc.-promotional mar-keting should be in the mix. Pick your opportu-nities, know your audience, then give themsomething to remember you by.MarketingMarketingFeatureSwag, tchotchke, gadgets, trash & trinkets,CPS(cheap plastic "stuff") - or more politely - advertising specialties, promotional products,imprinted merchandise. Whatever you call it, it may surprise you to learn that thistype of marketing returns some of the best bang for your advertising buck. Arecent study by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI - found that promotional productshad the lowest cost per impression (CPI)-the true meas-ure of a buck's bouncing ability-of all majorforms of media.BYDONLEHNHOFFT&TDESIGNSINC.If you're among thosewho see advertisingspecialties as "trinkets"or "giveaways," you areselling it short.

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