1) Failure to Follow Through On Dated Promotions

promotional calendar

Some promotional marketing items are dated. Examples include calendars, holiday themed products, and products with an imprint related to a specific event. All too often a marketing strategy falls by the wayside because a critical date passes before the products can be distributed. Even the best promotional product becomes obsolete and valueless if it’s sitting in a box in your storeroom because it’s too late to get it in the hands of your customers. When ordering dated items, be sure you have the resources in place to follow up and get them distributed on time.

2) Copying Big Business “Branding” Strategies

Small businesses need to promote themselves just like big companies do. But as a small business owner, you probably don’t have the same marketing budget as the big guys. Rather than using promotional products to just “get your name out there,” plan carefully so that every promotion has a target, a goal, and brings you a return on investment. For a small business, creating your own custom toy will certainly boost your ego, but how is it going to boost your bottom line?

3) Failure to Target Your Market  (Right Product, Wrong People)

A great product will be a complete waste of money if you give it to people who don’t want it.  Promotional products work when they are kept and used repeatedly over time. If the recipient isn’t interested in the product you’ve given them, it ends up in the trash…where it doesn’t work for you at all. Imagine handing out sporting goods to computer geeks or music downloads in nursing homes. These are extreme examples, but you get the idea: it’s not likely to work.  

4) Sticking With Classic Promotional Products 

The classics are, well, classic, but they may not be right for you. The old standbys of the promotional products business (pens, mugs, t-shirts) have been around a long time for a reason: they work!  But they may not be the best possible choice for what you are trying to accomplish. Taking into consideration the nature of your business and your target market may lead in another direction. For example, an optometrist could give away logo’d lens cleaning cloths; an insurance company that is targeting contractors could give away imprinted work gloves; a travel agent could give away luggage tags. If you sell wine refrigerators, give away promotional wine totes.

 <<<<< Great for Marketing to Contractors!


5) Thinking That More Is Better

We all want to get the most bang for our buck. But it’s a mistake to think that buying 1000 pens at $0.25 each is always a better deal than 500 pens at $0.50. The total cost will be $250 either way, but a lot more people won’t like the cheaper pen, so they’ll throw it away, or avoid using it, at which point it isn’t working to promote your company. That’s a waste of money.  Whatever your budget is, focus as much on the quality of the item you are purchasing as much as you do the quantity. Giving away low quality products can leave a poor impression of your company, making it seem like a penny-pinching operation. Sometimes spending a little extra per item and getting fewer items will give better value for your money. 

Like this post?  Stay tuned! In coming weeks we'll share more about custom promotional product mistakes to avoid.