Saturday, November 24, 2007


Welcome to this edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

We all know what they are and we all know what their role is in the marketing mix. But sometimes these chochkes – ad specialty, or promotional items – are taken for granted. And by that I mean too often they’re selected by the marketer without significant thought given to the relationship to either the marketer or the intended recipients.

Friend, colleague, neighbor and ad specialties guru Matt Coben, president of Thunder Road Brandworks, Inc. -- (704-335-9956) -- takes these trinket doo-dads seriously.

As well he should; according to Wikipedia, it’s an industry with sales in excess of $17 billion. In just a couple of examples noted in the online Business Odyssey Chronicle, 39 percent of people receiving a promotional product could recall the name of the advertiser as long as six months after they received it according to a study. And promotional products used in direct mail solicitations were found to boost response rates by up to 75 percent, in another study.

“Trinkets & Trash, Swag, Chochkes, call them what you will,” says Matt. “Most people think of tee shirts, golf balls, pens and coffee cups. At the end of the day, it is still the representation of your company’s brand. It comes down to this: more time should be spent on how to display your brand than goes into choosing the brand of toilet tissue for the corporate wash room.

“How many times have you expectantly waited while you watched your client/prospect take your gift pen and scratch on that piece of paper until the ink started flowing. Kind of makes the sweat start on your forehead just thinking about it, doesn’t it?

“Why not work with an expert who has taken the time to research who not only makes the pen, but the cartridge as well. If it’s only about price, you may end up being penny wise and pound foolish. After all, everything you put out into the world with your name or logo on it speaks to the quality and integrity of your business.

“But once you’re committed to producing a promotional item, are you prepared for some rep to come to your office, drop a pile of catalogs on your desk and say ‘tell me what you want’..?

“Or, would you rather consult with an industry professional who will present ideas that match your marketing goals? Do yourself a favor and stay away from the ‘trunk slammers,’ and talk to a pro that will take the time to get to know you, your product/service and the marketplace in which you conduct business. A pro who goes to trade shows and stays on top of the latest products, gadgets and trends.”

Words to the wise. Worthy of inscription on a coffee mug.

A very large coffee mug, of course…

Yours truly, for instance, has been sending out annually for the past five years a nifty, compact adhesive calendar, ostensibly for the computer keyboard or atop the monitor, which places my name and company name in front of the recipient on a daily basis. Every time that person sits down at the computer (that’s pretty much every day, and throughout the day, isn’t it?), he or she sees my mini “advertisement.” Along, of course, with every day of every month for ease of scheduling.

Joel Kweskin

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