Golf promo items

Golf promotional items are making a huge comeback these past few weeks, because the season is teeing off. We’ve been receiving tons of orders for everything from balls to golf pocket tools to towels. That’s expected, really, considering the statistics.

Just how big is golf? About 50 people million worldwide play it, and 23 million of them come from the United States alone (where there are also more than 11,000 professional golf players). In fact, studies show that some 83 percent of business deals are closed on a golf course.

Anybody who is anybody in the business world plays golf – from the top honchos to the middle managers. Get their attention –and loyalty – by giving them golf promotional products carrying your logo.

The BALL & TEE CADDIE, one of our bestsellers (available for as low as $4.82)

Play it safe with basic golf balls and tees, or steer past the common and give golf carry kits, sets, and totes (complete with sun block), or even golf tags.

- Jen

Knowing your audience

Your target market probably receives hundreds of freebies yearly. If you do not do your homework, your items could become inconsequential and even work against you.

People expect more

Lifestyles are changing, and so are promo items. The usual tumbler that multiplied sales for start-ups in the 1950’s just doesn’t cut it anymore – people want insulated, sturdier, nicer-looking drinkware. Consider your target’s tastes and requirements, and then you can safely invest in promo items that will never fail.

This was the lesson learned the hard way by one of our clients – a small software company. Before coming to rushIMPRINT, they hired a promo item peddler that let them spend money on rather shoddy-looking desk clocks that lasted only a few months. Their recipients ended up throwing the clocks away (and never bothered to just change the batteries). The company’s money – and reputation – went down the drain with their promotional items.

When they came to us, we advised them to give out computer bags instead. More expensive? Yes. But the bottom line more than makes up for the cost. The bags were used repeatedly by grateful, well-chosen recipients, the company’s reputation improved, and their sales skyrocketed.

Spend well

Do not be afraid to put money into promotional items. If executed well, they can be the most cost-efficient marketing campaigns you ever do for your business. But remember to research (or at least come to rushIMPRINT for sound advice). This way, you only invest in promotional products that effectively show your appreciation to customers, increase store traffic, increase response, generate sales leads, and even reward employee performance.

Paper versus PDAs (again)

I don’t know of you remember my previous entry about why I prefer padfolios to PDAs. I said that they are much simpler, less redundant, and easier on the eye that their electronic counterparts. Well, guess what – I found more reasons.

 Navigator Deluxe Writing Pad

A shipment of these padfolios came in today, and I of course had to ‘test drive’ one of them myself. The verdict: They are far more functional than PDAs, at least for someone who carries around bills and receipts (like me). It has very useful nooks and pockets that enable users to organize and carry important personal and office documents. It’s also sturdier – the pad is made from strong nylon, and the case is waterproof leather. You won’t lose your data even if you carry it in the rain or accidentally drop it in a pool – and you can’t say that about PDAs.

This padfolio also comes in a zippered version that features stretchable exterior pockets for carrying magazines and bigger documents, plus interior pockets for business cards, electronics, and media storage (such as USB ports).

Choose your pens wisely

In the United States alone, more than two billion pens are manufactured every year. Pens are still among the most widely-used writing instruments – whether ballpoint, fountain, soft-tip, or roller-ball.

Unfortunately, not all pens are kept or used by recipients. In fact, some 1.6 billion pens are thrown away annually. How do you make sure that the pens with your logo on them are not tossed out into the trash can? Choose wisely – choose utilitarian. Promotional pens are being reinvented to stand out, anyway, so it selecting one should not be too hard.

We at rushIMPRINT recommend ‘Liqui-Light Pens,’ which do not only look great, but are also multifunctional.

 Stock Globe Liqui-Light Pen

The sleek silver casing and the little futuristic-liquid aquarium (complete with a floating globe) make it too nifty not to use. Best of all, the pen features a matching blue light so the user can work even in low-light conditions, and the stylus tip can be used to input data into a personal digital assistant. Add in the gift box and you have a promo pen that will surely be used for years and years.

Manufacturers of similarly-designed writing instruments say that investing in high-quality pens make a sound marketing decision, especially because people of all walks of life think that (multifunctional) pens are designed for them. Everyone – form outdoorsy people to traveling salesmen to nurses – appreciate the versatility, usefulness and good looks of a quality writing instrument.

- Josh

Promotional tools (Part 2)

I thought of writing another entry related to tools as promo items because I came across a rather interesting idea from Theodore Levitt (Harvard Professor Emeritus). He said that over 250 million quarter-inch drill bits are sold every year, but that nobody wants a quarter-inch drill bit. What people really want are quarter-inch holes.

True – especially in promotional tools. When you give someone a Tool N’ Torch, for example, you are not really giving them a Halogen flashlight and a device tote. You are giving him convenience – the ease of doing tool work even in low-light conditions (such as in campfires and during car trouble). This ability to associate with ‘experience’ is what separates promotional tools from other traditional forms of advertising. A buyer is more likely to remember the brand imprinted on a tool he repeatedly uses to make his life easier than the brand mentioned in a 20-second television ad he sees only twice a week (or less).

Tools are also very ‘multipliable,’ because they are likely to be borrowed by or lent to someone other than your original recipient. Give Tom a six-function wrench, for example, and his neighbor Ben will probably use it, too, and so will his friend Anthony. For as low as $6, you have already reached – and have been remembered by – at least three people. If your tool’s lifespan is 5 years, you will reach hundreds of potential customers. Now that is cost-effective advertising.

- Josh

Promotional tools

Probably one of the most hardworking promotional items is multi-piece toolkits, which enable people to work on basic projects even when they are miles away from their toolboxes. You can give basic multi-head screwdrivers, pliers, or knob drivers (among many other basics). Move up the promotional tools range and you can give advanced 25-piece toolkits, survival tools, and even ultra-handy pocket tools like this one from Shelton or this 4-in-1 tool keychain.

 25-Piece Tool Kit
The kit includes all sockets, screwdriver bits, allen keys, wrenches, tape measure, and pliers and extension bars, and many other tooling essentials.

Promo tools are the little well-oiled promotional gears that have the power to increase your business’ revenues substantially. Many managers are now dropping big ideas like ‘revolutionary’ business models or mega-mergers in favor of simpler, cumulatively effective tactics such as this. If promo items were not effective, why do you think the multinationals spend over $15 billion a year on them?

The bottom line: useful promo items such as tools work, and work wonders. Focus your energy on finding the right item for your market. Tools work best for male-oriented industries, but you would be surprised how many women appreciate receiving tools, too. In fact, a good number of them use screwdrivers as levers to open cans :)

- Josh

Back to basics

Credit it to the hip-ness of caffeine or plain old usefulness. Whatever the reason, mugs are still one of the top-selling promotional products. Here at rushIMPRINT alone, we sold a record number of mugs in the last 3 months!

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Some of our best-sellers

The trend is not exclusive to our industry. Even gourmet retailers are experiencing the same drift. Sales of mugs have been increasing by at least 1.9 percent every year since 2003, followed closely by sales of espresso and cappuccino makers, which grow at about 1.8 percent yearly.

What is it about mugs that have people hording them like crazy? The answer is versatility, more than anything. Homes and offices across America use mugs for almost every conceivable purpose – for coffee, for cold beer, for serving ice cream, for holding pens, and even as flower pots.

Do the math and you’ll find that mugs are among the most sensible promo items to give out to clients and potential customers:

1. They’re reusable, so your logo and message can be seen a hundred-fold.
2. They’re also affordable – for less than the price of a Happy Meal, you can already leave a long, lasting impression.
3. And best of all, they’re tough. Quality tempered mugs almost never break, so your logo stays intact for years (and are even passed on).

It’s no wonder that the last couple of months have been all about mugs. In fact I have to go now, because last week’s client reordered another shipment, deliverable by tomorrow. I’ll probably need my favorite. Pour the coffee – I’m pulling an all-nighter.

- Josh

Cheap promo items as premiums

So powerful are promo items that they work for consumers of all ages – even to kids, or especially to kids. I was surfing for marketing data when I came across a new bit about the Japanese Nintendo Club’s successful and inexpensive promotional tactic last year, considered one of the best in their industry.

Their attack was simple enough – they gave some nine thousand mobile phone straps (similar to this) to the lucky kids who buy their Final Fantasy game and register its serial number in their website.

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Photo from Hahacat
The actual straps are inspired by the game’s characters – the black, white, and red sorcerer

The simple marketing plan worked, proving that even cheaper promotional items can be used as premiums if your audience wants them bad enough. The sales of Nintendo’s version of Final Fantasy hit all-time highs – almost as high as their Pokémon Silver and Pokémon Gold games, which, incidentally, also used promotional items to gain worldwide popularity.

This only goes to show that promotional items never have to be too expensive to work. They can be worth a dollar and still triple your sales. That sure gives meaning to ‘bang for your buck.’


Selecting the right promo item

Last Monday I met with a new client – a representative of a local university. She was a very cheerful lady but had no marketing background, and was completely in the dark about what promo item to choose. At the top of her list were magnets – she wanted ‘refrigerator magnets’ with her university’s logo, and she wanted the enrollment and inquiry trunk line imprinted, too.

I could understand where she was coming from. Magnets are, after all, among the cheapest promo items, and at roughly $0.56 each, they fall right within her budget. But when I asked her what exactly she wishes to accomplish with these magnets, she answered, ‘to promote ourselves to high school seniors so that they would consider us for college.’

RED ALERT. The common mistake people make when choosing promo items is choosing in terms of price. The cheapest is not always the most effective. In this case, for example, the magnets will only stay in the student’s refrigerators at home (if it even makes it there), where they can sit idle with no promotional leverage. These magnets will fail miserably at spreading the word among other students.

I ended up talking get into buying rulers and pens instead.

 Translucent Colored Rulers

For few more cents, she could really promote the school. Students can use their pens and rulers in class and tell their friends, “This school is where I’m going to for college.”

Now that is efficient promotion for less than $1 each.

- Josh

Shoe horns

The shoe horn may be reclaiming its glory, and may quickly become as indispensable as a hairbrush or comb. That’s right – these little plastic scoops are making their way back into shoe cabinets, and quickly.

Shoe horns are another nice idea of a promotional item

Shoe horns are not readily available in shoe stores these days, so people who receive them as promo items keep and cherish them almost as much as they cherish a nice sweater or a fleece blanket. People find it so much easier to ease a dress shoe on to their feet with a shoe horn. Many seniors, especially, say that these devices make putting on shoes easier.

How does it work? The handle lets a person put on footwear without bending. The blade of the shoe horn is pressed firmly against the inside back of the shoe. This enables the wearer to easily slide his or her feet into the shoe, toe first and then heel. The shoe horn is then slipped out from between the heel and the shoe. It is especially helpful for breaking in new shoes or getting into custom-made fitted pairs.

This probably explains why a lot of first-rate hotels and inns give them as complimentary gifts to customers, and why many of the companies we work with – especially those with a lot of clients within the 45 and up age group – are ordering them by bulk. Shoe horns make high impact because they are unexpected, unique, and very useful. Give them to your clients, and they will remember you every time they put on their shoes – which is, well, everyday.

- Jen