promotional marketing

Author: Kemba Johnson

What you would give to a client, you should always give to yourself first.

I’m standing in a Mexican supermarket choosing pastries called besos, empanadas de crema and tabasqueños. No, I wasn’t grocery shopping (well, maybe a little), I was working.

New Thought Marketing was putting together a Cinco de Mayo gift box for clients. And we wanted to include some delicious Mexican pastries. If the boxes were long enough I’d just include the churros from my favorite stand and call it a day… after I tested them one more time of course.

But the box wasn’t long enough. So there I was on my grand pastry expedition. The first sweets I tried were frankly just okay. If I got these in a box, I’d think the idea was cool, but I wouldn’t be excited.

Off to the next place where the empanadas were soft, fresh and delicious, with a light dusting of sugar on top. Perfect. Two bakeries and six pastry tastings: It was a difficult job, but someone had to do it.

So the moral of the story (and yes there is one) is test your marketing promotions in order to give away value. It may be just a 10-cent pen. But if it has your name on it, it represents your brand. So it had better be a good pen, one that you’d like someone to give to you, not one that you have to shake to get to work (don’t you hate that).

At New Thought Marketing, we will often take a client to a promotional items showroom. Not only does this allow our clients to discover new promotional ideas, it allows them to test the quality. As much as you can, try to think about what a customer would be excited to receive, instead of what you are willing to give away.

Sometimes the answer will surprise you… and can actually be cheaper. For example, a major long distance company (I leave which one to your imagination) was offering 30 free minutes, 60 free minutes or a free long distance call of any length to new calling card customers.

Not only did the free long distance call win more new customers, it was also the cheapest, costing about $2.95 on average vs $11.50 for the 60 free minutes and $5.75 for the 30 free minutes. Without testing or putting themselves in the customers’ shoes, the company would have lost potential new customers.

Which one would you have chosen? Think about it: What is 30 minutes or even 60 minutes worth to you? It’s a little too nebulous to wrap your mind around. But a free long distance call…well, that’s a free call to your mother to say everything you need to say. And it doesn’t matter how long it takes. A conversion is ultimately more valuable than free minutes.

In the end, I hope our clients found the pasties delicious…I know I did. Too bad I didn’t have the pleasure of searching for the perfect margarita mix!