5 Easy Steps that will Guarantee Results for Your Promotional Efforts
Follow this simple 5 step process whenever you invest your precious time and promotions, or incentive program dollars. If used properly, promotional products are a powerful and effective medium to help your company achieve goals.
Too often, however, the investment is wasted when people are seduced by the “shiny” product or a “latest and hottest” product presentation. Starting the process with product is usually a mistake. Creating an effective program goes beyond simply choosing a product. Products don't achieve objectives. Well-constructed programs do. Creatively packaged and imprinted products aligned with the right theme, message, marketing plan, and with measurements in place achieve objectives.
When putting together a promotional or incentive program, work backward from your objective. Don’t begin with product as most do. Consider following these 5 easy steps:
1. Analyze sales, marketing or human resources needs and define the specific objectives. Determine what you want to accomplish or what the desired result of the campaign is; for example, "If the company can reduce shipping mistakes by 25 percent, it saves them $10,000” or, “if the company sells X number of units of a certain product, service, or project, it will result in X number of net margin dollars." Establishing the objective enables you establish your budget and assess the program at its conclusion. The only way to evaluate the program at it’s conclusion is to know what the goals were in the first place.
2. Establish a budget.
Working backward from the desired goals and objectives helps determine the economics of the program; what the program will cost and what it may yield. Because the costs for promotional products vary-from a simple, inexpensive logo’d product to an elaborate personalized gift, this is necessary at the beginning of the process. How many items are involved? How will the items be distributed? What are ideal order quantities? Keep inventories as low as economically and logistically possible.
3. Design the program.
Quite a few activities go along with designing the program. Establishing a theme gives the promotion a focus and ensures all the elements, such as the graphics, printed materials, products and packaging, are consistent and work well together. The products chosen also should relate to and support the theme. Hold brainstorming sessions with the staff. Sit down and throw a bunch of ideas down on paper. By process of this creative exchange come up with the concepts that best meet the desired goals.
4. Plan how the products will be distributed.
Will the product be mailed or hand delivered? How will you store and distribute the items? Some products are too bulky and impractical to mail. Packaging and freight could exceed the cost of the product.
5. Analyze the results.
One of the most important final steps-after completing a program is to look at the results. Track the data. Were the predetermined goals and objectives met? What was the ROI? What can be learned to make the next project better? Tweak the program for your next program for continued improvement.
In addition to following the 5 steps listed, the services of a professional promotions consultant will help you ensure good results. If your consultant has a CAS (certified advertising specialist) or MAS (master advertising specialist) designation from PPAI, (Promotional Products Association International) the primary, non-profit industry trade association, they have achieved levels of required CEUs and have passed required tests that prove their industry knowledge. It shows a commitment to their business and to their clients. Consultants who have achieved a CAS and MAS are required to earn continuing CEUs annually. These consultants attend seminars and trade shows, during the year that keep them up to date on the latest technology and products.
Contact me if you would like a free consultation to get more from your sales promotions and employee incentives.