When I was first introduced to selling promotional products, I met with a manager that was teaching me the finer points of value in branded merchandise. At the time, he was talking about calendars, but his words ring true with me nearly every day in the business. “The price of a calendar is not determined at the point of purchase,” he said. He waited a few beats while that statement sunk in. Then he continued. “The price of a calendar is determined at the point of use.”
I raised my eyebrow to try and understand what he meant, and he went on.
“You see, so many people make their initial purchasing decisions based simply on price. But they don’t consider the weight of the paper. If they use cheap paper the calendar will not hang properly on the wall. If the imprint does not look good, the story will not be told the way the customer wants. But if they invest in a quality calendar, then it will get used…and that is the point!”
His point was simple. “If you buy 100 calendars at $5, and all of these get hung on the wall, they have spent $5 per calendar. But if the customer ignores the quality and buys 500 $1 calendars, and then only 1 gets hung on the wall, they have purchased 1 $500 calendar!”
The price of the piece is not determined at the point of purchase, but at the point of use.
While the story I tell here has to do with calendars (and still rings true) the lesson is still true across all kinds of items in the branded merchandise industry. You can nearly always get a “cheaper t-shirt,” but is it the kind of t-shirt your customers and prospects will actually want to wear? If not, that “cheap t-shirts” might end up at Goodwill. (I talk about pricing t-shirts here). Yes, you can get a “cheap coffee mug,” but I think that is the wrong question. If you want your branding message to spread, you need to look for someone’s “favorite coffee mug.” That item will get used every day.
You get the idea.
If you want to create a meaningful promotion that has staying power, think of how your branded piece will be used. Consider what your prospect might not only like, but want to use every day. When you create their “favorite” t-shirt, calendar or coffee mug, you get branding that has the power to last a lifetime.
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