Creative Lounge

7 Steps to Running Successful Promotional Programs

For almost four decades, we have worked closely with thousands of customers in dozens of industries. Despite their differences, adform customers have used a similar approach to planning creative, impactful and effective marketing promotional programs. To help you do the same, we have distilled this approach down to seven, simple steps:

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• Brainstorm With Your Vendor 
You don't have to be an expert on the latest and greatest in the world of promotional items. It’s a fast-paced, fickle industry! Instead, leverage the experience of your vendor partner. Tell the graphics team, account manager, creative consultant what you are trying to do, overall—your program objectives. Get them to brainstorm and bring promotional ideas to the table. 

• Find Unique Items 
Of course, the promotional items you choose must stand out. Nobody needs another stress ball. Strive to find unique items that highlight the unique qualities of your organization.  Make it memorable!

• Focus on the Customer Experience 
After you have found unique items, it’s time to focus on promotional branding and creating a special customer experience. The thought you put into the presentation and promotional packaging will make your program memorable and enhance your company brand. 

• Go Value Shopping 
Of course, everyone wants the best price on whatever they buy. But, cheap items can put your program in jeopardy. In our post
The True Cost of low Cost we highlight how cheap promotional products can actually cost you more, in the end. Instead of price shopping go value shopping to find the right balance between price, on-time delivery, ease of doing business, quality of product, creativity, specialty fulfillment, and more.

• Make the Promotion Relevant 
Make the extra effort to tie-in your marketing promotion with an event, campaign or theme. Relevance can come from the item itself and how it’s used. It can come from the messaging on the item or packaging, too. The extra effort will be appreciated and your promotion program mix will be memorable.

• Anticipate Logistics 
Don't get in a pinch at the last minute. Plan ahead for delivery. Will you need drop-shipments to multiple locations? Will you need inventory held and released in small batches? Plan ahead to make sure your partner provides specialty fulfillment. This gives you flexibility in getting items to the right place at the right time. 

• Be Ready 
As soon as you get the green light on your proposal, you know what will happen next... Your company will want the program implemented yesterday. So, before you make your pitch, make sure your vendor can hit the ground running. Can they brainstorm ideas? Propose different promo items? Deliver on time and drop-ship to different locations? Make sure your vendor can do what you need beforehand!

That’s it! Almost 40 years of experience squeezed into a blog post—our version of a CliffsNotes study guide for promotional marketing.  We hope these seven steps will make your next tradeshow exhibition, company kickoff, or end-of-year employee appreciation program a success!

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