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Counselor Commentary: Get Interactive

(3/20/2014)

This month’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, TX, pointed out a clear tenet of marketing today: The closer you can get to your target audience, the better off you’ll be. Successful marketing these days is often based on how many people you can get to interact with your brand, and as a result, become advocates for the products or services that you sell. Word-of-mouth has become king, and many companies are using promotional products to help make it happen.

Take Hotels.com for example. The online travel company turned a common problem at the SXSW festival (long waits in lines) into a savvy marketing program. Hotels.com employed people – fully decked out in t-shirts and caps with the company’s logo clearly visible – to serve as line waiters for festival attendees. All you had to do was send a Tweet mentioning Hotels.com and one of the company’s street reps at the festival would then stand in line for you for a half hour. (Watch a SXSW video featuring Hotels.com reps and other end-buyers here.

Not only did the company successfully engage with attendees in a unique and memorable way, but it also created instant fans of the brand in social media. And, really, that’s the goal of marketing today – to connect with a specific target audience and then have that audience share information on your behalf. While marketing used to be about running ads to get leads or build brand awareness, it has loftier goals today. Now, it needs to create positive experiences, engage with audiences in close ways, and encourage fans to spread the word to their connections.

That’s exactly where promotional products can help to enhance companies’ marketing strategies. Distributors today should be talking to clients about ways to really engage with their target customers. The companies should be running campaigns incorporating promotional items because they help to create lasting impressions – not just one-time views. In fact, the ASI Global Ad Specialties Impressions Study shows that 86% of people in the United States who have received a promotional product remember the advertiser with a logo or message imprinted on the item.

For emphasis: The intended goal of a promo product works nearly 90% of the time. People remember ad specialties. They engage with the items, and they often have a positive experience because of the products. It’s exactly where marketing is headed. Take advantage of it now.



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