Focus on Your Audience for Cost-Effective Marketing

by Barry and Ellen of Aim Group Two Promotional Products

Job #1 in communication is knowing WHO your audience is. And when you give someone a customized item to help promote your organization or spread the word about your message, you’re communicating!

Connect with Current & Prospective Buyers

Think about the people who buy what you sell. Some buy a lot, others buy a little… some buy higher-priced items, others shop your sales… Your first step before investing in any personalized promotional item is to define a few categories of audiences according to their buying behavior, value, needs or interests, being on the lookout for the areas of overlap.

[FYI: The broader the target audience, the more difficult it is to push an individual buyer’s hot button and prompt their action — that’s why “mass” efforts tend to be more about generating awareness or name recognition, and less about direct sales. Many of our customers start broad so they increase their name recognition, choosing notepads, magnets, pens or pencils to keep their name popping up repeatedly at a low cost per item (and even lower cost per “impression”). Make this personalized item promote you even more cost-effectively by adding your URL or phone number.]

1. Which customers contribute most to boosting your profits?

Think beyond clever trinkets — what would positively reinforce the impression they have of you? What will they enjoy using often — helping you with brand awareness?

One customer who had a consulting business determined that people who signed up for an annual package were the most profitable; after some discussion and research, she ended up selecting personalized keychain lights. She received many thank you’s from customers who liked the ease of opening their doors in the dark — and who also mentioned that seeing her logo reminded them that they had her “homework” to do!

This is one of the most important points in choosing a cost-effective promotional item: choose an item that people will want to keep and enjoy using.

2. What sorts of things do your biggest buyers buy first?

Consider promotional items that dovetail with the types of items they look for early on in their life cycle with you.

A car repair facility, for instance, noted that many people try them out for an oil change and then if they’re happy and comfortable come back for more-major repairs. In addition to great service at a fair price, and a peel-off sticker for their window that reminds them of when they should come back. They hand out a convenient “things to-do pad” customers can stick on their refrigerator — one that also has a magnet with his business card on it. After 50 notes, the magnet stays on the fridge… and it’s usually nearing time for the next oil change — or a tune-up!

3. How can you help “influencers” help you?

The people who prompt or guide buying decisions — e.g., networking referral partners, staffers who complain (oops: make requests) to the company buying agent, spouses who drop hints, or kids who plead with the persuasive persistence of future trial lawyers — may also play a role in your prospects’ buying cycle, so it often pays to invest in a promotional item that supports their efforts. You might want to keep it simple, like a magnet or notepad, or invest just a little more like giving calculators to accountants who are good referral partners, reusable shopping or tote bags for “consumer” businesses, or mugs (used effectively by a new local church so members can help spread the word). Every organization is a little different, so the best place to start for this audience is to think about whether you’ll be better off influencing them, or making it easier for them to influence someone else… or both.

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