Rising from the ashes...
Start: The Rising (Part 1) - Introduction
Previous: The Rising (Part 19) - Banks & Credit Cards
Current: The Rising (Part 20) - Marketing Giveaway
Next: The Rising (Part 21) - Delay Incorporation & Expenses

It has been four months since I started this series.
I find myself procrastinating both on my business efforts as well as posting my progress. So, here I am pushing through...

I've made some progress with my site selection; but, I will delay updates for another posting. In the mean time I will go over marketing give away campaign.

A few days ago I had an opportunity to attend Promotional Products Association International expo, which is the largest event in the US. The event is intended for marketing agencies and larger organizations; so, this was a great opportunity for me to learn where the heavy-hitters go.

PPAI Expo brought more than 12,000 distributors from more than 4,500 companies together under one roof for the five-day event.The PPAI Expo features more than 1,200 exhibiting companies showcasing more than a quarter million products over 1,000,000

There is certainly no shortage of products that you can brand, which can range from cents to hundreds of dollars. I didn't look at the premium products, and you can see many PPAI images on google; but, here are a few giveaway pic ideas

24863355107_d8f82f717b_m.jpg 39701507682_dfce38e616_m.jpg 39701498592_e7d3c28de6_m.jpg 39701511712_881a3dfa77_m.jpg 25860899388_0860f69778_m.jpg 39701397182_3bec2bcfb7_m.jpg 25861020208_82ea8ff61d_m.jpg 39733013111_ba7dae0503_m.jpg

Incidentally, I think compressed t shirts is one of the cool giveaway; here are some t shirt shapes examples

Below pic showcases list of sample of giveaway products that I collected while walking around:


My primary focus is in education so, I skipped pass many exhibitors; but, I still was unable to cover 1/3 of the space.

Before going further, you may want to review my previous post on marketing giveaway.

My initial goal was to learn more about promotional giveaway; but, my presence made me realize that I was shortsighted with my branding. For example, I hadn't thought about having branded balloons for events, notepads, rulers, staplers, calendars, b-day cards, pens, toys. And no, it does not cost that much more; and it may even cost less!

BTW, while walking around I came across a credit card payment gateway vendor, that offered 0.25% markup on top of the interchange rate as appose to my previous finding of 0.3%. My projected annual gross is $600,000; so, a 0.05% difference can mean $300 savings, which will indirectly pay for this trip :)

Now I want to shift my focus on two related topics, which include:

  • Promotional Giveaway Delivery
  • Personalization of Giveaway
Above two points are discussed on the following threads due to posting constraints.
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Promotional Giveaway Delivery

I'll start by talking about my thought process for promotional give-away; but, first let me share the quote from the earlier posting:
...promotional products have a lower cost per impression in the United States than prime-time television advertising, national magazine advertising and newspaper ads, and a similar CPI to radio and Internet advertising...

With this in mind, I thought what better way to get brand impression than giving a branded care-package to my customers. Below is a list of items that I was considering to provide; but, you'll want to review my marketing giveaway posting to understand the rational for these specific items.

Mom & Dad
  • Family handbag
  • Family phone charger
  • Family calendar
  • Parent’s guide foldout
    • How to help your child
    • Check status online
    • Contact us
    • Rescheduling
    • Cancellation
  • Mom t-shirt
  • Dad t-shirt
  • Mom Pen
  • Dad Pen
  • Discount card to partners
  • Water bottle
  • T-Shirt
  • Leather or laminated planner
  • Notepad
  • Led Pen
  • Multi-color pen
  • Highlighter
  • Small ruler
  • USB + Fidget spinner
  • Stress ball
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at above items to say that it is too much; yet, I argued against this point quoting the importance of brand impression from earlier.
What's worse is that I already know the importance of managing cashflow; but, here I was demonstrating how a fool and his money are soon parted (Proverbs 21:20 of the King James)

While researching more, I was reminded that data-driven marketing dictates that we need to track the effect of every marketing campaign. While I'm on the topic, I like to share the marketing budget distribution of top performers according to the above resource:
Definitions of each section follows:
  • Demand generation marketing. These are marketing activities to drive revenues in a relatively short time period after the marketing campaign. Examples are sales, coupons, and events
  • Branding and awareness. These marketing activities drive awareness and can include sports sponsorship, naming rights, to events or properties, and advertising (TV, print Web, or e-mail) designed specifically for awareness, not to promote an upcoming sale.
  • Customer relationship. This marketing focuses on creating a personal link to the customer that drives loyalty and engagement. Examples might be thank-you notes after a purchase and loyalty programs such as concierge shopping services.
  • Shaping markets. These marketing activities are designed to make market receptive to your products or services, often through independent third-party recommendations. Examples include analyst relationships for B2B firms and social media blogging to influence perceptions.
  • Infrastructure. These investments are in technology and training to support the marketing team. Example technology investment include EDW, analytics and marketing resources management software that supports data-driven marketing.
This is great template in regards to better understanding how to allocate marketing budget.

Okay, so my monster give-away list was falling under customer relationship management; but, it is probably not the most effective with branding awareness. Additionally, I didn't think about measuring the effectiveness of giveaway. With the understanding that I need to assess the effectiveness of a campaign (i.e. leads generated), I'm going to delay this topic for more brain storming and closer to execution time/plan.
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Personalization of Giveaway
Branding our products is the first step; but, how can we insure that an individual will hold to our give-away longer; thereby providing free brand impression?
The answer is personalization. I can't find supporting research; but, I am confident that personalized products are more valuable to consumers. For example, you are more likely to hold-on to a branded pen with your name on it, then other pens.

To that extent, I want everyone of my promotional item to have my customer/client name on it.

Many vendors provide an option called variable data, which can be used for personalization. These vendors require you to provide an list (say excel file) to deliver a branded and personalized product. This is great for registered or existing clients; but, it is difficult to implement it for new customers; every order requires a certain degree of setup, which means that ordering in low quantities is not economical. Though I suspect there are vendors that can deliver specific personalized branded product for low quantity orders (i.e. one or two items at a time), I didn't find any during my PPAI walk-through. Furthermore, we will incur additional shipping charges.

So, what's the solutions for coming up with personalized items?
The answer might be as easy as going to a local print or design shop, where they can expedite your order. Alternatively, you may need to invest in a few equipment to provide the personalized touch.

So, lets explore a few ways we can provide personalized item...

I think the easiest items that I've come across is printing a design on your printer and then rolled-it-up into a pen with a transparent shell. Here is a video showing stuffing paper into pen for branding.

For next options, it might make sense to order a large number of items already branded, and you add the personal touch.

Next options is called screen printing, which involves creating a mask template and coloring through the mesh screen.
This process might be a little messy; but, here is an example DIY screen printing example. I found this small-scale screen print instruction interesting.
But, we are just interested in putting a personalized name; not, running a full screen-printing business.

A simpler option might be cut a mask for the personalized name and then paint the names on the product. Here is a video example for coloring t-shirt.

However, unlike the above video, I rather use a Silhouette machine to help cut-out my masks.

I think the silhouette machine with a brush paint might be one of the best options; but, I haven't tried it.

Another option is Sublimation, which involves heat-press a printed design on target item, which include glass, plastic, ceramic mugs, coasters, polyester shirt, etc.
We can get one of these items machines for couple hundred dollars from ebay (or pen version)


Another option is to laser engraving, which can be used on plaques, wood, plastic. I especially like the idea of laser engraving a name on-to a light-up pen. Again, we can get low-cost laser engraver from ebay.

I also contemplate leather cover student planner giveaway; but, didn't like the idea of screen printing on leather. Instead, I learned that we can use letter metal stamp and press to imprint onto leather. Here is video of name stamping on leather; but, if you want better quality, you might want to heat it up. Incidentally, we can get a stamp for our brand by googling brass cnc log stamp. We can also glue-on a small beveled plague that has the name engraved.

What I'm proposing will not make sense for lots of businesses; but, it can be a cost-effective differentiator for low-volume service-oriented companies that want to provide a personal touch and want to have a long lasting impression of their brand logo. To be honest, I'm not sure how much of this I'm going to implement, which is why the series is in the planning section. Also, remember that this is my journey; so, you have the opportunity evaluate and critique my future success/failure.
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