Mistakes to Avoid with Promotional Marketing

Trade Show

Promotional products can either be a success, or they can fail miserably. And, very often, promoters find themselves too caught up in the daily rush of trying to make a profit and satisfy customers to take a moment to analyze the reasons their promotions are not always successful. Here are a few things to avoid doing when planning and executing a promotion.

Ineffective Distribution

Far too many times, distribution plans are not followed or fully completed. For instance, you order 200 calendars every year to give to your best customers but somehow those calendars never manage to find their way to those customers.

Maybe your support person neglected to notice all those calendars gathering dust in the storage room. Or, maybe, your salespeople forget to grab some on their way out the door to distribute them.

Regardless what the reason may be, you end up with an extra 75 calendars in a box at the end of March, which is a waste of time, money and resources. And the issue can be easily avoided by planning well in advance and following through.

Not Allowing Enough Lead Time

Effective promotional products companies can turn around an order very quickly these days—typically within two weeks, and sometimes within a few days if it’s a stocked item. However, don’t make the mistake of betting your whole promotion on it.

It’s much more ideal, and a whole lot less risky, to start your research and planning 90-120 days before an event. Here’s why:

  • First, if you are a high-quantity buyer, you may be able to save a lot of money by having your vendor source your product directly from an overseas factory. However, this means you will need to give them a 90-100 day lead time.
  • Second, you need to account for the very strong possibility that not everything will go as smoothly as planned. For instance, your company’s artwork may need to be redesigned to properly fit on some of the items. If you allow for several weeks of back and forth, you will give yourself plenty of time to ensure everything is done right.

Ignoring What People May Want to Receive

Don’t be a creature of habit. Just because you’ve always given out a specific promotion product in the past, doesn’t mean that those items will always be your best promotion product spend.

When was the last time your asked your loyal customers or employees what they would like to receive? Some business owners fall into the trap of saying, “But that is what I like to give out,” when their real goals should be to attain better customer response and to increase sales.

Not Having Clear Goals for the Product or Promotion

While promotional products can certainly boost excitement, you still need to ensure they also do what you intend for them to do. Therefore, clearly defining your expectations will make sure that you will know how successful your promotion actually is.

For instance, if your goal was to drive traffic to your booth, did you clearly outline, ahead of time what volume of traffic you would consider great and the volume you would consider just OK? If your goal was to attract new customers, did you have a specific target number in mind?

If used correctly, promotional products can be very valuable tools. Avoid making the mistake of trying to cut wood with a hammer and ending up disappointed with the results.

Focusing Only on Price

Keep in mind that promotional products are your ambassadors to the world. The items you decided to hand out at a trade show or in person to your loyal customers will become their lasting impression of your business. Your company will not be remembered fondly if the product falls apart or the pens you’ve given stop writing after tow days, for instance.

Handing out cheap products is sometimes worse than giving out nothing at all. Don’t be cheap. That extra $200 could make the difference between a promotion’s success and its failure.

Giving to the Wrong People

Everyone loves to give out interesting and cool promotional items. However, remember that the purpose of those items is to appeal to current and prospective customers, and to entice those customers to drive your business to the next level. Don’t select items that appeal only to people outside of your target market.

Ineffective Information

While the promotional product is important to the recipient, what is more important to you is that your business’s name and information be imprinted for all to see. It is ideal for that imprint to clearly inform your customers how they can buy something from you.

Many companies will list their business name, address and phone number. Some will also include their logo, slogan or some kind of artwork. However, most promotional items are short on space, restricting the amount of information you can display, so you need to make every line count

For instance, why list your phone number if you would really prefer that the customer go to your website? Does your slogan make sense to someone who is unfamiliar with your business? If you choose to only display your logo, how will your customers know how to contact you? Is everything clear and easy to read? Think about the information you are displaying.

And most importantly, checking the proof that receive from your promotional products vendor carefully will make sure there’s no mistakes. One wrong digit in the phone number can kill your promotion.

Not Dealing With a Reputable Company

There are thousands of promotional products companies in the marketplace today. If you search online, you can literally spend days searching sites for deals. However, consider a company’s credentials when you make your choice. Make sure to do a little research, and find out whether the company has a time-tested positive reputation.

While a large number of promotional products companies are extremely price-competitive, they aren’t invested in quality or customer service. Many don’t even have a customer service department.

An important thing to know is whether the company does its own imprinting and whether it has a good quality-control process. Also, find out whether you will get a real person on the other end of the phone if you have a problem with your order. A little research beforehand can go a long way toward ensuring your promotion is a success.


Proper branding will ensure that you company name and logo gets out there. Here at Awards and More we can customize your promotional products with company logos, personalized messages, images and more to ensure your next promotion is a success! Contact us with the link below to get started on your next trade show promotional product!

This entry was posted in Advertising, Promotional Products, Trade Show and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *