Striking a balance between what recipients would like and what works well for BostonCoach are the criteria behind the company’s choice of client giveaway items. Says Lisa Allen, senior vice president, marketing, “When deciding on merchandise we ask ourselves, ‘What do people enjoy getting and using?’ The answer varies. Clients who are road warriors may prefer an item that helps keep them sane and stay organized while traveling. Clients who are more office-bound may be more interested in desk accessories.” According to Allen, a simple rule of thumb when it comes to choosing merchandise is to ask yourself if you’d like to have the item you’re considering. “If you wouldn’t use it, or if you question its quality, chances are whomever you’re planning to give it to will do the same,” she says, “so keep looking.”
Allen says BostonCoach also looks at what works well from a corporate perspective, which means deciding on an item that reflects the company’s brand and one that relates to the industry. “We look for quality items that help build and reinforce awareness of BostonCoach,” she says. An example of this is a tchotchke with the company’s name and logo on it. “It can also serve as a reminder to think of us or contact us, especially if our phone number or Web address is on it,” says Allen.
“Make sure to keep your budget in mind, though, when ordering merchandise,” she warns. “It’s easy to spend lots of money on different tchotchkes and say ‘yes’ to all types of requests within your company. But you have to set some limits and criteria for what you’re buying, otherwise you’ll end up with merchandise you don’t need or that nobody wants.”
Allen admits that even vendors will occasionally pitch a new idea or come up with a new product that catches her eye. “When this happens, we place a small order to sample reaction,” she says.
BostonCoach’s logo merchandise ranges from pens and Post-It notes that cost pennies to higher-end items such as travel clocks and apparel that ranges in double-digit dollars.
“Presenting a promotional item when meeting someone or thanking him or her for a meeting or for their business is a thoughtful, considerate gesture,” adds Allen. “No matter what type of industry you’re in, we all deal with people, and they appreciate others doing something nice or unexpected for them.”
As for which of the company’s clients receive what items, Allen says it depends on the person. “Travel clocks are a big hit with travel managers while portfolios and nice pens resonate well with executives,” she says. “The trick is to give clients something they’ll use and find helpful because no one needs more clutter in their office.” BostonCoach maintains an inventory of its promotional items and relies on the good judgment of its sales executives and personnel to make the appropriate decision about what to give whom and when.
Whatever the reason for handing them out, promotional items serve two very important purposes: they market your business and they acknowledge clients.