Operations

Making Your Company Stand Out

LCT Staff
Posted on November 1, 2004

“I like chachkis,” says Gary Day, president of American Limousines in Baltimore. Whenever he or his sales team make visits to clients, they always leave a chachkis (freebie) behind.

This holiday season, Day has decided that for all his company’s corporate clients, he will give a “Multi Desk Organizer” from Top-U.S.A. Corp. in Worthington, Ohio. The freebie features his company logo and phone number on it.

Not only does the chachki hold desk supplies, but it also has a large digital read-out of the time, date and temperature.

“The goal is to take it out of the box and place it on people’s desks,” Day says. “It’s just another way for people to think about you. My company’s name and phone number will be on clients’ desks. Every time they go for a pen, they’ll think of me.”

Each set costs about $5.60 and Day plans to order 500 of them. He and his sales team will visit corporate clients to deliver the gifts while thanking them for their business.

“I think with marketing, one of the keys is to always be like a sales person,” he says. “People forget you unless you are unique.”

Day is always coming up with new ideas for promotional items.

In the past, he’s handed out $10 clocks. The goal was to get them to switch the clients’ old clocks with the new ones. His company’s name and logo were imprinted on the clocks and he attached a note saying, “Thanks for doing business with us. Keep us hanging around.”

On nearly every sales call, Day’s team will leave bags of candy behind. These are a great hit, Day says. “Everybody loves candy.”

He’s also done “bug catchers” filled with candy. Each bug catcher costs about $3, and attached to it is a note that says, “Thanks for letting us bug you about our business.”

He began his promotional marketing about eight years ago after attending bridal and other shows, when he noticed vendors always gave things to potential clients as they passed by.

“I think it helps to break the ice with people,” Day says. “You give them something that makes you different from somebody else. The return investment is very good.”

You need to spend money to make sure that people know your name, he emphasizes. About 6 percent to 8 percent of your budget is supposed to be for advertising and these promotional items are part of the advertising budget, he says. Every three to four months he looks at new items.

Day and his sales team always have pens and candy on hand to give out, but when they are at meetings, especially ones where they’re trying to get new clients, they will give out more special things, like the bug catchers. Perhaps it takes a bug catcher to catch new business.

“We’re always giving something out,” Day adds. “The thing is that once you start, people expect you to continue doing it.”

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