Spending on Chotchkes Hits Record High

Marketing Daily reports that industry revenues for "advertising specialties" reached $19.6 billion in 2007, up 5.4% from 2006 and a new record. What is a little crazy is that the spending was 83% greater than radio advertising, 73% greater than Internet display ads and nearly five times larger than outdoor advertising for the same period.

Some may call them advertising specialties, some may call them promotional products, I call them chotchkes. They are items and incentives branded with a company logo or marketing message. I typically am not a huge fan of these types of items, mostly because they typically are wastes of money. That's not to say all promotional items are a waste, but what I think many people fail to look at is whether the items they want to give away accomplish a business/marketing goal.

Think of it this way. You're basically giving $1 bills away each time you hand something out, so shouldn't you be thinking about whether that item has the potential to get you $2 in return? The answer is yes.

So when I'm looking at promotional items, I look at two criteria. One, does the item itself, both what it is and its quality, match your company's brand? Two, does the item have lasting value. In other words, is it something that the recipient will use, will it last, will they see the logo (this is an advertising medium after all, by the way).

For example, I have a client with an online service for homeowners and contractors (Buildproof). When we exhibit at events, we have three promotional items: branded carpenter pencils, coffee mugs, and stickers. The pencils make sense for the brand (home remodeling & construction), and the target audience will use them (exposure). The mugs, same thing, nice coffee mugs will sit on people's desks or work areas, making a mini-billboard for the company. The stickers, stickers are, in my opinion, maybe the best chotchke around. You stick that somewhere (in this case on your bumper, which many contractors do), and you have a nearly permanent billboard for your company.

Here are two short lists of the good and the bad promotional items in my mind:

  • Flash drive (decent but expensive, and don't expect anyone to look at the files you load on it)
  • Candy or most anything edible (unless its your own product)
  • Stress balls
  • Bottled water
  • Puzzles
  • Stuffed animals

From Nina M. Lentini, Marketing Daily and The Advertisinmg Specialty Institute; Image from OneStopPromos

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