The world is a picky place. “I love this. I hate that. Could you make it 4% smaller and 11% more awesome?” Choosing the perfect promotional product for your next event or giveaway can feel like running through the American Gladiator gauntlet. Bam. Whap. Arrrrgggh.
Did you know there are over 750,000 promotional products available in the United States today? Throw in custom possibilities and that number becomes even more insane. While it’s great to have so many options, it can also be overwhelming. How do you whittle it down to THE perfect item that aligns with your brand message?
While we don’t have a crystal ball that reveals All The Answers Great and Small, we do have a few suggestions for peeking behind the curtain of your customer’s lives and seeing what makes them happy. (Because every piece of swag you give to your crowd should make them shout, “I love this!”)
Grab a piece of paper… go ahead, we’ll wait… and write down everything you know about your customer: age, gender, occupation, hobbies, etc. Describe their day. Their car. Their wardrobe. Their browser history.
See the world through their eyes. What are their toughest questions? What’s the favorite part of their day or week? What are their dreams and goals? What do they care about? How would they fill in the blank “I just want________” ?
Let’s say your target audience is working mothers. Their frenetic mornings involve sweeping rogue Cheerios off the kitchen counter and putting on mascara at stop lights. When you dig deeper into their lives, you discover they “just want a moment of zen each day.”
How can you help with that? What one thing can you give her that would make her day better? We love the idea of a tumbler that never leaks and keeps coffee piping hot all day long. The flip lid is easy to use while driving. Imagine her delight when she takes a sip from her tumbler at 11:47 a.m. (we’ve all been there) and finds that her coffee is still hot.
Zen. Moment. Found.
You’ll never know your crowd if you solely rely on purchase data. You’ve got to research their humanity. What makes them “them”? Social media is one of the best tools for diving into your customer’s world. What are they sharing? What are they saying? What’s important in their world?
Let’s say your crowd is ambitious millennials. During your research you discover that many of them volunteer for causes they believe in. What kind of swag would inspire them? It’s probably not a stress ball or a mousepad. Instead, give them a meaningful, socially conscious product with a story behind it, such as a scarf made by entrepreneurial women in Honduras or a notebook assembled by disadvantaged youth in Chicago.
When you want a fabulous haircut, you go to a salon. When you want to build a house, you work with a contractor. When you can’t figure out the remote control, you ask an 8-year-old. Experts make life easier.
We’ve been around the block a few times and have seen swag trends come and go. (See ya, fanny packs. It’s been… fun.) We’ve helped hundreds of clients dive into their brand demographics and get to know their crowd. Our days are spent researching what’s new and fresh in the world of branded merchandise and we’ve gathered thousands of creative ideas. (Ready for a “we never thought of that” chat? Click here.)
The obvious answer to “How do I know what my crowd wants?” is … drumroll, please… ask them.
Business is about relationships and connection. Try having a conversation with your customer. “Hey, what do you like? What can we give you? What would make your life better?” Yeah, they’ll be surprised by your outright moxie. They’ll also be thrilled when, a month later, they receive an awesome piece of swag. “You totally get me” is always good for business.
Not sure you can come right out and ask your crowd what they want? Send them a survey instead. Studies find that most people will readily give info in a survey as long as they receive something in return. Ask questions, get valuable answers, and give them a gift. A discount. A free song on iTunes. A shoutout on social media. Small gestures like this go a long way in getting the answers you need.
We want stuff that is creative. We want stuff that is useful. And we want stuff that is memorable.
When exploring ideas for your next event or giveaway, ask yourself these questions:
If you can answer “yes” to all three, you’ve struck swag gold. Focus on what makes your crowd happy and you’ll have devoted fans for life.
Need some creative muscle for your next project? Let’s chat!
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