How to create a powerful promotional marketing plan

promotional marketingEven in this digitised age, promotional marketing is more important than ever, giving customers the chance to engage with your brand and convert through free samples, coupons and creative giveaways.

To create that all-important positive brand experience and encourage a purchase, promotional marketing works to position your brand and product range firmly in the customers’ mind through first-hand, rich and positive experiences.

So how can you create a promotional marketing plan that genuinely delivers a strong return? After all, when you are physically buying promotional goods and going to the expense of commissioning, distributing and storing promo items, you need to be sure that they will result in the right outcome.

Think creatively

Gone is the day when a branded pen was all it took to get a customer to engage with your brand. Today’s marketers need to think more creatively and holistically about their promotional marketing and segment their audience more tightly than ever before. For example, a B2B brand might invest in high-end branded promotional pens for existing loyal clients, and use regular ballpoints for a trade show audience. For a younger and more technically-literate lifestyle audience, a brand might link in with a sustainable ethos and giveaway biodegradable and reusable bamboo coffee mugs, to share their marketing messages through purpose-based and sustainability concerns. Creative thinking here is important to stand out from the crowd.

Plan your channels and opportunities

Your channels could include trade shows, product launch events, shopping centre giveaways, office visits and competitions. Think about your audience; will it be decision-makers and business leaders, or young consumers who love to shop and experience the latest products? This will help you to assess the opportunities that you will have to engage with that audience and to plan ahead with your calendar of promotional marketing activity.

Know the trends

There are plenty of trends that come and go in the promo space. Wellness is certainly on the rise, encompassing holistic mind, body and spiritual labels. Many brands are already linking themselves to wellness sub-campaigns, such as body positivity and mental health. Fitness and nutrition are also growing areas, driven in part by Insta influencers and the interest in Keto, Paleo and plant-based diets. 

For demanding audiences, aesthetics and beautiful design are further key drivers of quality promos. Cheap promos simply won’t cut it any longer as customers expect to be impressed by smart, stylish and well-placed products that add value and utility for their lifestyle. They also love textures such as copper, wood, leather and burlap for a natural and organic look. Sleek matte finishes appeal to the urban set and tech lovers. And don’t forget sustainability and eco-friendliness as today’s customers want products that can be recycled and reused, or which help them to do this in other parts of their lives.

Cost carefully

Work with your supplier to establish the best possible costs for the right quality promotional products. Remember that if you order in bulk, then your unit price will be far more competitive. Achieve this by looking as far in advance as you can and plan your promotional campaigns for at least a year ahead to benefit from economies of scale.

Use a graphic designer

Your print company may provide professional design services to tailor your chosen promotional products to your brand. Provide them with your brand guidelines to include high-resolution versions of your logo (vector illustrations are best), your colour palette and typography guidelines. Keep messaging as minimal as possible on promos – brand, a strapline and contact details are usually sufficient.

Think about distribution

In addition to having your promotional materials in place, you will need a clear plan for distributing them. This could involve hiring promo staff, delivering a direct mail campaign or equipping your sales staff for client meetings. A promotional agency can support with practical arrangements and promo staff who will be trained for your messaging and dressed in appropriate branded wear, ready to staff your stand, event or promo point. 

Consider evaluation

As with all marketing plans, it is essential to have measures of success in place to know whether your promotional marketing efforts were valuable. These may be linked to brand awareness or actual conversions, depending on your industry and marketing plan itself, but a benchmark from previous years can be a useful starting point. 

Ready to put your promotional marketing plan into place and see real returns from your promo activity? Plan ahead and see the gains from this vital marketing channel.