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Eight Common Mistakes of Promotional Marketing

by Steve Benidt  |  
December 20, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • How to make your next promotion a success
  • Common promotional marketing pitfalls to avoid

As someone who has ordered his fair share of promotional products, I can tell you firsthand that sometimes promotions work and sometimes they bomb. And, very often, promoters find themselves too caught up in the daily rush of trying to make a profit and satisfy customers to take a moment to analyze the reasons their promotions are not always successful.

Here is a list of what I have found to be the eight deadliest sins (I call them "Promotion Killers") that companies commit when planning and executing a promotion.


1. Ineffective Distribution

Far too often, distribution plans are not followed or fully completed. For example, you order 200 calendars every year to give to your best customers but somehow those calendars never manage to find their way to those customers.

Maybe your support person neglected to notice all those calendars gathering dust in the storage room. Or, maybe, your salespeople forget to grab some on their way out the door to distribute them.

Either way, you end up with an extra 75 calendars in a box at the end of March. That is a waste of time, money, and resources. And the problem can be easily avoided by planning well in advance and following through. Remember, that dumpster behind the building is not one of your customers.

2. Not Allowing Enough Lead Time

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Steve Benidt is director of sales and public relations at Amsterdam Printing, a provider of quality printed business products, where he focuses on assisting small businesses to use promotional materials for marketing. Steve also researches and writes for Amsterdam Printing's Small Business Promotions.

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  • by Lou Lambert Tue Dec 20, 2011 via web

    All very good reminders Steve!
    For years & years we provided '3 month' calendars to our advertising clients and it was an excellent way for a sales rep to make a 'how are you doing' call......but we too would find that many of the reps would not fully avail themselves of this very nice reward. This year with budget crunches we've all but eliminated the program.
    I still find pens (nice pens) very effective as economical giveaways to clients, associates, gate keepers, etc. We deal with many Wal-Marts and the associates there love them. We furnish them with a cheap lanyard and they are good to go and not apt to lose them. I laugh when I go in a store and associates will flash their layards proudly.......
    Change ups are also good. One year we went to a tire pressure reader that was well received. We have to remember that 'hard sell' seldom works. It is nice to just stop buy, say hello and listen to what your clients & potential clients have to say.
    a yankee in Memphis

  • by Steve Benidt Wed Dec 21, 2011 via web

    Thanks for sharing your experience Lou! Much of any successful promotion is trial and error. Good luck with your next one!

  • by Ford Kanzler Wed Dec 21, 2011 via web

    Great post! Suggest another key factor that's not always possible, is having some correlation between the ad specialty item and the brand benefit or marketing message. This can be tough but when it comes together the giveaway can be powerfully effective. I'm sure everyone has seen good examples of this and lots of others that are pretty senseless.

  • by Laurie Buchbilnder Thu Dec 29, 2011 via web

    any comments of promotional advertising speciaties and the best questions to ask potential clients

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