How to Measure the Value of Strategic Promotional Products


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Today’s marketers give a thumbs up to strategic promotional products: 65% call them always or mostly effective as an advertising medium, according to Promotional Products Association International.

strategic promotional products“The old term, ‘ad specialties’ described something that you gave away free of charge, for goodwill purposes,” says Cliff Quicksell, a leading expert in promotional marketing strategy. “The name has now evolved to ‘promotional products,’ and with that comes a greater expectation that the item will promote an intended action.”

There’s still a place to distribute pens or calendars, he says, if your objective is to have your name and number handy for future reference. However, if you want a promotional product to generate leads or gain referrals, for example, you’ll have to focus on your target audience, identify their needs, and match their interests with a product and appeal that captures their imagination.

Just as important is campaign measurement to evaluate the effectiveness of your promotional marketing. Two important analytics? Quicksell recommends return on objective, or ROO. “In other words, ‘From this spend, what do I hope to get back?’” He also suggests measuring return on investment, or ROI. This is the difference between the cost of your investment and the realized revenue.

“For example, with an objective of gaining new members, an exclusive tennis club mailed a brochure to 5,000 homes within a 50-mile radius,” Quicksell tells. “They gained a 2% response rate (100 interested people) and, from that, a 2% conversion rate for a net increase in two new members. Given that each new member could be counted on to spend $21,000 in dues over a typical six-year term, the club’s ROO was $2,500 ($5,000 campaign cost divided by two new members) with an ROI of $36,000 ($42,000 in new dues minus $5,000 in campaign costs). Not bad, but much better was yet to come!”

He continues: “We deployed a highly targeted campaign using direct mail to reach 300 tennis enthusiasts within the same 50-mile radius. Each received a lumpy mailer with a message, ‘Serving up a sweet offer.’ Inside was a free, one-week pass along with a tennis ball and the headline, ‘Now the ball is in your court.’ Seventy-five people joined! The club achieved a ROO of $66 ($5,000 campaign cost divided by 75 new members), and an ROI of $1,570,000 ($1,575,000 in new dues, less $5,000 in campaign costs). Game, set and match!”

Looking to put strategic promotional products to work for your organization? Let us know; American Speedy Printing can help define, source and deploy your campaign.

Joe is passionate about helping SMBs. He’s spent the last 25+ years building the American Speedy Printing Marketing • Print • Mail brand – and sharing best practices and marketing trends with his customers. Through research, in-person visits and this blog, he hopes to engage with and empower local business owners and marketing professionals.

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