I traveled to Montgomery, NY this past week to deliver a speech to a group of Erie Insurance Agents. I live in the Philadelphia, PA area and my route took me through the Pocono Mountain area – what a beautiful drive! The mountains and hills were magnificent and everything was so green.
I’ve delivered about 15 of these speeches over the past 5 years or so. I’m not a pro but I’m not a shy guy and I enjoy doing them. The speech I delivered was about the promotional products industry as a whole and why promotional products are a smart way to market an insurance agency.
Before each speech, I research all my talking points to make sure they are current and valid. During this process, I’m always reminded why I love this industry and why I think promotional products are the ultimate guerrilla marketing weapon. Here are 5 aspects of the promotional products industry that I’m so proud of:
1. According to PPAI, Promotional Products Association International, our industry is a $20,000,000,000 industry (THAT’S $20 BILLION!). We are one of the only advertising mediums on a growth trend even though we’re one of the oldest advertising mediums. We are finally getting some well deserved respect!!
2. When using promotional products, an advertiser only has to buy the ad one time and the recipient of the item will be exposed to the advertiser’s marketing message a countless number of times. You cannot get that kind of value from ANY other marketing medium because all of them have a much shorter shelf life.
3. Most people enjoy receiving promotional products. On the flip side, do most people like hearing radio or TV ads? Do they like ads popping up on the webpages they’re viewing? Probably not. Most people will say “thank you” when given a promotional product. Can the same be said when they’re exposed to a billboard? Again, probably not.
4. Promotional products can target just about every demographic no matter the size or obscure the market. Do you want to sell insurance to Eskimos? With approximately 800,000 items available from approximately 4,000 suppliers, I can guarantee you that there is a perfect product available that would be effective and meet the budget.
5. Promotional products are advertising that integrates into our lives. Research shows that there’s a 1 in 4 chance you have a promotional product on your person right now. We use these items in our day to day lives. Do you write a note with a pop-up ad? No, you write a note with a writing instrument. Do you wear newspapers as clothing? No, but you can certainly wear an embroidered sweater to keep you warm. In addition, promotional products typically only carry one message at a time. This makes for a crystal clear, unimpeded transmission of a marketing message. How many billboards are in Times Square? Probably too many to count. A calendar is a miniature version of a billboard at a fraction of the cost and communicates a marketing message for pennies a day. Insurance card holders keep your insureds registration and insurance information handy while marketing your agency at the same time. Do you see the guerrilla marketing connection?
I fell into this industry over 25 years ago. I have been witness to some real marketing successes with promotional products and that is so satisfying. I’ve also been the recipient to some ridicule of my industry. For those folks who think of promotional products as “trinkets & trash” or “tchotchkes”, I urge you reconsider your position. They truly are THE epitome of guerrilla marketing. As our world shrinks, technology speeds things up and younger generations become tomorrow’s buyers, advertising mediums will gain and lose effectiveness. One thing that I think will never change is that, as humans, we like to receive things and, if they are useful and relevant, we keep them. Recipients sometimes thank the advertisers for giving them a promotional product (talk about guerrilla marketing!). Promotional products are the only advertising medium that is useful so I think this medium is here to stay and may become an even more important marketing tool in the future.