More Than This
Industry veterans know it takes more than luck to sell a promotional product. And, it takes more than a promotional product to drive an effective marketing campaign. With heavy concentration on creativity and ingenuity, this particular market demands more of distributors, which the novice salesperson must consider before testing the promotional waters.
Gregg Emmer, chief marketing officer, vice president of Kaeser & Blair (K&B), Batavia, Ohio, elaborated. “This industry has followed many different paths over the years. Great ideas have always built business, not the products. Product peddlers have their place, but those [who] sell great ideas and the promotional products that support them make the big money,” he observed.
Although promotional marketing is an industry generating billions of dollars through the assistance of products, distributors must resist the “wow” factor of items such as blinged-out travel mugs and high-performing technological tools, and instead, tune into customer needs. Yes, some end-users want to buy products, but the majority need solutions.
To determine the best solutions for potential customers, distributors must ask probing questions about the intended use of the products, said Greg Muzzillo, founder and co-CEO of Cleveland-based Proforma. “No one buys a drill because they want a drill. People buy drills because they want a hole,” he noted. “Similarly, no company buys promotional products because [it] want[s] the products. Companies ... want to promote a brand or product. Companies buy incentives and awards because they want to promote certain behaviors. Solutions-seller[s] learn
the intended purposes of the product and work to help their clients select the right products to achieve their intended purpose[s].”
Emmer offered a similar analogy. “A dentist uses [a lot] of products when he [or she] works on patients, but would never say he [or she] was in the dental products business. The factories make and/or decorate the promotional products business; we are in the promotional advertising business. We sell results and objectives. [Clients] want a certain outcome and don’t really care what product helps them get there,” he stressed.
Related story: Promotional Pointers