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Are promotional items worth it?

Mark B Member

Knowing the question pertains to the focus of a shops particular work, and that of course the quality of your end product and customer satisfaction are of paramount, what have been your own best little promotional goodies or ones you've seen or been given?

I am in the process of a shift and working on some marketing/promotional items for the shop. Line cards, binders, packages of information specific to the customer being targeted. I had remembered some time ago reading from I believe David S. that he would make small give-a-ways of a door or sash rail and stile joint and how P.A.'s or customers enjoyed being able to assemble and disassemble the two parts.

I am thinking of things along those lines, perhaps a pair of parts on a beaded chain inside a binder to be given to an architect or designer.

I realize this its an extremely broad question and if your making dovetail drawers it would be dovetails, sash it would be sash. Just wondering if anyone has seen any nifty promo items or promo items that seemed worth while. I have no desire for pens, pencil, pads of paper, etc.. Have been thinking of some more unique ideas.


5/4/16       #2: Are promotional items worth it? ...
Nom de Guerre

I always wanted to have a windshield scraper with my company information.

When you need a windshield scraper you need one bad. Who ya gonna call?

5/4/16       #3: Are promotional items worth it? ...

They are not worth it.

Also, make sure that any written materials you distribute have been proofread.

5/5/16       #4: Are promotional items worth it? ...
Mark B Member

Nope, not kidding ;-)

Vendors are in my shop all the time with samples and promo items. My literature shelves and desk have dozens of little gee gaws that keep a given vendor in the thought proces.

I figured it was mostly useless for a small shop but kicking it around.

Proof reading is a given. No comparison to the grammar/spell check police on a quick post to a web forum.

All good information. Thanks!

5/5/16       #5: Are promotional items worth it? ...
Stephen Ondich  Member

Website: http://www.commercialforestproducts.com

If you're thinking in terms of return-on-investment, your resources can likely be better used elsewhere. I have received promotional items that I've liked, used and kept but I can't say that I refer to them for buying decisions, consciously anyway.

Pens, pencils, notepads, clothing - I'll keep and use.

Calendars, mousepads, stress balls, etc. - all go straight to the trash or recycling bin.

Promo gifts can actually backfire if the item is cheesy or poorly made.

My favorite and most used knife is a promotional item I received about 10 years ago. Love the knife but even after years of use (with the company's name & logo printed on it) I couldn't tell you their name.

Taking $7 boxes of doughnuts to your customers' shops once in a while would probably go further than scattering logo'd trinkets around town.

5/5/16       #6: Are promotional items worth it? ...
Stephen Ondich  Member

Website: http://www.commercialforestproducts.com

Just re-read your original question.

These are some of the nicest & most memorable promotional items I have received: an elaborate CNC carved serving dish made from American Cherry, A large birdseye maple turning bowl & really nice embroidered jacket.

All were appreciated but they also felt a little over the top. I don't think anyone got more business as a result.

5/6/16       #8: Are promotional items worth it? ...

I always like to get promotional items. I have a lot of them from companies that no longer exist.

Is there a correlation between giving away your work and going out of business?

5/6/16       #9: Are promotional items worth it? ...

Something to realize is that your lumber salesman is playing poker with you every time you place an order. If you want to test this sometime have three different people place the same order with the same salesman and see how varied the prices are. Try ordering the same thing from three different salesman within the same company and you will get 2 or 3 different prices.

Salesmen are paid based on margin. They get to keep a portion of what they kill and if they can get a higher price from you then they get to eat better. A 10 bump in square foot price may not seem like much but it's a $64 upcharge on 20 sheets of plywood.

This is where the promo items can help.
When the salesman comes in to see how things are going you should have 3 ring binders from their competitors prominently displayed. You should write the order up on somebody else's notepad. Use somebody else's promo pencil to write that order.

Better yet, wear the competitors baseball hat when the salesman shows up.

5/6/16       #10: Are promotional items worth it? ...
Steve  Member

Website: http://www.commercialforestproducts.com

Those are good strategies for keeping vendors on their toes. They would be effective on vendors in every industry except cabinetry where discretionary pricing never rears its ugly head :)

5/7/16       #11: Are promotional items worth it? ...
David Waldmann

"Better yet, wear the competitors baseball hat when the salesman shows up."

Better YET, have the competitor's delivery truck show up when the salesman is visiting. It's happened more than once...

But seriously, they all know who else you're buying from and roughly how much potential business they're losing. Still, whenever I put out an RFQ I send it to myself and BCC the recipients so they don't know who they're bidding against.

As for promo items, we have pencils with a clear finish. You wouldn't believe how many people say "Cool, a real wood pencil!" even though most pencils are made out of wood. We've even had people ask if we made them...

Sample-wise, our retail product is flooring, so we have 12" long pieces of actual flooring (T-G, with back relief), our name and the product name on the back.

Lastly, we spend big bucks on our business cards. I have yet to give out one of my cards that doesn't evoke a positive response. We get them made out of wood (no, not a printed wood pattern on wood pulp) and they are "keepers".

Cards of Wood

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