On the Ballpoint
The British Medical Journal recently reported the bizarre story of a woman who accidentally swallowed a pen a quarter of a century ago. 25 years later, the pen was discovered and appeared in scans to be still intact. When it was removed, to the surprise of the patient and her doctors, the pen still wrote. While this gastric adventure is an attention-grabbing and extreme tale of the enduring qualities of writing instruments, it illustrates the product's uncanny ability to stand the test of time.
From peace treaties and political volleying, to the simple symbolic act of signing on a new home, putting something in ink has real meaning. Promo Marketing spoke to Bill Mahre, president, ADG Promotional Products, Hugo, Minn. and Laura High, senior trade marketing manager, Norwood & BIC Graphic North America, Clearwater, Fla., to find out what really matters when selling writing instruments. (However wildly fascinating it may be, eating them does not make the list.)
1. CLICK PENS ARE TIMELESS
Bill Mahre: Obviously the convenience of the click pen has become more prevalent over a number of years. Overall pens are used by just about everyone on a daily basis (including younger people) and will continue to be a cornerstone of marketing efforts for companies, organizations and individuals for decades to come.
Laura High: The BIC Clic Stic, [celebrating its 25th anniversary] is definitely a timeless mainstay of the industry, but many new features and benefits have been added along the way. Today, the Clic Stic is available in over 400 barrel and trim color combinations.
2. A SAMPLE IN THE CLIENT'S HAND MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN CLOSING THE SALE
Mahre: [Writing instruments are] inexpensive sales tools. So, put a sample in the client's hands. Also, distributors need to find out what is trying to be accomplished [by the client] and what image and message a client wants to convey. An inexpensive plastic pen sends one message, while a full-color solution offers up something different, and finally a personalized metal laser-engraved pen or gift set creates a really unique option.