My Best Promotion
Rhonda Blum, sales representative for distributor Motivators Inc. and board member at SAAGNY (The Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York) and the SAAGNY foundation, shared a promo-based fundraiser specific to our industry.
As both a fundraiser and an awareness piece for the SAAGNY foundation, Blum created and sold custom-decorated tumblers from Gordon Sinclair for $10 a piece. The mugs carried 12 co-sponsor decorations on them, each sold for between $75 and $100, and were sold at various SAAGNY and SAAGNY foundation events. Below, she details what made the promotion so successful.
Promo Marketing: Could you briefly describe how this promotion worked?
Rhonda Blum: It was for the SAAGNY foundation*, which is SAAGNY's nonprofit arm. We use this mug [pictured right] as a fundraiser. I got the idea from Ray Rodriguez (vice president of sales and marketing) from Gordon Sinclair when we were having lunch. He was talking to me about a client, and I said, "Let's see if we can do this to raise some money for the SAAGNY foundation."
The mug is a beautiful piece, and what we did was we sold each of the little circles to twelve vendors in the promotional products industry, including ASI and PPAI. We've been selling these at every event we go to since I think December. It's raised about $4,000 dollars I want to say, which isn't bad. It's a great product and it's been working really well.
*The SAAGNY foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides aid to a number of charities. It collects unwanted promotional products, such as misprinted apparel for homeless clothing drives or misprinted pens for schools in need. Other aid it gives is more traditional, such as cash donations to charities and gifts and entertainment for disabled or ill children. The foundation also sponsors a scholarship grant for college-aged children with parents in the promotional industry.
PM: So you sold these to distributors and suppliers? Did you sell them to end-buyers and users?
RB: Anybody. Well not end-users. I did buy one of the bubbles. (I'm running the 5K run at PROMOTIONS EAST, it's named in honor of my brother who passed away when he was 16, the Howard Alan Blum 5K for 5K run. So one of the bubbles is for the run.)
So I had a fundraiser at my house, and people who came to my house also were able to buy the mugs. So it wasn't necessarily end-users, but anybody who wanted to spend 10 bucks (laughs).
PM: How did you promote this piece?
RB: I'm the social media person for SAAGNY, so I made sure the mug was as many places as I could send it. I posted it everywhere. I posted pictures on SAAGNY's website, on the foundation's website, on Gordon Sinclair's Facebook page, on my Facebook page, so there was a lot of publicity for this for a while. It was also promoted at all of our events.
PM: What do you think is the best decision you made with this promotion is?
RB: It's a great product. Even people who see it in the industry are like, "Wow this is a really nice mug." So I think that the best part of the promotion was actually the product that we picked. Gordon Sinclair also has an amazing art department. I sent them 12 very disparate logos, and they came back to me with the way the background looks, with the SAAGNY foundation logo done tone-on-tone (pictured right), so that the supplier logos really stood out. So I think that they created a product that was much easier to sell. A great product and great graphics were the best things I think.
PM: Any advice you could give to others attempting similar fundraisers?
RB: I've found it's easier to get the sponsor money than it is to actually sell the $10 mug, which is really odd. I was at a table-top show and I sold three of the sponsorships, which aren't a lot, like $75 or $100 dollars, but I sold three of those quicker than I sold 10 mugs at $10. ￼
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