Handle With Care
You've been working hard. If the 143 unread emails, the paper jam in the copier and the hour-long phone call with that client who sounds like Bane from the last Batman movie (did he want "stylus" pens or "stylish" pens?) weren't bad enough, now you've got a customer looking for stress reducers shaped "kind of like a cross between David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar." Oh, and he wants 15,000 of them. In two days.
It's time to take care of yourself for a change—and for that, you're going to need the best personal care products on the market. Give yourself (and your sales) a pick-me-up with the hand sanitizers, lip balms, personal care kits and travel-size cleaning products profiled below. Then, maybe take a few days off. You've earned it.
Next: Hand Sanitizer
Where to Sell
"We are currently seeing every conceivable type of business utilizing our antimicrobial hand sanitizer products," said Michael Kogutt, MAS, vice president of sales for HPC Global, Hanover, Pa. He listed several potential target markets, including law firms, health and fitness clubs, and day care facilities, but he noted that any large business can benefit from hand sanitizers. "The reality today is that almost every business of 50 employees or more has (or should have) a health and wellness program," explained Kogutt. "Insurance and health care costs are a huge expense for almost every employer, and companies are willing to spend in this area if it can keep their employees at work and on the job."
How to Sell
When most people think hand sanitizers, they think small, pocket- or purse-size sprays or gels for personal use. But Kogutt suggested larger pump bottles, which can be placed all over an office or workspace for maximum logo exposure. He gave the example of a large veterinary pharmaceutical firm that placed 16 oz. hand sanitizer bottles at its reception desks and in its exam rooms. "The full-color labeling allowed the firm to highlight a new canine drug they were introducing—utilizing the logo of the new medication with an image of a dog and its owner—to both the veterinarians and their clients," Kogutt said. "The product was very well received by the vets and their customers appreciated it being there for their use as well."
What to Watch
Be aware of FDA and CDC regulations. "Distributors need to ask their suppliers where the actual hand sanitizing solutions are being produced, and if it is an FDA-registered facility," Kogutt advised. "There are potential product liability issues here. Hand sanitizers are an FDA-regulated product. Proper labeling is necessary to comply with FDA labeling requirements, as well." He also urged distributors to read up on the CDC's hand sanitizer recommendations before choosing a sanitizer.
Next: Lip Balm
2. LIP BALM
Why It Works
For such a small item, it can deliver a lot of information to a large audience. Katie Beitz, director of marketing for Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Raining Rose Inc., noted that many companies use lip balm for employee health and wellness or safety programs. "Putting reminders on a lip balm label will get the information out in front of employees more frequently than a sign in the break room," she said.
A Promotion Idea
"We had a real estate agent who was trying to get her name out in front of potential clients that were in a higher purchasing bracket," Beitz explained. "She put all her traditional business card information on a lip balm label and donated the lip balm to a few country clubs in her area," she continued. "Since the lip balm had UVA and UVB sunscreen protection, the country club handed it out at the golf clubhouse and the pools. It was an easy way for the agent to get her name in front of her target audience."
What to Watch
Again, keep an eye on FDA regulations. "The FDA recently passed a new sunscreen monograph that has changed the guidelines on how to properly label products that protect you from the sun, including lip balm," said Beitz. "The new monograph went into effect December of last year and a lot of suppliers have lip balms that are not compliant. We encourage distributors to ask their suppliers about the monograph and what changes the suppliers have made in order to be compliant with [it]."
Next: Personal Care Kits
3. PERSONAL CARE KITS
Where to Sell
Chris Flynn, national sales manager for TARGETLINE, Owosso, Mich., mentioned obvious markets like travel and hospitality, but pointed to emerging markets in manufacturing, education, insurance or finance. "Wherever you see an industry with a seminar, trade show or a need to travel, you will find a need for these types of items," he advised.
A Promotion Idea
Flynn mentioned one promotion where a large university wanted a custom personal care kit containing various items for new students, including a sewing kit, a toothbrush, toothpaste, bandages and more. "By giving this away to incoming freshmen, [the university] not only presented each student with usable items that some of them may have forgotten, but they also gave them a reusable zipper pouch that had all campus security information on the logo," Flynn noted. "They were able to get information into the students' hands in a package that is useful, and one that many will hold onto."
What to Watch
Many personal care kits contain aspirin, antacids or other medicines, but Flynn explained that some companies are unable to give away medication under certain providers' liability insurance policies. "In these cases we are able to create custom kits that exclude any of these types of amenities," Flynn said.
Next: Travel-size Products
4. TRAVEL-SIZE PRODUCTS
What They Are
The category is a bit broad, but it includes items such as shampoo and conditioner, stain removers, shoe polish, body washes, degreasers, soap and just about anything else you can imagine.
Why They Work
With so many options, it's easy to find the right product for a client's promotional needs. Paul Christensen, president of Provo, Utah-based Natural Trends, recommended WD-40 for automotive and industrial clients, or stain removers for trade shows. "People are often traveling, take limited clothing and go out to dinner," he said. "That's when the company who gave them that cool Tide to Go becomes the hero of the day."
A Sales Tip
Christensen recommended co-branding where possible. He explained that national brands are more recognizable to end-users, bringing "instant trust and credibility" to a promotion. "We encourage distributors to present the 'co-brand with an American Icon' message," Christensen suggested. "They can literally co-brand with Tide and P&G. That's pretty exciting."