More Bang for Your Buck
Financial businesses, like banks and credit unions, thrive on keeping a faithful customer base. Part of maintaining a loyal clientele is to give them something to not only remember the name of the business, but also to encourage them to come back. Promotional products can be an effective method of advertising for financial institutions and keep their names visible for a long time.
Giving away items, such as water bottles, keychains, pens and stress relievers, allows end-users to hang onto these items and use them on a regular basis. This makes clients’ logos visible in the house, and it promotes customer loyalty. Promo Marketing spoke to a supplier and a credit union to gain insight on how to sell to financial institutions.
Usability is key
Robyn Majzner, vice president of Mineloa, New York-based Essef Distributors, said that banks do well by using universal promotional products, not simply using items specific to finance.
“Banks like to offer universal products that are great for all ages,” Majzner said. “They tend to set up booths at a lot of local shows for all industries—boat shows, housewares, utilities, fairs, carnivals, colleges and much more. So the more universal the product, the better.”
Majzner noted that products that are taken home and reused are the most effective products. They keep the business name visible within the house, and for items that can be used again and again on a regular basis, they create even more exposure for the company. “They give the end-user something useful to take home with them,” she said. “It is a great branding opportunity. They may also offer promotional items as raffles or gifts for signing up with them.”
Marcella Strittmatter, executive administrative assistant at Sb1 Federal Credit Union in Philadelphia, handles community outreach and promotional items for the credit union. She said that people remember items they receive at the bank. “If you have a quality product, people remember that,” Strittmatter said. “We’ve been using our pens for as long as I’ve been here—at least five years. People remember that they work. It’s a quality product that people remember.”
Sb1 gives away small items, such as keychains, football stress balls, magnets and items as large as drawstring bags. In addition to keeping items in the credit union branches, credit unions take them to events, which Strittmatter said is a good way to build brand recognition.
Getting The Name Out
“We’re trying to get our name out there,” Strittmatter said. “We’re trying to push ourselves out there, just to get our name out. We have little bags that have our logo on it, and I love to see people walking around with the bags just so people see it. You might not know what we are but at least you recognize the logo.”
According to Majzner, the key to an effective promotion is the usefulness of the product. Rather than something that can only be used once and is thrown away, items like piggy banks, pens or wallets are items that end-users hold onto. “The more useful the product the better,” Majzner said. “You want it to stay in the home and be seen for as long as possible.”
Strittmatter agreed. “They also like useful things, for example like a chip clip that sticks to the refrigerator,” she said. “People say they use them and love them, and to have that little reminder in front of people helps with the market.”
A Rewarding Practice
Strittmatter said that the credit union uses promotional items as rewards for when customers may sign up for a new program. “We use them sometimes as a reward for a certain loan promotion, and they’ll get something like a car visor or a backpack,” she said. “We also have T-shirts, sticky note holders, we’ve done coasters, cups, the kids love color-changing cups.”
Though Strittmatter said that giving away promotional items like these may not drive in new customers, it makes the credit unions logo more recognizable in the community; and having an item with the brand on it promotes customer loyalty in a big way. “I think if anything it’s more kind of the loyalty,” she said. “When people see [the logo] in the community they say, ‘Oh, I’m a member.’ People remember the pens and they’ll ask about them. People will see the tchotchkes on the table and they’ll remember whose they are.”