Outdoor Promotional Products Sales Made Easy: 5 Tips
While we love central heating and Netflix marathons as much as the next person, when temperatures begin to heat up, there’s nothing we enjoy more than hitting the great outdoors. From company picnics to bocce ball tournaments, outdoor events give everyone a chance to breathe some fresh air and take part in nature’s beauty. And with great outdoor promotional products, distributors can transform their clients’ events into marketing magic.
Here, Pam Pennington, vice president of strategic partnerships at Aprons Etc., Greenville, S.C.; and Karen Obradovitz, national sales manager for Picnic Time, Moorpark, Calif., give their best expert tips for conquering the outdoor promotions market.
1. Know Your Products
It might sound obvious, but distributors looking to jump into outdoor promotional products need to know the differences between indoor and outdoor items
“The difference may be the scale of the items, the materials used or even the style,” explained Pennington. “Displays for outdoors tend to be taller for longer range of sight. Materials for prolonged exposure to sun and moisture are generally UV and water-resistant treated, and the design includes styling or features that help keep them in place during windy situations.”
Along with understanding the differences between indoor and outdoor promotional products, distributors also need to know what makes outdoor products effective.
“Many outdoor promotional products are also able to be easily used indoors, so they are versatile,” said Pennington. “Also, some groups of clients mainly participate in outside instead of inside events, so providing them with products adds to your opportunities.”
Obradovitz agreed that outdoor events, like annual picnics, concerts, etc., lend themselves perfectly to outdoor products.
2. Learn What’s Trending
The outdoor product market is huge, but there are a few tried-and-true ideas that see success every time.
“We’re doing a lot with our sun shelters,” said Obradovitz. “Those have been very successful because people take those to soccer matches and things like that. Our blankets run across the board of all industries, because they’re products to be used and everyone loves to get them.”
Picnic Time also has a lot of success with chairs, outdoor furniture and barbecue tools sets. In addition, the company’s all-terrain vehicle wagon has been a “crazy popular” new product, according to Obradovitz.
Meanwhile, Pennington said Aprons Etc.’s most popular outdoor products continue to be tents and flags. She also mentioned a few new product ideas the company has been utilizing.
“Being able to take advantage of every opportunity to brand, we have added crowd barricade covers, portable signage and a new smaller size 5x5" tent for sampling or individual cover (ticket takers, parking lot attendants),” she said. “It’s always good to remember to add apparel that is bright and easily recognizable for volunteers or employees at an event.”
3. Focus On Graphics
When it comes to outdoor promotions, your product is only as good as its logo. Because outdoor events tend to have a lot more stimuli, thanks to Mother Nature, you have to work even harder to make sure the logo is a main focus.
“Attention-getting graphics, either bold or creative, [make an outdoor promotion successful],” said Pennington. “Just like with indoor promotions, make sure your client gets noticed.”
Obradovitz agreed that an outdoor product needs a “wow” factor that catches end-users’ eyes immediately in order for an outdoor promotion to be successful.
“The most important thing with our product line, and I would say anybody’s, is that you want it to be attractive,” she said. “You want it to attract attention because you’re outside, and there are so many distractions going on.”
4. Look for These Selling Opportunities
The great thing about outdoor promotions is that every industry will, at some point, be in need of these products. But, if you’re looking for more specific ideas, Pennington provided numerous suggestions.
“Community events around festivals or holidays, races and walk events, sporting events of all types, even concerts will draw in industries that are good prospects for outdoor promotional products,” she said. “Industry categories can be technology, beverage or food suppliers, sporting goods suppliers or manufacturers, even banking, finance or health care.”
Obradovitz said any industry is a selling opportunity for outdoor promotions, but she pointed specifically to beverage promotions and corporations as consistent markets.
5. Decorate Outdoor Promotional Products Differently
Much like outdoor products are different than indoor products, the decoration techniques for your promotions also will be specific to outdoor needs. In other words, your client’s branding has to be durable.
“Dye sublimation [is definitely the best for outdoor promotions] because it’s a sub-surface imprint,” said Pennington. “Surface printing, like screen print or transfers, doesn’t hold up as well in the elements, or when large imprints are folded up for storage.” Once you’ve mastered these outdoor promotion essentials, you’ll be part of asector experiencing promising sales growth.
“I do feel like the outdoor entertaining promotional products industry is growing,” said Obradovitz. “We typically have sales growth higher than the industry average, and I am seeing your typical promotional products that people think of are shifting to these higher-end items because they involve family, friends and having fun. And so it can involve a lot of people versus just a desktop product or something.”
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