Selling Outdoor Promotional Products: What You May Not Know
When warmer weather arrives, many people find reasons to be outside. Your clients might be planning festivals, carnivals or charity races; promoting school teams or clubs; or just trying to spruce up their storefronts.
Either way, all clients could benefit from promotional signs and products for their outdoor endeavors. We spoke to Scott McCormack, director of sales and marketing for Picnic Time, Moorpark, Calif., and Bruce Kolbrener, vice president of sales, Quinn Flags, Hanover, Pa., to learn how to use outdoor promotional products this year.
Uses for Outdoor Events
Good weather brings more outdoor events, like golf tournaments, company outings and wine-tastings, McCormack said. However, there’s one key difference between how promotional products are used at an indoor event versus an outdoor event.
“Items given away at an outdoor event—if they have application for the event—will be used during the event,” he said. “Indoor events tend to be something you pick up and stick in a bag. If you give the right thing at an outdoor event, people are going to use it [immediately]. … We had an event that was beach themed, and the door prize was our folding Adventure Wagon, which was filled with toys and games.”
With school clubs, fundraisers and sporting events, as well as school spirit in general, outdoor promotional products are a hit for events in the education market.
“School and team spirit products can help create greater intensity at an event, [with products] such as [School] Spirit Flags, Breakaway Banners, Scroll Banners and [Spirit] Body Flags,” Kolbrener said.
Quinn Flag’s Breakaway Banner is a popular choice to create excitement as the team runs through and “breaks” the banner. However, the banner actually isn’t broken, and, in fact, is reusable.
“Yeah, a lot of people think it just gets destroyed after they ‘break’ it, but it Velcros, so it’s a pretty durable product,” he said.
Uses for Outside of Business
Wind is the biggest factor to worry about outdoors, but it also can be beneficial to advertising, Kolbrener said. Half Drop Banners and Windchaser Flags are ideal for outdoor use, especially the latter, as it has a larger imprint area.
“Windchaser Flags, in particular, provide optimal signage space with great motion at the bottom to attract attention [to] the business,” said Kolbrener, noting Utz Quality Foods, which makes potato chips and other snacks in Hanover, Pa., has used this product for years. “Windchaser Flags fly like a flag yet stay open like a sign to keep the message and design always visible.”
Signage can be permanent or temporarily placed outside of a business, but, regardless of the use, soft signage has become the favored choice.
“More and more customers have been switching to soft signage for outdoor use because the costs are dramatically less and the message or promotion can easily change as often as needed for a very low cost,” he said.
This option also allows for a double-sided message, and choice of base depending on whether it’ll be place on a hard surface or on a soft surface. Digital imprints are more affordable than screen prints, which can skyrocket additional costs for each color and plate needed for the design.
“Digital technology has come so far in just 10, 12 years,” Kolbrener said. “It’s really taken over the signage industry.”
Aside from signage, a retail display outside also could boost business in certain instances.
“When you have a storefront, you want people to come inside,” McCormack said. “To entice people to come into the store, put together a theme of products right outside.”
A gift shop in Charlotte, N.C., used Picnic Time outdoor promotional products to create a tailgating display in front of its store, setting up its Picnic Table, Sidekick Portable Cooler, X-Grill Portable Grill and other items—all with the Carolina Panthers logo on them.
“That taps into the passions of the people in that area,” he said.
Amanda L. Cole is the editor-in-chief of NonProfit PRO. She was formerly editor-in-chief of special projects for NonProfit PRO's sister publication, Promo Marketing. Contact her at email@example.com.