The Price is Right
COME ON DOWN!
OK, don't get excited. No one in a sparkly blazer is actually calling you to be a contestant in this crazy bidding war we call the promotional products industry. Yet, it does feel a little like everyone's favorite game show sometimes, doesn't it?
Of all the things Bob Barker and Co. have taught us* (he'll always be the host in this writer's heart, no matter who they get to replace him), one thing stands out: You can never overestimate price—or undercut it, for that matter.
At holiday time in our industry, this pearl is especially applicable. For clients looking to make their mark, finding an item that carries the weight of expense and luxury without the cost is a game-changing move. In other words, it's all about high perceived value. But you knew that already. What you might not know, however, is just what raises the stakes on your favorite holiday choices. Read on and get ahead for this year's holiday push.
*To be fair, he's also taught us that, yes indeed, it is a new car behind that proscenium arch, but we're in a recession, people. Let's think slightly smaller, shall we?
Set to Go
Since the holiday season is the one time of year the miraculous is celebrated and fostered, the "wow" factor is rooted in incredulity. By extension, holiday giving is all the more remarkable when recipients are left wondering how they deserved so nice a gift. One way to accomplish this is turning to gift sets as a way of maximizing your spending power. "It is impressive to get more—something more special that stands out compared to other giveaways," said Julie Spear, president of Thousand Oaks, California-based Semco Specialties.
While we're not necessarily preaching sheer quantity over quality, there's no denying sets are practical, particularly at holiday time. Companies are more apt to spend on seasonal gifts, and end-buyers feel they are getting more for their money, Spear noted. Not to mention, "When purchasing these items individually, it would be much more expensive," she added.
Semco Specialties' cookware sets have been successful in past holiday seasons, but all the more so these days, when a desire to spend wisely keeps people staying home for dinner. "Yes, people are eating in more, and everyone loves to entertain with family and friends," she explained. Plus, the fact that there are more pieces to imprint means more marketing reach for logos.
Make the season bright: Knife blocks, wine sets with glasses, spa kits and gift baskets are but a few choices that can offer big impact without a big budget.
Food for Fun
It's difficult to do an article on holiday and seasonal items without bringing food gifts into the mix. However, aside from meeting a biological need and the good vibes associated with eating, these items have become a more cost-effective option without sacrificing impact, according to Rebecca Seltzer, marketing director at Mid-Nite Snax in Mineola, N.Y. "We are finding more and more that our customers are ordering gifts for an entire office or family, rather than individual gifts," she explained. With this giving strategy, choosing items with high perceived value is a cinch, because clients can upgrade their gift choices to reach a group of people, as opposed to being stretched too thin to cover everyone. "The towers and boxes might have a higher cost-per-item, but they can be shared among a crowd," Seltzer added.
What's more, the towers and boxes she mentioned add up in terms of presentation points. Since the gift collections from Mix-Nite Snax come in elegant boxes with coordinating bows, they become promotions that appeal to multiple senses, said Seltzer. And for end-buyers, convenience is always an attractive bonus. "Although we do sell a lot of popcorn and snack tins during the holiday season, our customers enjoy the gift towers and boxes because they arrive already assembled," she affirmed.
Make the season bright: Cookies and the sweet stuff have universal and perennial appeal. To get more creative with food, however, suggest a meat delivery, a hot-beverage collection or a bottle of wine with an imprinted label.
Packaging also plays a significant role in upping the perceived value for Richmond, British Columbia-based Kanata Blanket. The company offers a wide range of containers for its blanket selection, including wooden and keepsake boxes as well as organza bags. "Packaging is a key component," said Bryson Rochelle, U.S. sales manager. "By going that extra mile to give a blanket with some sort of packaging such as a box, basket or bag, you are creating a lasting impression on the recipient."
Most importantly, however, it's the leveraging of the luxury item's allure that can most amp up the value of holiday promotions. And if you're balking already at the notion of a luxury item, consider this: "It's also important to remember that luxury does not mean expensive; we have many blankets that can fit a $20 to $25 price point," he explained. By keeping minimums low (perhaps suggest a luxury item only for top clients or high-level executives), these items can become practical holiday promotions for a variety of budgets.
Make the season bright: Though many luxury items can blow a budget fairly quickly, there are still options here. Items such as pen sets, mini MP3 players or even a leather business-card holder can suggest luxury without breaking the bank. Remember, it's all in the details.