The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Technically, "Happy Holidays" is an expression you can use year-round. Almost every day is a holiday now. We know you celebrate our favorite holidays, National Chocolate Ice Cream Day and Be Late for Something Day, but what about holidays without built-in instructions? How do you promotionally celebrate Thanksgiving, Independence Day and New Year's Eve and keep it fresh every year? You need products that will stand out and keep the attention of your clients and end-users. We suggest custom-molded chocolate, twice-logo'd ornaments and imprinted greeting cards. Don't believe us? Listen to the experts.
Adding food to your promotion might add a literal expiration date, but according to David Miller, president of Chocolate Inn/Taylor & Grant, Freeport, N.Y., sometimes that is a good thing. Holidays offer end-users more time to enjoy edibles and a surplus of events to dole out such goodies, so a short giveaway time period is not a problem. "Most of our business is for one-time promotions during the holidays," said Miller. Miller detailed how Chocolate Inn/Taylor & Grant stores and packages merchandise to supply your clients with the freshest foods possible. "We store all products in our temperature-controlled warehouse and ship as needed ... utilizing insulated containers when warranted," he explained.
While the holiday season eliminates the need to worry about expiration dates, the increased competition offers a different concern. "Food is the #1 given business gift during the holiday season due to its versatility," Miller said. He listed two ways to make your edible promotion stand out: quality and presentation. "The edible needs to make an impact visually," he stated. "[Chocolate Inn/Taylor & Grant does] this through shaping the chocolate in a shape that represents the industry of the customer, i.e., chocolate truck if the customer is in the trucking industry." Miller also mentioned using non-chocolate edibles that are not available in retail stores and gold or silver boxes.
Finding the right client for these sugary treats is as easy as visiting your local bank. "Most companies give holiday gifts. That being said, financial is always a top buyer," said Miller. According to the chocolate supplier, wooing potential clients is simple when you bring samples. "Most of your customers do not know that they can procure food from you … [it is] important that you present it to them," he urged.
Trimming the Tree
Holiday ornaments offer your clients the ability to be represented at important family events for years to come. "Most of our holiday ornaments are one-time promotions sold to companies looking to give them out during the holiday season to customers and staff," said Richard Ouellette, president and CEO, Zoogee World Inc., Calais, Maine. The gifts remain with end-users for annual use, making a one-time sale have large impact. Just because the holiday promotion is one time, it does not mean your relationship with the client is. You can use the ornaments as a gateway to other programs or even other ornament uses. "[Ornaments are] also very popular as fundraising products in religious organizations and churches," Ouellette said.
You don't have to stick to religious organizations for ornament sales. Most companies are willing to spend during the holidays, making it a good time to reach out to new types of clients. "All small and large businesses tend to open their pocketbooks to gift-giving during the holiday season, either to customers or staff," Ouellette said.
To solidify your relationship with your new holiday-interested clients, choose ornaments that really shows off their logos. Ouellette suggested doing this with two-sided imprints or custom-shaped ornaments. "Our transparent/translucent imprint ornaments are very popular because the imprint can be seen from both sides of the ornament, making the imprint look like it is trapped inside glass or crystal," he said. "All of our ornaments are also produced in custom shapes."
Greeting cards might fall into the one-time purchase trap, so Melinda Marr, vice president of sales for HotLine Products, St. Paul, Minn., offered a few ideas to take your greeting cards from promotions to programs. "Send a Thanksgiving card in November," she said. "This gives the opportunity to say 'thank you' for their past business and avoid getting lost in the high volume of greeting cards that show up in late December," she explained. Marr also suggested using a greeting card with a year-at-a-glance calendar so the card and calendars will stay in front of users for an entire year.
Calendars (with or without cards) are good for holidays because most companies already purchase them annually. "Calendars are a little different than most promotional products because the recipient wants to get a replacement calendar every year, which leads to a very high repeat order rate," said Marr. "Unless the promo buyer is with a large company that has multiple locations or dealers, their calendar purchase usually isn't thought of as a 'program' but a necessary, once-a-year purchase because their customers have come to expect getting a new one every year," she explained. You can use this necessity to your advantage and add holiday highlights and other personalizations to increase the value of the calendars.
Like Ouellette, Marr mentioned that most companies have holiday budgets, but she encouraged a focus on companies attempting to maintain current customer relationships. "Any company that is trying to maintain or expand their market share should consider a holiday promotion," she remarked. "Whether it's a small pet grooming company or a Fortune 100 company, their customers want to feel appreciated and important." She even provided a good pitch if you're unsure of how to clinch sales with such a wide variety of clients. "If they consider what their average customer spends with them in one year and then look at how much they would need to spend to get a new customer, it's easy to see that the investment in a holiday gift is worth every penny to keep your customer feeling important," Marr explained.