What’s the difference between a premium and an advertising specialty? A “premium” is something that has perceived value to the recipient and can be used as a sweetener when you’re asking people to give you contact information or take some other action. An “advertising specialty” is just that, an ad: a tchotchke with a name, logo and contact info imprinted on it that is useful enough or novel enough that the recipient will not immediately throw it away.
Offer a premium when you want to boost response for a marginal or unknown product so people who would otherwise ignore you will click, call, or return the reply form. These days the most common b-to-b premium is probably the “free report” delivered electronically. For physical delivery, the good old Amazon or iTunes gift card reigns supreme.
We’ve talked previously about the pros and cons of using giveaways to boost response. Those points are still valid and deserve a second read. The topic is on my mind because of the recent Advertising Specialty Institute trade show, nicely covered in today’s Wall Street Journal.
It’s heartening to know that in our jaded era, people will still go out of their way to get something for nothing. Even the White House is getting on the bandwagon: after promoting a “Stop Swag” program to keep federal agencies from spending tax dollars on giveaway junk, the Obama re-election campaign has done an about face and is hawking such items as the “I meow for Michelle” cat collar (yours for a $13 donation).
The most popular item at the ASI Show? USB thumb drives in every imaginable configuration. This is a tchotchke hunter’s dream: cheap enough to be a trade show giveaway, yet valued sufficiently that you can use it as a premium. If you do use USB drives, be sure to put some of your content on there, if only a few pdfs of your brochures. (Great task for a summer intern!) The recipient will see the files every time they use the drive and they just might open them out of curiosity.