Congratulations to Kristen B. of New Jersey for winning second place in the HALO Spring 2017 Scholarship Contest. As Kristen pursues a graduate school path in Speech-Language Pathology, she has learned the importance of marketing in any career. “I took internships in a variety of different fields in order to draw from each experience to become a better professional,” Kristen said. “I have learned that there are many ways to market yourself to companies or graduate schools, but the best way is to have a marketing mindset and know that the ‘product’ (you) that you’re trying to ‘sell’ is an awesome one.”
You can read Kristen’s winning essay below.
Essay topic: With summer just around the corner, how can marketers heat up their brand messages by adding promotional products to their marketing mix? What summer-time promos would you recommend and why?
With summer on its way, companies should take advantage of seasonal promotions to advance their marketing strategies and contribute to branding. There are a variety of options for what promos would be most successful; however, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding.
Think about pricing. What will cost the most? What will cost the least? Think about branding. What fits well with the company brand? Think about usefulness and further advertising that people receiving it will do. What will they use the most in the moment versus long term? What will continue to advertise the company with each use? Lastly, think to uniqueness.
There are some products that particularly scream “summer.” For example: sunscreen, sunglasses, beach accessories, hats, and more all correlate with the season. Yet, figuring out which fits most into a brand is an important decision. Music festivals might consider quick-usage products like sunscreen, but there is also a potential to hand out sunglasses with the festival name written on the side.
Marketing should not necessarily be a single campaign with an expiration date. By handing out quality promotional items, there exists a potential for further advertising. What would be most recommended are products that can be used multiple times and in public settings. Beach towels, for example, are a great advertising move if money was not a big issue because people would be able to use this multiple times in very public locations throughout the summer.
What would not be recommended is crewneck t-shirts with the brand name across the front like a billboard. Although for some “trendy” companies this will work, not many people would wear a t-shirt with a foot-cream brand’s name on it. It also would not be a good idea to give sunscreen handouts unless it is primarily to satisfy outdoor attendees. There is no long-term advertising prospect for that promo and it does not do a lot for a company if they do not primarily sell sunscreen.
Pick items that will enhance a guest’s experience while staying on brand and also continuing to advertise with no time expiration. For example, if it is going to be a hot day, individual towels or water bottles to fill up at stations will be a great promotion. For wine tasting, handing out glasses with the name of the event can be a promotion for the event that will also carry to social media. It would be an opportunity to show that guests are cared for and excited about the company and event.
Aside from the usual “summer” promotional hand-outs, companies should stay unique to themselves. “Thank you” bags, sponsored products, or even products to enhance a guest’s experience will contribute to happiness and loyalty from attendees in the long-run. Staying unique will be an asset, but also make it a practical item that will allow for further advertising from those who received the promo.
The summer months allow for targeted marketing with a wide variety of promotional opportunities. As a company trying to heat up its brand messages, seek to add promotional products that are relevant and useful. Embrace the season and understand your audience.