Are You Promotional Products Prepared?

  • Jun 1, 2021

It's been a while since I offered my “Developing a Strategic Marketing Plan” seminar, but I remember how I would get a lot of requests at the end of December wanting to know when the next one would be. I would answer that I offer that particular seminar every year in September, because that’s the time to start the planning process for the following year. I don’t offer it any later than that because, if someone hasn’t already started working on their marketing plan for next year by October, then they generally need more personalized assistance then a seminar can give them and a private consultation is more in order.

I’ve said this often in this forum – advance planning is a huge portion of any successful marketing plan or campaign.

The most tangible example of this is the client who wanted to order 250 imprinted pens for an upcoming event and, oh yeah, it’s 3 days away. We got it done and delivered the day before the event so that they’d have it at 8 am the next day for distribution. Not really a big deal, except for one little, really very insignificant detail: Instead of the shipping costing about $20 to go ground, we had to overnight ship it to meet the deadline. The final shipping cost for a 6 pound package shipped cross-country overnight? $342.58. The actual product cost for the 250 pens? $220, including setup fees. If they’d planned in advance, they could either have saved $320 in shipping costs, or doubled the number of pens they received for what they paid in overnight shipping costs.

Now that example is from a few years back and shipping costs have gone up significantly since then. Not only are they continuing to go up and now include all sorts of surcharges and fees, but the price of the products themselves have become unpredictable. Pricing that used to remain pretty stable for a full year, starting with distribution of product catalogs in January, has now become subject to change at the drop of a hat. And no time more than right now with inventories being in short (or no) supply, the cost of raw materials going up (have you heard that just the price of lumber has doubled recently) and staffing in many factories (here and abroad) still being low due to COVID.

My recommendation right now is not to wait for the last minute, or even the month before. If you know you have an upcoming need for promotional products, PPE, signage and exhibitry anytime in the next six months or so, get on it NOW! You may save some money and you'll still have options if the item(s) you need/want aren't immediately av


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