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The Science of Selecting the Perfect Promotional Products

ACT Scientific MethodSome people think being able to zero in on perfect promotional products is an art, a magical talent that only a few people possess. While that’s certainly a small part of it, natural talent will only take you so far. That’s why, when it comes to helping our customers choose their own promotional products, A Creative Touch relies on a mixture of instinct and a trick of the trade, also known as “the scientific method.”

I didn’t invent the scientific method. (If I did, it would be called something a little more interesting, like the Royal Roundtable or the Queen’s Amazing Questions.  After all, I am The Queen of Promotional Products!) The scientific method has been around since the 17th century, and for hundreds of years its been used as a way to ask and answer questions through observation and experimentation. Gravity? Plastic? iPhones? Yep, that’s right. They’ve all been invented or discovered, at least in part, thanks to the scientific method.

The scientific method includes six steps. When a client approaches me and has no idea how to choose a promotional product, I walk them through the steps. By the end of the list, we’ve usually landed on the perfect solution, and everyone leaves the conversation happy and satisfied. Today, I’m going to let you in on this trade secret, and show how science can help you choose the right promotional product, too.

Step 1: Ask a question.  The big question is, of course, “What promotional product should you purchase?” But to get there, you should really ask a series of smaller questions. “What goals am I trying to achieve with a promotional product? Who is my target audience? What is my budget?” Once these questions are answered, we can move on to the second step.

Step 2: Do background research.  The next step is to figure out what sort of item would be valuable and exciting to your customers, volunteers or employees. You want your promotional product to be useful, because use means exposure. Exciting is important, because you want your customers and clients to feel like they’re receiving a gift, rather than an advertisement. The trick is to zero in on the current trends, but avoid choosing something that will be passé or cliché tomorrow. It’s a delicate balance, but not impossible, especially if you are in the hands of a certified promotional products specialist.

 Step 3: Construct a hypothesis.  You can only ask questions for so long. At some point, you have to make a choice. Your hypothesis can be as simple as this: “I run a gym. My clients often listen to music while they workout. Therefore, I think that a set of earbuds sporting the gym’s logo would be a perfect promotional product.” That wasn’t so hard now, was it? Enjoy that feeling of accomplishment while it lasts—things are about to get a little more difficult.

 Step 4: Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment.  Until it has been tested, a hypothesis is nothing more than an idea. To make it real, you have to investigate, experiment, and see if the idea can stand on its own two legs. Sticking with the earbud example from Step 3, you have a few options. Walk through the gym and count how many people are listening to music on an average day. Poll some members to see if they’re interested in earbuds. Finally, order a very small run of earbuds and give them to a few regulars, then see how they are received and how often the earbuds are used.

Step 5: Analyze your data and draw a conclusion.  Good news! You’ve discovered that earbuds are popular in the gym, your clients report that they’d love a new set, and your test run is performing well. This experiment has been a success, and you’ve confirmed that this particular promotional product is valuable, exciting, and fulfills a need in the lives of your target audience. It’s time to place a full order, with the confidence that only the scientific method can provide.

 Step 6: Communicate.  The perfect promotional product does more than spread your logo all over town. It shows that you’ve taken the time to get to know your audience, whether they’re customers, clients, volunteers, or employees. You understand their needs and values, likes and dislikes, interests and occupations, and you’ve used that information to give them something they didn’t even know they needed! Through that promotional product, you’re communicating something important—that you listen and you care. It’s a priceless (and scientifically sound) message for any company or organization.


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