Assuming you’re reading this from a buyer’s perspective, here’s the first of several tips that you may find helpful.
Tip #1- Answer the ‘Why’ - as in why the heck am I buying this stuff? Often times people want to buy promo items for reasons like ‘it’s expected at that event’, or 'my boss asked me to take care of it' or even ‘everyone else is doing it’.
If one of the above (or similar reasons) applies, I think you need to take a little deeper plunge into the process.
Let’s use a trade show as the event in question. You’ve got a booth at the show and need some swag. Instead of looking ‘what’s 'hot’ or 'different' among products I would suggest you first answer the question ‘What is the primary objective for us at this show?’
To stand out among several competitors?
Introduce your company to the marketplace?
Showcase a new product?
Generate sales leads?
Show your support for the organization putting on the event?.
Be seen at the event while keeping costs to a minimum?
Generate a WOW?
Or it could be an objective that I haven’t listed.
Promotional products can successfully solve all kinds of marketing challenges, but first you need to determine just which challenge (or challenges) it’s going to be. Defining exactly ‘why’ you’re exhibiting at the show helps narrow the amount of promo item choices considerably and gets you closer to finding the right items for the task.
However this is not the only step. More to come in future posts.