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The Dos and Don’ts of Using Promotional Products for Marketing

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Have you heard of promotional products and how they can turn your business around?

Now, you might be asking yourself: how can a simple gesture of giving handouts and items help your business? The answer is quite simple. They can help improve your marketing campaigns.

Yes – promotional items can be very effective marketing tools which you can utilize for communicating to your target audience and for brand recognition. In fact, many businesses all over are now using this strategy to increase their success rate and to further enhance their business.

Take note though: although handing out giveaways and free items is a good idea – there are certain things that you will need to take into account. And by doing so, you’ll be able to minimize or even eliminate unnecessary risks – and maximize benefits at the same time.

With that in mind, let’s discuss some of the dos and don’ts of using promotional products for marketing:

The DOs

Put Your Brand Name or Logo in Strategic Locations

Remember that the purpose of marketing is to make people know your company (or business) and what you are offering to them. That same rule goes when using promotional giveaways for marketing.

Print your company name or logo on the items you’re handing out. This is important, as it can help in your branding efforts. As much as possible, place your emblem (or name) on strategic locations, so that more people can actually see it. And the more the people who see your business name, the better will it be for your campaigns.

Offer Quality Items

In order for this marketing method to work, you will need to give people items that they can actually use. Don’t invest in cheap, low quality products, as it might not give out the right message for your intended audience. When you give out quality items, you are actually telling your audience that what you are offering (or selling) is of high-quality as well.

Of course, this does not mean that you should spend an unreasonable amount of money on your handouts. Promotional products such as pens, pencils, post-its, USBs, umbrellas and etc. aren’t really expensive items – but you’ll be surprised at how effective they can be.

Have Various Options

Chances are – your business will have various segments that you will need to reach out to separately. Being so, it would be handy if you had different types of products to offer to them. If possible, invest on products for women, men, teens, seniors – or whatever group that you will need to focus on.

The DON’Ts

Don’t Be Cheap

Consider promotional products as a worthwhile investment. If you are able to give out the right set of products to the right people – then the better the results will be.

So, don’t make price your only consideration. As much as possible, find products that may not really be that cheap – but are actually usable, interesting and will help spread good word about your business.

Don’t Forget to Do Your Market Research

Market research will always be important in your marketing efforts – whatever the method may be. After all, it is only when you are able to study and understand your audience that you’ll be able to connect with them.

In other words, you need to determine which products will be most viable for your market. Find out what your potential clients would like to receive and find ways to give them those products. Once you make this possible, then you can expect more people to appreciate the gesture – ultimately helping you reach your goals in the end.

Don’t Be Political

If you have particular religious or political views and beliefs (and are planning to apply them in the products you’re handing out) – please don’t. Otherwise, you run the risk of alienating particular genders, groups, ethnicities or segments in your target audience – thereby defeating the purpose of your marketing campaigns. To be safe, only use promotional products that are “neutral” – and usable as well.

Happy Marketing! 🙂




5 steps you must take to reach your target customer

By Blog
5 steps you must take to reach your target customer

In fact, the whole goal of all marketing is to “get the right message to the right person at the right time.” As marketers we also make sure we can do this at the best price possible.

Here are five steps that will help you better identify who YOUR audience is and HOW you can best connect with them.

Step 1: Acknowledge that you have a specific target audience

It’s important to understand that your products and services have a target audience that can be defined. As a marketer, your primary goal is to find ways to identify who these people are so that you can create marketing campaigns that speak to them directly.

This might sound pretty obvious, but too often marketers assume that what they offer the world has universal appeal and that their target audience is “everybody”! As much as we would all like to believe that, it’s never true and can get in the way of creating effective marketing campaigns that do talk to the right people.

Step 2: Determine what criteria you intend to use to identify the consumers you most wish to reach

An audience can be sorted any number of ways based on an almost infinite number of criteria. But your audience is unique to your brands, so you’re going to want to identify the factors that can be used to create a better connection between their potential needs and what your company offers.

For starters, are there some demographic points that you can use such as age, gender or geography to begin to refine who the best recipients are for your products? How about criteria that matches a prospect’s beliefs, opinions, attitudes or intentions with your marketing message?

The goal of this step is to eliminate the people for whom an offer won’t be relevant or important. With these people out of the mix, you can now focus your marketing messages to reach the remaining people who are most apt to be interested and willing to take some sort of action when they come in contact with your marketing message.

Step 3: Identify what your customers and prospects want most from you

One of the challenges that most marketers face is that they are too close to their own brands.

While you certainly want to promote your brands and services in a positive light, you also need to be willing to put yourself in the shoes of your target customers as often as possible. Chances are they don’t know much (if anything) about your brand or understand the benefits you offer nearly as well as you do.

By seeing your brand through new eyes, you can also look for potential weaknesses, areas of potential misuse or misunderstanding, and even things that consumers may object to or find offensive. Taking this step better allows you to create marketing messages and campaigns that fully address possible brand concerns and objections before they occur.

Step 4: Identify the best channels to use to communicate with these people

What’s the best way to reach your target audience? Again, there is no 100 percent right answer on the best channels you can use reach a target audience. For example a local business looking for a local audience isn’t going to need to run a nationwide online search campaign to reach its target audience. Instead, it might rely on an ad in a local directory or even a small local newspaper to get best results.

Start by thinking about how your target audience gets information. What channels do they use? Television? Radio? Newspapers? Webpages? Online search campaigns?

You want to make sure that when your target consumers are learning about the world around them that your messages are part of that information stream.

Step 5: Measure campaign results to determine if you actually did reach the right people!

Defining your target audience is just the first step. Now, you need to determine if you were correct.

It’s not uncommon for marketers to identify an audience they want to reach only to discover once the campaign starts running that a very different group of people respond to the marketing materials. Again, depending on the types of marketing channels you use, the feedback you will receive can tell you some very important stories.

The bottom line is NOT to assume that just because you have identified an audience and then determined the best criteria to select and reach that audience that your work is done. EVERY campaign you’ll run will teach you how to do a better job in the future. However, you need to be open to that feedback and be willing to continually tweak that information to optimize future campaigns resulting in more and more effective results!



Get to Know Henri Bonan – Founder of The HB Group

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Henri and SuZan Bonan


Get to know Henri Bonan, the Founder of The HB Group! 

What were you doing prior to starting The HB Group?

I attended Brigham Young University and received a Bachelors Degree in Communications. I dreamed of buying TV stations, I worked on air and radio sales. While at BYU, I was moving from Provo to Salt Lake City, I blew a disc out of my back by lifting a 100 lb Pioneer amp. After I had surgery one day I was laying there, and it hit me that I wasn’t interested in being the top in radio anymore. I was head hunted for a job with a local employee recognition company and started working there in the early 80’s. I had a piece of garbage car. I would park blocks away so it would’t affect my chances at work. They were very high brow, and probably wouldn’t appreciate a 65 old cutlass convertible, with no top and all rusted out..the perfect college car!


What Made You Want to Start a Career in the Import/Export Business?

I was dropping by some businesses in 1985. I had been thinking about how to be more competitive. Buying domestically didn’t set me apart. I saw a cotton bag on the floor at a company, he threw it at me and I saw a made in China tag, my mind started to turn. The president asked if I could get 7500-10000 bags every 2 months and asked if I could get them for a certain price point. I then contacted another local company and they asked the same if I could get them jogging suits at half the price. If so, they would cut me a check for half the order. In the Fall of ’85, no one ever went to China back then. I was one of the first. Every business I looked at were short Chinese. I was very intimidated even though I towered over everyone. I had no idea of what I was doing. Once I purchased my first order for my first company, it opened many doors.  The HB Group was then born. It was an interesting experience. I called the Chinese consulate in SF first, and they reached out and made appointments. I flew to China blind not knowing what to expect. Everything began to move quickly after that first visit.

Biggest ups and downs
At the time of 9/11 there was a game change. We lost millions in with the Olympics business since there was extreme security risk with terrorism. Everyone we shipped to shipped back. They were worried there would be no games and no way to sell their merchandise. This was after we shipped and billed based on our PO’s from them.
Biggest ups is selling to a new company. Every time a new company trusts us to do their programs, it reminds me of why I started. I love helping people reach their goals and provide excellent products at good prices and great rejuvenates me!

What advice do you give to anyone wanting to venture in the import/export field and also in starting their own business?

Just know what you’re doing and do your homework prior. In venturing in the import/export business, your company hangs on the economy of the world. Some countries dislike each other like China  importing to Japan. Know your facts before setting up shop. But be passionate..that’s what pushes you. Even if you make mistakes, push forward and have a great attitude. You can make it. It also doesn’t hurt to have a great relationship with a good freight forwarder!

Little known unique facts about yourself – hobbies, what you like to do in spare time
I was born and lived in Sweden. Moved to California, then Utah. I can’t play golf anymore unfortunately due to multiple surgeries. I’m a closet rock star! I was the lead singer in a rock band for 7 years. I own another company, a music entertainment company, Airus Music Group where I manage Swedish bands. With my second venture now that I’m older, I can live vicariously through them! 

Favorite trip you have been on 
Best trip was this last Fall of 2014 with my wife to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Croatia. It was an amazing experience. So many story book scenes. It was like being in a Disney movie everywhere you looked. Truly a trip of a lifetime.
Your Personal Life
My wife told me she would give me sons, strong and tall , however five daughters later, I wouldn’t trade a thing. They are wonderful girls and I have loved every minute watching them grow and going to all their activities.  I’ll admit there were times with all the estrogen, I had to go watch a man’s movie just to get my head straight! But it’s been so fun. Now they have given me wonderful grandchildren, makes it all worth it! Life is truly a journey.