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-Our guest blogger- Jay Conrad Levinson is the author of the best-selling marketing series in history, “Guerrilla Marketing,” plus 30 other books. His books have sold 14 million copies worldwide. His guerrilla concepts have influenced marketing so much that today his books appear in 41 languages and are required reading in many MBA programs worldwide. He was a teacher and sounding board for The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. and Marion Ross, Ph.D.) ; and after many discussions strongly encouraged us to publish a book (soon to be released) designed to assist people who struggle with implementing tools learned in business or entrepreneurial coaching programs due to self-sabotage. For more on Jay Conrad Levinson visit www.gmarketing.com
The polite phrases for bribes are “advertising specialties” or “free gifts.” Whatever term you use, know that bribes work on all demographic groups.
Bribes do a bang-up job of empowering your marketing. Unlike premiums, which may require a purchase, bribes are given for free and offered for free. Their primary purposes are to generate leads, increase name awareness, make friends, thank customers, boost store traffic, introduce new things, motivate people to act, and create an unconscious obligation to do business with you.
During the nineties, the most popular bribes in the United States have been T-shirts and baseball caps, jackets, headbands, writing instruments, desk and office accessories, scratchpads, and glassware and ceramics. Mousepads and screensavers are moving up fast. So is free information.
If you ever plan to lure prospects with a freebie, be certain to research that freebie first. Guerrillas not only research their market, their competition and their promotions, they also research the best premiums for their specific target audiences. They know problems arise when bribes aren’t matched with the audience. Problems also arise if the freebie breaks or wears out in a hurry. “They gave me this free desk clock and now it’s broken! They won’t see my face anymore.”
Marketing people invest over $15 billion on bribes each year. Reasons: they fit almost any marketing budget; they complement other media; they can be directed to selected audiences; people jump through hoops to get them for free. About the only disadvantage is the teeny-tiny space available to say anything to the recipient. There’s usually room for your name, possibly your theme line and logo, but that’s it.
So, do these bribes work? Well, 40% of people can remember the name of the advertiser as long as six months after receiving the free gift. And 31% use the gift at least one year after receiving it. That’s not even counting the high response. And the goodwill.
Probably the most popular of the old-time bribes were calendars. Today, with the average household having four calendars, you might be smart to consider them again.
A recent study proved that free gifts not only increased mail response, but also raised the dollar purchase per sale a whooping 321%. But don’t limit your thinking on ad specialties to merely the mail. They’re very effective at trade show booths, open houses, special events and grand openings. Naturally, they generate positive feeling about you. And those feelings often lead, not only to sales, but also to closer relationships. Guerrillas are always trying to increase the number of their close business relationships.
Once you’ve made the decision to try a bribe, ask these five questions: 1. How many people do I want to reach? 2. How much money do I have to spend? 3. What message do I want to print? 4. What gift will be most useful to my prospects? 5. Is this a unique and desirable gift? Would I want it?
Then, contact one of the 12,000 manufacturing and distributing firms or one of the 4,000 members of the Specialty Advertising Association International, and ask to look through their colorful and copious catalogs. You’ll find these firms listed in your Yellow Pages. You’ll probably be pleased at both their selection and their prices.
Companies that use enticements such as freebies find that their marketing, during the period of bribing, should focus upon the bribe. If you can show a handsome color photo of the enticement while offering it for free, you’re about to be hooked by this sorta sleazy, but very human method of increasing responses, traffic, leads and profits.
Sure, there will be the curiosity-seekers and freebie-seekers who will respond to your offering. But you won’t mind them once you see the awesome power of a free gift that looks and sounds exciting and valuable. A client of mine now sends postcards with a color photo of the bribe being offered along with the words, “A free gift for you!” Response rates are staggering. And yet, there’s not a word about the company.
Every guerrilla knows that the most powerful word in the language of marketing is “free.” They’ve learned that it correlates directly with the most powerful goal of marketing a business — profits.
– For more on Jay Conrad Levinson visit www.gmarketing.com