How to Pick the Right Promotional Product Company. by Jessica Hodges
We all know that there is a whole lot of planning that goes into executing a promotional marketing initiative. Once you have your campaign strategy in place, it’s time to start thinking about where to buy the items that you need to successfully communicate your message.
There is a lot to consider when choosing a company to help you with your campaign. The last thing a marketer needs is to sprout more gray hairs worrying about why their order hasn’t arrived at their offices yet… the night before the event!
To make matters worse, when you call the company’s customer service for help, no one answers. So now you’re scrambling to pick up the pieces with a migraine headache, your resignation letter on standby, a cup of coffee with 6 shots of espresso in one hand and a clump of your own hair in the other. OMG we’re getting gray hairs just thinking about it.
It’s every marketer’s worst nightmare right? But fear not! Let’s clear the clutter with some helpful tips on how to choose the right company with the right customer service for your needs. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a promotional goods company.
Security and Reputation are Key
Make sure that the promotional company you are considering has some indication that their website is secure. Some examples might include “Google Trusted Source” or a “Verisign Secured” icons. The last thing you want is your credit card information floating around somewhere, which can put you and your business at risk.
You also want to make sure that the business is accredited. The Better Business Bureau (the BBB) is a highly respected accreditation association which is dedicated to fostering honest relationships between businesses and consumers. You can search any company’s profile, find information on their accreditation status, and view any filed complaints against the company. You can even see how complaints were handled by the company. The BBB grades on a system of A+ through F- an easy to understand way to compare companies within their industry.
Customer reviews are also very telling on how a company does business. Were the complaints resolved in a timely manner? Has the company delivered its services promised? Hearing the skinny from customers is a good way to feel out how a company does business.
The User Experience
Ok! So now we know that the company you chose is secure and in good standing. Now, let’s take a look at their website. There are a couple of things to consider. Is their website easy to navigate? Can you find what you are looking for quickly or did it take you 35 years to find the promotional t-shirts tab? Is the layout clean and organized, or cluttered with a lot of visual noise?
Anyone who has purchased promotional products in the past knows that it is already difficult to find exactly what you are looking for. It’s even more difficult when you have the added burden of trudging through a messy and unorganized website. Choosing a vendor with an organized site will help make your buying experience seamless and much less time consuming, so you can spend those 35 years doing something else like, oh we don’t know… How about retiring!
Another thing to keep in mind is the customization process. Is the company’s web interface user-friendly? Is the process of uploading and positioning your logo simple and easy to understand? You want to make sure that you have as much flexibility as you need when it comes to customization. Maybe you want to add text along with a graphic, or need help with design ideas. Are there customer service representatives available to help you if you run into issues? It may not seem like much now but trust us, taking the time to navigate through the customization process before you commit to buy, will save you lots of trouble later on. That brings us to…
Customer Service and Added Perks
Remember that nightmare we mentioned earlier? In most cases, the pursuit of saving a few bucks buying products can come at the cost of poor or non-existent customer service. It’s very stressful when you can’t get your questions answered in a timely manner, or even worse, AT ALL! Make sure that the business you choose has a well developed customer service department. Being available via email, phone, live chat and having a dedicated account executive are basic customer service must haves. The company you choose should at least have some combination of these services, which will help ease your mind and give you access to real people in the event of an emergency.
You should also find out what perks the company has. Do they have a well defined guarantee? Do they offer any super saver shipping packages or rush delivery services? How about free samples? Companies that provide such services will give you more flexibility and buying options that can better cater to your campaign needs.
Like any brand building approach, the use of promotional products is an investment that can either make or break your company’s image. Before you hand over that credit card, make sure to do your homework and look into the company you decide to do business with. If your company selection is based solely on cutting corners, it could cost you your entire campaign.