Highs And Lows

PPAI’s 2011 study, “High End, Low End: Which Promotional Products Work Best,” reveals that the price of promotional products does, in fact, impact consumer attitudes. Five in 10 respondents have a higher opinion of an advertiser after receiving an item costing $25 or more. Only two in 10 report a more favorable impression after receiving a promotional product costing less than $5.

Respondents also declare that the advertiser’s reputation is on the line when it comes to promotional goods. Choose a flimsy product, and 40 percent think less of the company. Another 40 percent say their overall perception of the advertiser depends on other factors, and 20 percent think the quality of the product isn’t a direct reflection on the advertiser.

Selecting the right products is tricky business, but you don’t need to blow the budget to score big with consumers. To prove that promotions can rock at any price point, PPB interviewed two distributors: one with success selling high-end products, and one who created a stellar campaign on a budget. Here are their stories.

Hit The Mark With High-End Products
Cameron Monaco of Denver, Colorado-based Kaspo, Inc. (UPIC: Kaspo705) is familiar with using higher-priced products to achieve a campaign’s objective. When his long-time client, a law firm, was facing an issue with a sedentary workforce, Monaco swooped in with a creative solution—and a few big-ticket items to get the staff moving.

“The employees sit in front of computers all the time, and my client wanted them to get up and get moving,” he explains. “They wanted to promote a happy, healthy workforce.”

Monaco knew just the way to do it. “We came up with something called the ‘Move It Challenge,’” he says. “We created a competition using pedometers and gym bags stocked with workout shirts, water bottles and towels. Employees tracked their steps every week, and at the end of the competition, those with the most number of steps were announced at a Colorado Rockies game.”

Monaco didn’t face resistance with the cost of the items because he sat down with the client and mapped it out in advance. He encourages other distributors to do the same.

“We set a budget of $125 per person for 175 employees,” he says, “and just incorporated all the products into the mix. As long as it’s driving results, that’s all the client can ask for. The cost of the item shouldn’t matter.

“In fact,” Monaco adds, “higher-priced items benefit the client in another way, too: It makes them look good.”

Score Big With Low-End Products
For Matt Kaspari, CAS, also with Kaspo, Inc., the key part of campaigns is engagement—not the price of the item. “Engagement is the cornerstone of building authentic relationships,” he says. “We always strive to get or keep the audience motivated to participate in opportunities with our clients.”

One way Kaspari has achieved this is by using low-cost scratch cards. The idea has worked for a number of industries ranging from construction to healthcare, and Kaspari attributes it to one thing: It’s fun. “It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in—people like to gamble,” he says.

At tradeshows, scratch cards are a particularly engaging way to get a big return on investment. Kaspari will strategically place higher-value items around the booth, and then use the scratch cards to interact with attendees.

“You can buy a few nicer items to attract people, and then strike up a conversation when handing them a scratch card,” Kaspari says. “There will be a handful of people who win the nice items, but the majority will ‘win’ the low-cost item you were going to give away anyway.”

Kaspari’s advice when working with a tighter-than-usual budget? Be creative. “I talk to my clients about this all the time—it’s in the messaging,” he says. “If you message them correctly, low-cost items can have a big impact. We’ve been successful with lower-cost items because we message them correctly.”

Audrey Sellers is an associate editor for PPB.


PPB polled distributor readers online to find out the priciest products they’ve sold and how their businesses are spread between high- and low-end products. The results are in.

What’s the highest-value product you’ve ever sold?
Less than $25 … 10%
$25+ … 10%
$50+ … 40%
$100+ … 20%
$200+ … 20%

Is the bulk of your business selling high-end ($25+) or low-end (less than $5) products?
Low end … 43%
A mix of high- and low-end … 57%


Want To Use A High-End Product? Here’s What To Expect.
•28 percent think you’re thanking them for their business
•23 percent believe you want to make them aware of your company, product or service
•14 percent consider the item a token of recognition for their service
•13 percent think the item is motivation to get them to accomplish a particular task
•Seven percent are unsure why they’re receiving the item

Source: PPAI’s 2011 study “High End, Low End: Which Promotional Products Work Best?”


How Recipients Feel About Low-End Products
•Seven percent are significantly more receptive to the advertiser and objective
•25 percent are somewhat receptive to the company
•65 percent don’t have a reaction one way or the other

Source: PPAI’s 2011 study “High End, Low End: Which Promotional Products Work Best?”

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