How do you show that you’re more than a run-of-the-mill distributor? New York-based distributor Axis Promotions (UPIC: axispromo) sends out detailed self-promo gifts designed to spur interoffice chatter. The company’s latest self promotion focused on communication forms—from mailboxes and tin-can telephones to Facebook—and won Axis a 2012 PPAI Image Award.
“The detail that goes into it is what I think really impresses our clients,” say Larry Cohen, president of Axis Promotions.
Cohen and his staff created a mailing that featured a leatherette mailbox lined with custom fabric and filled with a postcard, personalized stationery, ear buds, a tin-can telephone and an Axis catalog.
Designed to be the first visual seen in each mailbox, the postcard pulled the promotion together. On the card’s front, a drawing depicts a young boy and girl playing with a tin-can telephone and reads, “How do you send text messages?” The back reads, “We’re just a call, text or e-mail away!”
The communication theme was based on Axis’ belief in the importance of communicating with clients on a personal level. This means spending time interacting face-to-face with clients, taking time to touch base over the phone, mailing items to clients when they relate directly to their brands and always being a call, text or e-mail away.
Extras in the package included a call to action to join Axis on Facebook for a chance to win a free iPad and candy.
Axis sent out the mailing in March, opting to send a teaser e-card in December to let recipients know something special was on the way.
“We don’t send things out at the holidays,” Cohen explains. “Even though we do it a lot for our clients, we’re not a big believer in it as far as ourselves. Some clients feel like they have to do it at that time of year, but we feel like there is so much going on around that time that it makes sense to do things either before that December break or after it.”
Axis sends out several mailings throughout the year—Cohen says a summer promotion is on its way—to entice prospects, maintain ties with clients and, quite honestly, irk the competition.
“We are always pushing to make it something that will really stand out,” Cohen says. “We even get calls from our friendly competitors—‘I was just in the client’s office, and I saw your gift. You blew our gift away.’—That’s kind of fun. We rib each other.”
Cohen says many recipients display their mailboxes on their desks or use them as inboxes. “You never know what will resonate with some people,” he says. “Some say the mailbox is cool, and others focus on another element.” In the development stage, Cohen anticipated the mailbox would be the big attention grabber, but he adds that the nostalgia people feel toward the tin-can telephones has been just as strong.
One of the most challenging aspects of the mailing was the attention to detail—from specialty lining in the mailbox to sticky notes personalized with the first initial of each client.
“Sometimes the big concepts come easy,” Cohen says. “And then as you get more into it you have to keep going back to what you originally started doing. We have to remind ourselves that the goal is not to just get something done.”
While personalization is always challenging—Cohen extends big kudos to the fulfillment partner Axis used on the project—it is always worth it.
“This project would have been a lot easier if we hadn’t personalized them,” Cohen says. “But it reinforced the message that we try to tell people, which is what you give away should be something that people feel like you put thought into. It’s not just that I picked the least expensive item that I could find.”
Client Axis Promotions
Project Type Self promotion
Results Axis received business from 21 new clients and invitations to 10 major RFPs
Quantity 1,500 pieces
Audience Main buyers at existing and prospective accounts with sales volume or potential sales of $25,000 or more