Promotional Products for Startup Companies

Dana Udwin
March 1, 2011 — 1,897 views  
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Startup companies, or businesses still in the early stages of operation, are prime candidates to take advantage of the benefits that promotional products have to offer. Breaking into a competitive marketplace is difficult even in the best of times, as there are bound to be plenty of established companies already targeting your prospective customers. To hasten the pace with which you make a name for yourself in your focal industry, promotional products can spread your communication message efficiently and effectively with minimal up-front investment on your part. By educating yourself about consistently top performing promotional products, you can launch a proactive campaign to reach out to your desired investors and/or end users.

The biggest challenge for many startup companies is gaining traction with investors and venture capital firms. With promotional products, you can leave potential backers with a tangible reminder of your brand’s professionalism and preparedness. Taking the time to design inexpensive custom giveaways demonstrates your sincerity and determination to succeed, and interested investors may view your marketing savvy as a positive indicator of your business experience. Be wary of costly promotional products purchases during the early stages of inception, however, as investors may frown upon frivolous expenditures. Opt for small, bestselling promotional products like imprinted pens or highlighters to make an optimal impression on your audience. Even if investors decide to pass on your business proposition initially, the promotional products may drive them to take an interest in your idea and follow your progress as your company gains traction. As an entrepreneur, you should aim to foster relationships with as many prominent captains of industry as possible in order to further leverage your network over time.

As a strong opener to any business pitch and/or presentation, consider the value of providing printed collateral to your audience. Inserting informative printouts about your idea into elegant promotional products like leather portfolios or padfolios can communicate your enthusiasm to attendees. Statistics about the target market for your product or service, as well as data supporting the feasibility of your market entry, can sway uncertain investors’ minds in your favor. Letting them walk away with prestigious promotional products and pertinent factual evidence following your introduction can enhance your proposal and allow audience members to mull over your proposition from the comfort of their own office or home.

In the instance that you are forgoing the process of securing funding from outside parties to fund your startup independently, promotional products can enable you to directly appeal to end users. While investing your personal nest egg in a startup is a more risky decision, this alternative to relying on venture capital firms or angel investors allows entrepreneurs to retain more control of their operations and consequently, higher returns on investment, should the startup become profitable.

Limited startup capital may dictate the budget for purchasing promotional products, so drafting financial projections could be advantageous prior to finalizing your marketing agenda. Many startups gauge demand for their offerings by holding focus groups or surveys for select participants, and then use their research to back up claims made to prospective investors. This smart tactic leads to preliminary proof about your test market, which is crucial information on which to base pro formas and cost analyses. Entice survey subjects with promotional products they can enjoy using anywhere, such as executive keychains or reusable grocery totes.

Whether you decide to pinpoint investors or end users initially, do not reveal too much information about your business on any promotional products. Releasing proprietary knowledge to the public during these early years could be detrimental to the future success of your startup. It is entirely possible to utilize promotional products to generate buzz about your brand without fully explaining the details of your business idea, and intellectual property protection may provide additional defense against untrustworthy individuals. Much of the value of a business directly correlates to its intellectual capital and it would be a shame to witness a startup attempt fail due to inadequate safeguarding of ideas. If you are currently laying the groundwork for a startup company or have any plans to launch a startup at a later date, consider tactfully incorporating promotional products into your marketing mix to sweeten the deal for your target audience.

Dana Udwin is currently employed as the Team Lead of Social Media for Pinnacle Promotions. Through her blogs and other online publications, she has researched and written about a wide variety of topics related to promotional marketing. Visit Pinnacle Promotions online to browse their full selection of promotional products and learn how to integrate these valuable business tools into your marketing mix.

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Dana Udwin