I have to confess I didn’t know much about promotional printing companies, but after a tour of one of the largest in the country, I found my eyes opening wide to the marketing possibilities, especially to the way promotional print might be going in the not too distant future.
I guess one of the main points about promotional print is that it can be a very cost-effective marketing medium. If you can produce an item which is useful for your target customers, then there’s a pretty good chance that it’ll get used. And if it does, then your brand is getting eyeballed many times over the period the item’s in use.
Which for a widget that costs something like one or two pounds, can prove very cost-effective indeed.
So it’s worth thinking long and hard about your customers; what they might like, what might appeal to them, and what your message might be. A logo and website address is probably the minimum these days – although a strapline describing who you are or what you do would be good to remind anyone who’s forgotten.
Technology & Pricing
There’s an incredible variety of printing presses of one sort or another being used to print on promotional items. Everything from 4 colour litho units all the way to transfers, pad printing and screen printing. Most were automated (as you’d expect) but it was surprising how many had to have a manual involvement. Items like pens can usually be fed from a hopper where they’re machine-oriented, then screen printed. But pens with uneven surfaces have to be hand-sorted and hand-printed!
Some lower print runs or printing on specialist items might also be more economically printed by hand. So, that explains some of the pricing variance between items that might seem more or less identical to the layman.
Pricing is also dependent on the supplier you go to. Some promotional suppliers are effectively resellers, buying off a variety of UK based suppliers. Others act as main importers from the East, while others actually manufacture many of the items in the UK. So it’s important to shop around, to not only make sure you get the best prices but also, in some cases, to get the item you want at all!
One thing we’re particularly excited about is the prospect of personalised promotional print. It’s very much dependent on the printing processes used, but there’s great potential for the integration of data with promotional print – allowing the possibility for wide-scale personalisation of promotional items. This could be database driven, choosing colours, product types and messages to personalise each item to the individual customer.
A fascinating tour and a real eye opener into the marketing opportunities and future of promotional printing.