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The Surprise Inside!


Think about all those Cracker Jacks you ate as a kid. What’s your lasting memory? I’m guessing it’s not the taste, but the surprise inside – that tiny package that contained a simple puzzle, brain teaser or temporary tattoo. Today, I still glance over my kids’ shoulders reliving fond memories every time they open one.

The goal of promotional marketing for your small business is to put a smile on the face of the recipient, and give them something to remember you by when you call. It goes beyond the traditional postcards and newsletters approach. It’s 3-D, and it provides perceived value, regardless of the cost.

Few people will unceremoniously toss out a box without checking first to see what’s inside. Similarly, if the envelope has a lump in it, people are likely to open it and take a look. That hope of hidden treasure makes folks pay attention.

If you’re thinking about including promotional items in your marketing campaign, here are some things to consider:

  • What do I hope to accomplish and what response am I looking to receive? Where possible, quantify the expected results: “We’ll send this to 150 targeted prospects, follow-up with every one by phone within three weeks, and set sales appointments with 20.”
  • Who am I going to reach? Determine your perfect target audience. Is it your current prospect and/or customer list, members of the Chamber, a purchased mailing list, or some other group? Be specific.
  • With your team, brainstorm some creative ideas that might attract potential customers. Choose a theme that best supports your products and services, and your image.
  • Identify every component of your promotion: action steps, timeline, responsibility assignments and how you’ll follow-up with prospects.
  • Create a budget. Remember to include all costs and when they will be incurred.
  • Let everyone know when the promotion begins so they can track results. Share progress with your entire team.

Good Examples: An equipment manufacturer developed a two-part promotion to introduce existing clients to a new product line and upgrades. The first piece was a custom-designed box containing candy (“One Sweet Deal”), along with a business reply card that asked questions tied to the new equipment. The second was a similar box containing a glass jar (engraved with the manufacturer’s logo, of course). Inside was a brochure and note thanking the recipient for responding. Throughout the year, the company sent candy to refill the jars.

The best promotional idea I’ve heard recently comes from one of our clients. After learning the post office will deliver just about any shaped item, their highly creative sales associate mailed miniature pumpkins to a targeted list (picture those orange gourds that fit in the palm of your hand). They slapped a mailing label and postage right on the pumpkins and took them to the post office. In follow-up calls, they received an over-the-top recognition response, and, more importantly, made several new customers.

With so many offers arriving in the mail these days, it takes creativity for your small business to stand out from the crowd and grab someone’s attention. Come up with the right promotional idea, and you may surprise your prospects and yourself.

Copyright © 2004 by Success Handler, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Coach, David Handler, is the founder of Success Handler, (, and specializes in helping small business leaders find clarity and take action. He understands the challenges of running a business, because he’s been there – as a small business owner, franchisee, franchisor, corporate leader and trainer. Much like sports coaches, his coaching will show you how to compete on a level playing field in your industry.

The Surprise Inside!

(Via EzineArticles.)

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