I've attended so many conferences where pens, usb keys, magnets and other little bits of plastic have been handed out by the bucketload as "gifts". The idea made sense 20 years ago, it was a memorable gift that people kept and used. When was the last time you received a piece of plastic that was memorable? Do you remember?
Marketing professionals are busier than ever, managing a range of new marketing channels within tight budgets. Managing experiences at trade shows, conferences and other large scale events is incredibly challenging. The "pieces of plastic" phenomenon is just one more thing. "We always get these pens". "Can we get some USB keys or something".
If we take a step back and were starting again, I don't think anybody would actively choose to give a potential customer a pen. And they certainly wouldn't give a cheap pen - I mean, who is still using ball point pens? Better to give your customer a slap in the face, at least that's memorable.
The challenge for marketers now to is to identify what will actually engage your customer - everybody is looking for an experience. How do you do this for a couple of $$'s?
Well, what we don't need is to move away from a pen to a cheap reusable mug that spills all over your shirt. When did it become acceptable to put a cheap sticker of your brand on a rubbish pre-made product? That brand you love. That brand you spend so much time and money marketing. Every time you link your brand to an inferior product it dies a little.
I believe that if we're making a product for a brand, we should make it from scratch. We shouldn't stick stickers on things and call them our brand. We shouldn't pick "red" as the color when we know the exact pantone. It's now possible to create custom products from scratch in really small quantities (100 units). This would have been impossible 5 years ago.
Making something from scratch is an amazing experience - it's also new. You don't have all those ridiculous constraints where you have a choice of 10 colors. We setup Roody Originals to create amazing stuff, made from scratch in low order quantities.
We don't do the small pieces of plastic thing. We make amazing, fun socks, beanies and ugly sweaters. All made from scratch. Your labels. Your messaging. Stuff people actually want.
It's worth a thought - check out our work