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What Promotional Items Should You Give Away?

Give adcentives your clients will treasure.

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Give a client a pen with your logo on it, and it might end up in the trash. Stick your logo on a stainless steel commuter cup or a stress ball, and you can bet your client won't let it get lost in the shuffle.

The point? "By making your advertising specialty different, you get clients' attention," says Rick Crandall, author of eight marketing books and owner of Select Press, a Corte Madera, California, publisher of marketing books and newsletters. "If you give away something clever and interesting, they'll remember you and tell others about you."

That means staying power that could lead to loyal customers, old and new. "It's best to give clients something that'll sit on their desks-not in it-so that your name is always right in front of them," says Crandall.

The most common adcentives are calendars, T-shirts, mouse pads, refrigerator magnets and key chains. All good choices--but how can you be more original?

Add your logo to diskette carrying cases, ID holders for use at conferences, letter openers, license plate frames, calculators, memo holders or cellular phone carriers. Depending on the client, you could also try yo-yos, puzzles and games, holiday novelties, shoelaces, towels--even toothbrushes or suntan lotion.

There are literally thousands of promotional products on the market, so consider hiring a consultant to develop a theme appropriate to your budget. You can also try organizations like the Advertising Specialty Institute (http://www.promomart.com) and the Promotional Products Association International (http://www.ppa.org) for fresh ideas, or consult your Yellow Pages for local dealers.

Just make sure the adcentive makes sense for your company, and get to it. "Tie it in to your business," advises Crandall. "Try to customize it to your [target market]."