This article was written with the end user in mind by PromoKitchen Chef Kirby Hasseman of Hasseman Marketing When creating a promotional campaign, you want a creative powerful promotion that will wow customers and affect human behavior. That is what a great Promotional Products campaign can do...affect change. The best campaigns can create an increase in direct mail opens, engagement on social media, create a safer work place or increase sales!
But in addition to making sure you create a campaign that "hits the mark," most organizations want to make sure they are getting a fair shake on price. No one wants to over pay...and no one wants to be taken advantage of! So many organizations create a bidding process to ensure the best price. While this is understandable, in theory, it's important to consider the cost of such a campaign.
Yes...there is a cost.
First, it's important to note that if the first part of this equation is NOT true (you have an effective promotional campaign), then the second part (the cost) really doesn't matter. You are now just spending money to spend it. No good would come from that...agreed?
So if you have a trusted promotional advisor then their job is to help you create those effective campaigns. The best relationships like this are like partnerships. You share the themes, goals, and budget with them (if you don't create them together) and they provide you ideas that help you reach those goals. It's a win-win, because you get great ideas (hopefully) and they get the business.
But when you take their creative concepts and bid them out on the individual products, it's a different relationship entirely. The relationship becomes entirely transactional. That is fine (if that's what you want) but you start to rob yourself of the value of the advisor.
If you take their ideas and bid them out, they are not likely to bring you ideas again. And if they do, they won't put the time and effort into them. After all, you have told them (by your actions) that the ideas are not what you value. So they may decide not to provide you ideas at all.
"Let me know when you decide what you want," they might say. "Then we will be glad to provide a bid."
What does that mean, in dollars and cents?
Let's say your hourly rate is $15 per hour. In order to get a creative and effective promotional campaign, you could easily spend a day looking for ideas. Then you might spend another day going through bids to make sure they are accurate (and comparing apples to apples). So that's two days of your time. In most cases, pricing between competitive promotional distributors is going to be close. So you might save a nickel per piece. If you ordered 1000 of whatever promotional item you decide on, you have "saved" $50. But you spent $240 to do it.
Of course this does not factor in your creativity. It doesn't call to attention that a good partner is probably attending industry shows (and seeing the latest and greatest promotional items) and you are not.
But at the end of the day, you have lost a free, trusted, creative, outside source. It's a choice, and it's yours to make. Of course if you don't have that trusted source, that's a different conversation. But if you do, you might be wise not to drive them away.
So just ask yourself...what is your time worth?