Top 10 Promotional Product Purchasing Pitfalls

Orbit Water Bottle 7858by Debbie Yearwood, BASI | Promotional Consultant | Perry Office Plus

Some people enjoy shopping for promotional products, while others find it a daunting process. Whether or not you work with me, here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking for that perfect promo.

1. Not comparing apples to apples.

As you’re looking at items, don’t decide on price alone. Factors such as quality, source, production time, and imprint method can affect the price. I often recommend a “Good/Better/Best” range of items, so you can choose the item that suits your promotional needs AND budget.

2. Not doing the math.

When determining your budget, don’t forget that many items have additional costs such as setup fees for each imprint color and design, run charges for additional imprint colors or locations, and shipping costs. These extra costs can add up quickly and make your inexpensive promo, a real budget-buster.

3. Waiting too long to order.

Sometimes last-minute events or promotional opportunities come up, and I’m often able to assist. But it usually comes at a cost — in the form of a rush fee, expedited shipping, or waiving a proof. The further ahead you can plan, the better. It’s best to start your promotional product search at least 6-8 weeks in advance, in case of delays and dips in inventory levels.

4. Not getting a sample.

I’m familiar with a wide variety of products, but I often encourage my clients to get a sample of promotional items I’m not as familiar with (or from suppliers I don’t know well). It only takes about a week to get a sample and it can save you some disappointment in the long run if something about the item isn’t quite what you’re expecting.

5. Choosing the wrong item.

Just because YOU like a promotional product, doesn’t mean it’s the one for your audience. Plus, the trendy thing a few years ago is probably different today. It’s also important to consider things like the size of your imprint area in relation to the complexity of your logo. Busy logo? Don’t choose a pen with a teeny-tiny imprint area. There are a lot of factors like this to consider.

6. Choosing the wrong imprint color.

Contrary to what many people think, black doesn’t stand out on every color. Colors that clash, don’t fit your marketing scheme, don’t show up well, or cost extra are all pitfalls to watch out for.

7. Not using clean, vector artwork.

It’s worth an investment to make sure you have a clean, printable, vector version of your logo handy at all times. Almost every printer can use a file that was created in Adobe Illustrator. If you’re not sure what you have is vector, just send it to me, and I will check it out. We can also “vector-ize” your artwork to make sure it’s ready to print.

8. Inconsistent branding.

Whether you stick to a certain color scheme, a single slogan, or a certain style of promotional products, keeping your branding consistent across multiple promotional items means better brand recognition and easier re-orders.

9. Using questionable vendors.

On the internet, there’s no telling where something is coming from or who you’re dealing with. Sometimes prices really are too good to be true, or an item looks a lot better in a picture than it is in person. I’ve heard horror stories of vendors who went out of business after the client paid for their product — and never saw their order. Don’t let it happen to you! Vet your vendors. Over the years, I’ve built relationships with many reputable suppliers, both domestic and overseas, and work with them regularly, and Perry Office Plus is an established, reputable company with the resources to handle any just about any project.

10. Not working with a pro.

Not to sound like I’m bragging, but this one can solve almost all of the above pitfalls. In short, when you work with a professional Promotional Consultant like myself, at a reputable company like Perry Office Plus, you’ve got more assurance than ever that your product will be correct, on-time, and effective. And don’t forget my BASI designation.

Let’s get started working on your next marketing promotion, incentive plan, client thank-you gift, or giveaway. Call me at (800) 234-6605 or email And be sure and visit our online project gallery for inspiration.

About Perry Office Plus
We're Central Texas' largest independent office products & furniture dealer and have been locally owned and operated since our establishment in 1920. Visit our website to shop for all your office supplies and call any of our fantastic Customer Service Reps if you have any questions or need help with your office products.

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