Magazine article Marketing

Desperately Seeking Sources? Call in the Professionals

Magazine article Marketing

Desperately Seeking Sources? Call in the Professionals

Article excerpt

The novice faces endless pitfalls in a worldwide hunt for merchandise, says Don Wood

Sales promotion campaigns which make use of premium merchandise are among the most cost-effective and easily quantifiable forms of marketing.

They have accounted for between 40% and 50% of all promotions since the mid-80s, according to statistics published by MS Surveys. The importance of finding the right premium cannot be over-emphasised.

Merchandise used in campaigns must, of course, appeal to the target market. It must have the correct perceived value-to-cost ratio which will demonstrate the benefits of the promotion to the prospective buyer of the carrier brand. And it must also be cost-efficient for the promoter.

The process of arriving at the correct premium obviously begins with designing the right idea for the target market. Translating this into the right finished product at the right price and on time is, however, a very different proposition.

Sourcing the premium, to use the correct terminology, is much more than simply looking in a directory or buyer's guide under the appropriate heading and making half a dozen telephone calls.

Much promotional merchandise is sourced from abroad and the ramifications of dealing with a complex process from manufacturing to delivery should not be left to the inexperienced. Indeed, in recent years there has been a boom in the growth of specific sourcing specialists.

Should the recipient of the premium be disappointed in the merchandise, the long-term damage to the carrier brand cannot be underestimated. Although not a merchandise-based promotion, the Hoover fiasco demonstrates this point: the brand name will be linked to the over-subscribed travel promotion for years to come.

It is far better to have a series of successful promotions that may add up to the biggest ever over a long term, than a one-off blockbuster which leaves disappointment in its wake.

So what are the main points to consider when sourcing merchandise from abroad?

Manufacturing specifications are affected not only by budget, but also by numerous directives on product safety and general standards. This means that expert quality control procedures must be in place. …

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