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Wants vs. Needs: Promotional Products

Many managers regularly express interest in marketing for their business in one or more of the following ways:

  • We want to expand our brand recognition within the community.

  • We want to do more because more customers are out there.

  • We have a new service and want to get the word out.


Oftentimes, however, managers and owners fail to recognize and capitalize on opportunities to get that word out about that new service, or fail to implement their marketing plans to expand that brand recognition like they want to. Typically, time and money are the culprit here. BUT… I would argue that this failure is more-so due to the fact that many managers see their marketing and promotional needs as “wants”.


Try reading the above bullet points again; but this time, replace the word “want” with “need”. Notice a difference? Let’s look at them closely...


  • We NEED to expand our brand recognition within the community. The difference between a customer knowing vs. not knowing you exist in the first place.

  • We NEED to do more because more customers are out there. More customers ARE out there. Always. You don’t want more customers. You need them, right? Well then you Need to tell them where you are and what you do, don’t you?

  • We have a new service and NEED to get the word out. If your time and money are worth offering a new service/product, then your time and money are worth telling people about it.

The difference here is fundamental. Wants vs. Needs. Businesses don’t just want to grow. They NEED to grow. Otherwise, they will be passed up by another company that values growth more than they do. It's the world we live in.


So when it comes to choosing how to go about marketing in the right ways, what do you do to resolve this conundrum? Well, there’s more than one question I would pose to any specific manager:

  • What specific (or anticipated) problem do you need to solve for your business? This helps you narrow down your options significantly. If you only need to get the word out about a new item on your food menu, let’s get you a sign to have out front. If you want to keep your current customers happy, on the other hand, let’s look at thoughtful gifts for them that you can send or have ready when they visit.

  • If money weren’t a factor, what would you see done to best solve said problem? It’s always good to get the perfect-world perspective, because if successful people have taught us nothing else, isn’t it that “if you can see it, you can achieve it.”

  • How much do you value solving the problem you face? This is where it gets deeper. Sure, you know what the problem may be. You may know exactly how you WANT to solve it in a perfect world. However, by determining how much you value solving it, you understand and can conceptualize what NEEDS to be done right now to solve it. You can begin to see the power of creating the solutions you seek. And from that, you begin to see results. Everyone loves results.

Now, how do we tie in the wants and needs businesses have in relation to promotional products? I’m glad you asked… Promo products are your little army that fights for you even when you’re not there. They are your cost-effective way to get something tangible in the hands of a potential buyer. Essentially, they are a low-energy investment into your business.


Your business’ marketing hurdles can be solved using a combination of efforts. But, in the meantime, if a simple promo product can work for you alongside any additional strategies you put into place, AND if that simple promo product can be cost-friendly enough that it pays for itself if only a small percentage of customers respond, then don’t you NEED to take advantage of that? It takes a minimal amount of time to get them ordered and delivered to your door... or do you WANT to think about it?


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