Small business owners are often hard-pressed to create innovative promotional products. The promotional market is inundated with thousands upon thousands of similar items, and sometimes the cost of manufacturing unordinary business gifts is much higher than the possible return on investment. However, marketing managers should be sure to focus on the unique distribution and placement of products as much as on the items themselves.
Current marketing trends laud the massive visibility that unusual markets such as bathroom stalls offer. Businesses can take advantage of the downtime associated with menial tasks, because potential customers will be isolated from other distractions. A great way to capitalize on this is to reach out to people waiting in line.
Dubbed "wait marketing" by the industry, the concept centers around the idea that regardless of the service being offered, everyone will have to wait in line at some point. Traditional advertisers already take advantage of this by posting special displays near queue areas, so a small business owner can go one step further and offer free promotional products via a similar method.
For example, at a restaurant people may need to wait in line to be seated or to pay a check. A bowl on the counter that contains small pillow cases of candy or mints will provide the perfect pre- or post-meal snack and promote a constant brand image to those who don't even take a piece. Anyone who is employing this strategy must note, however, that many public places require explicit permits to give out such promotional products – no business owner should ever place something in a public environment without permission.
Less direct approaches with more traditional promotional products can also be employed with great results. Items like custom wall calendars can be given out to businesses that often have long lines. If hung in the right location, these calendars will project a corporate message or logo to anyone who wants to check the date.
Of course, if all of these methods fail, the easiest way to take advantage of people waiting in line is to simply set up a promotional giveaway in the near vicinity of the queue. It already works in the food industry for restaurants that give out free samples to those waiting in line at different shops.
Small business owners should view wait marketing as the ideal way to reach out to an unusual target demographic and generate positive branding.