Begin preparing for summer sports with promotional products

Though the summer is still a few months away, a small business can use the time leading up to international sports tournaments to prepare an organized promotional marketing approach. There are many events to choose from, but none are more visible than the London {Summer} Olympics and the Euro 2012 soccer championships.

These two contests only occur once every four years, and it is hard to duplicate the excitement that fills many countries during the summer, especially in the United States where international competitions are somewhat of a rarity. Companies can use promotional products and event giveaways to successfully market a brand image, but it is important to advertise well in advance to create a buzz around these strategies.

Pick a team to sponsor (unofficially)

The qualifications for many of these events have already taken place, and the teams and their athletes are finalized for the most part. Depending on the target audience that a small business is reaching out to, promotional products can be branded with simple patriotic messages that support a specific country or event. For example, a company that provides custom running shoes can give out promotional magnets that say “Good luck to the American sprinting team in London!”

By giving out these promotional items around March or April, a marketing manager can ensure that they will be placed on an office refrigerator for at least a few months, if not longer. This visibility means that employees will continue to see a company logo or message every time they open the door to retrieve their lunches.

Other simple methods can be used to endorse individual nations. Incorporating the colors of a national flag into a custom coffee mug or T-shirt can be a cost-effective way to promote support, and this strategy is applicable year-round because there is no particular reference to the Olympics or Euros. However, a small business must be certain not to use copyrighted images or information on these promotional items, as national teams and organizational committees often have unique brands that cannot be reprinted without permission. Unofficially sponsor a team through colors and flags without actually incorporating the Olympic logo.

Offer promotional products as a prize for accurate predictions

Just like the athletes at these competitions, everyone likes to feel like a winner, and promo giveaways allow small businesses to draw attention to their services in a wholesome and exciting way.

For instance, a company can give out USB flash drives that contain a link to a corporate website where potential customers can send their picks for each round of the tournament. At the conclusion of the summer, whoever has predicted the most winners can be given a highly-desirable promotional product that is slightly more expensive than the average gift.

This type of contest can even be themed like the Olympics, with gold, silver and bronze medals given out to first through third place. Such a strategy can not only increase website traffic but can also result in improved return on investment as more and more people sign up. However, managers should make sure the grand prize is something practical and relevant to ensure maximum turnout.

Remember to distribute as early as possible to generate the most hype

Since the road to the Olympics and Euros begins several years before the actual start date, it is never too early to give out promotional products. Qualification events occur year-round, and there is no reason why a wall calendar that incorporates the American team cannot be used to show support at any time. As stated earlier, a small business would do well to distribute promotional items early so that optimum profit margins can be reached.

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