A lot of students are graduating from high school and going off to college. For this reason and more, families will try to form priceless memories, see new sights and build bonds that will last a lifetime this summer. Even though summer is usually an optimistic time for many, there are reasons for people to get sentimental about old vacation spots and memories past, but businesses should be careful not to tread this track. While playing off past emotions may sound like a good way of bringing in return patrons, it’s actually been shown to sabotage advertising.
A study by RetailNext found sales are low across the nation, a fact that usually spurs businesses to increase promotional giveaways and other advertising strategies, but especially given the charged time of year, choosing a direction carefully is essential.
A Nielson survey published by Web Pro News found funny advertisements have always outperformed expensive or emotional calls for action, even before the economy turned sour. This reinforces the idea behind promotional items – a company does not need to spend a mountain of money on advertising for it to be effective and successful. According to Nielson, the current success rate for entertaining ads is almost twice that of costly marketing campaigns, with sentimental commercials and promos falling right between the two.
It’s important to note, however, that before the recession, while funny ads were still the most popular, they have seen a decline in effectiveness equal to the percent increase in the tear-jerker variety. While that still makes entertainment the clear overall winner, it does mean that promotional items meant to serve a sentimental purpose could be more popular, especially with families about to suffer a subtraction.
The RetailNext survey found that graduates aren’t getting big gifts the way they used to before the economic recession, but that shoppers are still finding online sales more tempting than visiting stores. Businesses may want to consider stronger promo incentives to turn these numbers around, pushing products that are a little less frivolous but still lend themselves to bonding activities might prove beneficial. Personalized pocket knives, engraved pens and other promotions can easily be gifted by money-conscious parents sending kids off to college and will serve as both practical and sentimental gifts.
The Nielson data reflects a change in the retail market, not only for advertising but also in shopping trends. Recent months have shown more giftcards and lower in-store sales conversion, as more customers take their purchases to the internet and mobile devices. Promotional items can bring more people into the store, encouraging impulse shopping and boosting brand awareness. These free items will continue to serve as free marketing tools once they leave with a consumer, and while they may not carry the same impact as when the person first received it, promos will at least raise interest among third party viewers, potentially bringing revenue to the business.
The key is to make sure these items get into a customer’s hands, either to be kept as a personal reminder or gifted as a memento. Playing toward consumer wants will help bring more business, so focusing on positive messages and driving humor can really pop with people. However, don’t undersell the emotional importance of a time-tested personal statement.