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Do’s and Don’ts of B2B Promo Marketing

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing requires lots of touchpoints and nurturing to score sales. Decision-makers’ preferences and needs are changing, too, so your consulting firm needs to keep its finger on the pulse of what makes clients sign on the dotted line. 

Whether you’re doing account-based marketing (ABM) or traditional B2B, you need every tool in your arsenal to get ahead. In a world awash with digital content, ads, and social media posts, sometimes the best way to get potential clients’ attention is to go back to basics. 

Why not combine your digital strategies with in-person marketing tactics like promotional products? Promo generates an impressive return on investment and, while it’s a little trickier to track than digital strategies, it still has a place in your firm’s marketing strategy. 

But switching away from a purely digital approach might feel unnerving. If you’re itching to try something new, follow these do’s and don’ts of B2B promo product marketing to move the needle for your brand. 

towfiqu-barbhuiya-0ZUoBtLw3y4-unsplashThe Do’s of B2B Promo Marketing for Consulting Firms

Focus on Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to B2B promo items, less is more. Your goal here is to build long-term professional relationships, so you want to wow your prospects. We don’t have anything against flashlight pens or frisbees, but this type of marketing requires a more refined touch. 

B2B leads rarely convert right away. It could take time to warm them up, but quality promotional items will certainly break the ice. 

Select promo items that reflect your high standard of service. Look at retail products like Bose headphones or Columbia shirts to make a bigger impression.

These communicate a sense of excellence and attention to detail, giving prospects a sense of exclusivity and personalized attention. 

Personalize Whenever Possible

B2B marketing is more buttoned-up than business-to-consumer (B2C) product marketing, but these prospects expect some personalization. Successful consulting firms tailor their promo items to each prospect’s needs, interests, and preferences. 

For example, a consulting firm working with a tech company might offer tech gadgets, like a custom USB drive or a branded smart notebook, while a firm specializing in environmental consulting might choose eco-friendly cork Bluetooth speakers.

You usually know the names and titles of the people you meet in B2B, so personalization is a cinch. You can also customize promo by:

  • Adding the recipient’s name or monogrammed initials
  • Creating custom packaging or prints tailored to each recipient
  • Selecting items based on the prospect’s hobbies
  • Adding your client’s logo 

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Make It Sustainable

Sustainability might have started as a more niche interest, but this lifestyle choice is growing in popularity every day. When it’s time to make an impression, go with eco-friendly promo options. You want promo that will really knock your clients' socks off, after all. 

Maybe you order journals made from pineapple leather or one with seeds embedded in the paper. Or maybe you hand out biodegradable bamboo battery banks. So many clients want to work with firms that care about the environment, so opting for eco-promo is both a clever conversation starter and a potential deal-maker. 

Most sustainable promo options are on par with conventional products in terms of pricing, too, so going green has never been so affordable. 

Blend Promo With Technology

Promotional products are an offline marketing tactic, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw attribution out the window. In fact, combining promotional products with technology is a smart move that encourages client engagement and data collection.

There are plenty of ways to blend promo with technology, including:

  • Passing out items with QR codes, NFC tags, or pre-loaded USBs featuring an exclusive app or digital content.
  • Building an augmented reality (AR) experience. Maybe you pass out mini compasses that clients use to go on an AR-powered treasure hunt. 
  • Linking to virtual events or pre-recorded webinars via a QR code on the product. 

Since B2B sales pipelines are so long, adding a techie angle to your promo initiatives is in your best interest. This approach gives you even more client touchpoints to deepen relationships and (hopefully) seal deals. 

Four B2B Promo Marketing Faux Pas To Avoid

Opting for Low-Quality Products

Tight marketing budgets or deadlines sometimes lead consulting firms to choose lower-quality products to save a few bucks. It’s tempting, but avoid these low-quality items at all costs. 

Remember, the goal of promo marketing is to make a solid impression. Giving prospects scratchy T-shirts or glitchy flashlights will only hurt your brand. You want them to recognize you for quality, so get creative with your budgeting or product sourcing to maximize your resources.


Over-Branding Your Products

It’s always a good idea to add your logo or brand name on B2B promo items. However, some brands fall into the trap of over-branding their promo products. 

For example, if you order really nice Arc’teryx backpacks and plaster them with your logo in a distracting way, what are the odds that the client will actually use that backpack? Or think of your brand in a good light when they use it? 

B2B leads want to see some sophistication and restraint, so work with a professional designer to avoid over-branding your products.

Overlooking a Distribution Strategy

Passing out promo products willy-nilly is a big promo don’t. Not everyone at a client meeting is a good candidate for promo. For example, some assistants might not have decision-making power—do they really need a pricey Solo Stove?

Be strategic about who gets which pieces of promo. To maximize your budget and resources, give higher-quality promo to decision-makers. You can always give more junior contacts or assistants something nice, like a pair of branded Bluetooth headphones, so they don’t feel left out. 

However you prefer to do it, agree with your team on a distribution strategy before passing out promo. This approach helps with budget management and prevents understocking or overstocking.


Forgetting To Measure Performance

We get it: marketing attribution is tricky. However, it’s still possible to measure the impact of your promotional marketing campaigns. We know your CFO wants to see hard numbers to justify promo spend, so always remember to track performance. 

This is a little trickier than, say, digital performance, where everything tracks automatically, but promo attribution is still possible. For example, you can add a QR code to a product that goes to a unique URL for each promo initiative. If a QR doesn’t make sense, you can also try unique coupons or promotional codes. 

A quick check of your Google Analytics will tell you how many people took the next step by scanning the QR and interacting with your brand digitally. 

Powerful Promotion for B2B Firms

As a consulting firm, you know the value of out-of-the-box approaches. Sometimes you have to try a new way of doing things, especially when it comes to marketing your firm. Follow the do’s and don’ts in this guide to ace your first promotional marketing campaign in style. 

To see results without the learning curve, tap Boundless for your consulting promo projects. Our promotional marketing experts help brands create innovative and (dare we say?) revolutionary marketing campaigns that turn heads and win hearts. See what all the commotion’s about: Learn more about Boundless’ process for Creating Brand Love™. 

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