April 2015

Big-Box vs. Boutique:
Apples to Apples to Apple Pie

In News by Lynn Pechinski

Who’s the Best Partner for Your Marketing Campaign?

When your company needs marketing materials and promotional products, where do you turn? If you’re like many business owners, you’ll first consult an online or big-box retailer (such as Staples or 4imprint) because of your familiarity with their brand. There is an assumption that these large retailers have a wealth of product knowledge and availability as well as a lower cost. However, this is not always the case, and a smaller, “boutique” marketing, printing and promotions company may be your best bet for making your promotional product campaign a huge – and affordable – success!

Cost vs. Value

While larger retailers can sometimes offer a better price, a smaller and more specialized business can offer better value, selection, quality and a level of product knowledge that the retailers can’t compete with. An experienced boutique marketing company can provide added value to their services by utilizing in-house graphic designers, copywriters, and product specialists, making recommendations based on your specific needs and helping you stand out form your competitors. Their added value is supporting your brand.

Service With a Personal Touch

By building a personal relationship with your business, a boutique marketing company can develop a thorough understanding of your branding and can keep you abreast of any upcoming promotional products that might meet your particular brand’s needs. The customer service is usually decidedly better than a larger retailer, with the ability to special order items, the ability to preview sample products prior to purchase, and to deal with any customer-related issues quickly and effectively – without multiple “hoops” to jump through. This responsiveness in addressing questions or issues often extends to social media (if they have a presence there), where customers or prospects are more likely to receive a rapid response. Larger retailers routinely hand customers off to another department or division.

Experience Matters

Effective marketing tactics that include selecting a promotional product or designing printed collateral and marketing materials should not result in a “one and done” product. It is essential that your business continue to promote and market with consistency, using products and materials that evolve and develop as your business grows. When considered in this light, it makes sense to partner with a company that has the experience, insight, and practical know-how to make recommendations and select products that best promote your brand and cater to a selection of different audiences (niches), based on both your current and prospective customers. A seasoned marketing professional will care about your project and your company, and will access their wealth of marketing and other resources to deliver programs that will generate leads and help to convert those leads into revenue.

Apples to Apples
OR
Apples to Apple Pie

Ultimately, if you are just buying the product to give it away, and if you consider a promotional product a commodity, price will be the determining factor. We shop for many things based solely on price. Purchases are viewed as an “apples to apples” comparison.

What if you could buy an apple pie instead of just an apple? If you are using promotional materials or products as a way to provide an incentive, or to move the prospect or customer to take action (to call, to email, to visit your website, to do something), then you need to choose your marketing program more thoughtfully. A boutique marketing company will take the apples (product ideas) and combine them with their with the ingredients (resources such as graphic designers, copywriters, government safety regulations, etc.). Then they’ll create the apple pie (using their practical knowledge and expertise) to reach your objective (deliver an apple pie to your current and/or prospective customers).

Which would you rather serve, apples or apple pie?