Even with vaccines in the works, most businesses will still need to deal with challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic for the foreseeable future. Companies in the promotional products industry, like RUNMARK, are no exception.
If you are responsible for buying promotional products, print material, or other marketing materials for your company, read on. COVID-19 can potentially affect production times and the availability of the items you need to promote your business.
In this post we are going to take a look at how COVID-19 has affected the promotional products industry. And, what you can do to ensure you get what you need when you need it.
Plan Ahead for Marketing Materials
The most important lesson that we, and the entire promotional product industry has learned from this pandemic is to plan ahead. The pandemic has disrupted supply chains across the globe. As a result, you can expect delays and potential stock issues. This applies to everything from print materials to branded company apparel. We all need to plan accordingly.
For marketing companies like ours that need to locate, decorate and ship ideal promotional products for your marketing programs—often shipping from multiple sources—planning ahead has been absolutely critical.
We see this scenario regularly—we find just the right branded promotional item for a client project. Then we send a quote to our customer.
Then, we wait for approval. The clock is ticking. Stock that was available today can literally be gone tomorrow. Some items taking months to restock, or worse yet, it may never be restocked.
Real Life Examples From Our Promo Customers
We currently have two challenging situations:
- Customer 1 wants 60 branded cases for their sales people. They use them to take construction samples to their customers. A few days ago, they were available, now there are only 48. Future stock is unpredictable and may take months or more.
- Customer 2 wants to put together VIP customer gift kits. We have been working on this project for several weeks. The customer chose an embroidered cooler bag that is dangerously low on stock. Stock will not be replenished for several months once they are gone. As a result, the customer may not be able to execute their marketing campaign. So, if the stock disappears, we will be back to square one.
We also had a client recently that had to switch the embroidered apparel item at the last minute for their employee holiday gifts. We did our magic, and they were very pleased. But behind the scenes, IT’S HECTIC!
We do not mind doing the extra research and communication needed to make our customers happy in these crazy times. However, we would love it if you could do your part as well.
Act Quickly On Promotional Products Quotes
If you have a quote for promotional products, do yourself (and your promotional product vendor) a favor. Act quickly to approve it, or let the company know if you do not plan to move forward.
In our case, as we wait for approvals for items at risk of running into stock issues, we are constantly checking stock levels. We need a firm “APPROVED” to reserve the stock for a customer order.
If you take too much time to reply to quotes and don’t make purchase decisions quickly, you and your promotional products vendor may need to start from square one. This will double, or worse, the time required on both sides to complete your project.
Think About Ways to Minimize Contact with Promotional Products
Another result of the pandemic is concern about packages coming in contact with the coronavirus during packaging, shipping and delivery. Not to mention, you may be concerned about your employees handling distribution of promotional products once they arrive at your facility. Or perhaps the team that would normally handle this is working remotely from home.
This is another challenge we and other promotional products businesses can take off your hands. Instead of shipping the promotional items to your headquarters, you can request that they be stored in a warehouse, picked and kitted to fulfill internal requests from your team.
This makes it completely hands off for you.
If you do decide to look into promotional product fulfillment, be sure to ask about the facility’s COVID-19 precautions to be sure health and safety protocols are being followed.
Meeting In Person Is Not Happening… Deal With It Creatively
Since meeting in person is for the time being not a thing, businesses need to come up with new and creative ways to stay connected to their customers.
One way you can do this is to have your sales team members use promotional products with account-based marketing programs. They are great for opening doors—creating a warm introduction so your sales people can connect and start conversations with the right prospects.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought a new set of challenges that include delivery disruptions and demand spikes. If you use promotional products in your marketing programs, understanding its impact is especially important for you.
Over the past year, you have probably greatly modified your marketing strategy. Industry trade shows and other events have been canceled or converted to virtual experiences.
As you divert more of your marketing budget to digital marketing, consider the potential impact that promotional products can make as one of the few physical marketing mediums available.
But please, plan ahead 🙂.
We shine at making you look great, and you can count on us to jump through hoops to deliver what you need, when you need it. Put our experts to work for you.
SAVE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME
You can search for the perfect promotional products to support your marketing. Or let us do it—it's FREE.
RUNMARK is your proven outsourced marketing department. We offer a wide range of marketing services and promotional products to help your company get noticed and grow, all backed by 30 years of marketing experience. For assistance, please complete our web form or give us a call at 844-545-3481. We are happy to help!
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