Promotional products and branded merchandise can be a treat for any occasion. The tricky part is knowing what to order and when to order it. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful guide for you!As you’ve read, supply chain shortages on both coasts have impacted what consumers can order. And while some of these shortages may ease up in the future, it’s smart to plan ahead when you’re delivering items to people. And this is certainly true for promotional products. Before the great shortage, failure to plan ahead meant that you were choosing from a smaller selection of items, paying pricey rush fees to ship, and worse—not sending the branding message you were trying to send. Now that things are stymied by shortages, these challenges have multiplied.

Getting your promo planning right will pay dividends. Promotional products are the most effective way to prompt consumers to take action. According to this PPAI study, 89 percent of consumers received promotional products in the previous six months, and 79 percent then researched the brand. A full 83 percent said they’d be more likely to do business with the company. Promotional gifts make people want to connect with you.

This promotional planning guide will help you get the goods you want to give, when you want to give them. We’ve worked in the promotional space since it was just coffee mugs and t-shirts, and man has it grown. Now it’s coffee mugs, t-shirts and pretty much anything imaginable that we can get your logo and message on. The upside is that today’s marketer has more choices than ever.

For your upcoming events, product launches, branding initiatives and other marketing efforts, this guide will discuss:

  1. When to Send Promotional Products
  2. When to Order Promotional Products
  3. How to Order Promotional Products

As you know, there is a day for EVERYTHING now. In today’s world, there are more reasons than ever to celebrate. And that’s a great thing. So let’s take a look at the many opportunities during the year where you can show your appreciation to customers and prospects alike—starting with the months you can plan for now.

Related: Top 8 Mistakes When Ordering Promotional Products

1. When to Send Promotional Products:

Winter

The winter months offer several opportunities to send a token of your gratitude. It’s the beginning of a new year and a great way to get off to a fresh start. New calendars, notebooks and other office supplies speak to fresh possibilities and a wide-open world. Black History Month and Valentine’s Day (aka Single Awareness Day) are just two of the most top-of-mind events. You could also send a President’s Day tchotchke to commemorate a special sale you’re having or get people pumped for the big Super Bowl Sunday with branded sports gear! March brings with it cultural celebrations, as well as honoring Women’s History Month and more professional holidays like Doctor’s Day. These special occasions offer great opportunities for promo products.

Spring

Spring sees the weather getting warmer and people getting out of the house. Spring break is a chance for you to celebrate the college students in your life. There is also Earth Day, where you might consider an environmentally friendly seed packet, recycled fleece blanket, or bamboo lunch kit.

May brings us to warmer months and Educators Appreciation Week. Many PTAs host breakfasts, send gifts, and offer other gestures to thank the educators in their lives. It’s the perfect opportunity to gift educators with branded water bottles, keychains, hats, mugs, USB drives and more. Spring is also when students will be graduating, so why not send a congratulatory gift to them and/or their parents? Picture frames, pens, and beautiful notebooks speak volumes. And don’t forget moms – Mother’s Day is a great chance to help people show their mothers they care with a special gift.

Summer

Summer means outdoor BBQs, day trips, journeys to the beach, movie nights, and road trips. These are all great chances to send out promo products to your friends and employees. Summer also offers a ton of celebrations that bring people together. If you’re in the business of safety, National Safety Month means that you can take this opportunity to print a calendar that includes safety reminders throughout the year.

Don’t forget Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice! All the dads out there will appreciate something fun and festive (even a wacky branded tie would make their month)! And make sure that people have beach bags, outdoor portable stoves, umbrellas, and towels with your brand so that the other beachgoers they meet this summer can get some information on your brand too!

A branded grill set might be just what the grill master ordered. And don’t forget glassware for those long summer nights with neighbors. This is also the time that people plan ahead to get their calendars for the upcoming year, so a good-looking desk calendar would be a welcomed gift.

You won’t be competing with the back-to-school ad-nauseum when you cut through the clutter with actual back-to-school supplies toward the end of summer. Branded pencils, calculators, notebooks, stickers, backpacks, gym bags, water bottles, flashlights—the possibilities are as endless as the activities the kids are about to dive back into!

Fall

Fall sees the kids back to school (think school spirit promo products), leaves changing (think branded sweaters), and fall sports kicking into gear (think uniforms for your team!). Once it does get cold, a scarf or mug with your logo will be a welcome gift as people get in the mood for warm drinks and walks in cool weather.

You can always send some spooky supplies for Halloween. A well-designed t-shirt or candy dish comes in super handy here. The fall also brings with it awareness months like National Breast Cancer Awareness month. This is a great chance to show the causes that are near and dear to your heart. Promotional items are a powerful way to show your gratitude during the Thanksgiving season and beyond. Whether it’s food with your logo on the packaging or a new set of gloves for the winter, even the smallest gesture will leave a large imprint on their hearts.

And before you know it, the holiday season is here. And it’s around fall time when you should really be starting your gift planning. A warm tossle cap, travel mug, food gift set, candy tower, or branded wrapping paper—have fun with the possibilities. Gifts that are beautiful and useful are at the top of everyone’s list, and will undoubtedly leave your recipients with a warm glow. But again – plan in the fall months!

And don’t forget: with each of these events throughout the year, especially those that are more focused around a cause or a cultural group, think about who you are talking to, who the gifts are going to, and what these gifts mean to the community being honored. If you are honoring underrepresented groups or communities (for example, Pride Month, Cinco de Mayo, Hispanic Heritage Month, Indigenous Peoples Day) make sure you’re honoring these communities throughout the year and not just one day or one month.

2. When to Order Promotional Products

While these products all require a bit of planning (and depending on the item, timing may vary), there is a simple way to know when to order products to get them delivered on time. We’ve put together a great cheat sheet so you can see when to plan and when to make sure that you’ve ordered the items:

 

2022

   

PLANNING STARTS

PRODUCTS NEED TO BE ORDERED BY

PRODUCTS IN HAND

     

December

January 

February

     

January

February 

March

     

March

April

May

     

April

May 

June

     

May

June

July

     

June

July

August

     

July

August

September

     

August

September 

October

     

September

October

November/December

     

November

December

January

 

3. How to Order Promotional Products

The best way to ensure that you’re getting exactly what you want and avoiding common ordering mistakes is to talk to the promo experts. At Ironmark, we have tens of thousands of products that we can help you narrow down based on your audience, budget, and objective. Here’s a quick primer to show you the ropes.

Related: Placing a Promo Item Order

Give us a call today to learn how to make your promo items pop and learn the trends that help you connect with your customer on that next level. We have long-standing partnerships with a number of vendors to give you the highest quality items at the most cost-effective price points. And we can help you navigate the shipping shortages, since we do that every day. Get more tips for staying top-of-mind with our Roadmap for Manufacturing Business Growth.

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