Let me start this post by saying that I am a fan of Mark Cuban. I am a sports fan, and by all accounts, he is an aggressive, progressive owner of the Dallas Mavericks. He is a serial entrepreneur (love that). And he is great on Shark Tank! I love that show!
But Mark Cuban is wrong about SWAG.
Now you might be thinking, “What did Mark Cuban even say about SWAG?” Good question! Cuban wrote a post for Entrepreneur magazine where he outlined his 12 Rules for Startups. I read it and was really surprised by number 10: Never Buy SWAG.
Cuban’s point was that startups should not send people embroidered polos because they are not using their money wisely. But…wait…what? Well sure. It seems like Cuban has run across a few startups that have not used SWAG (or promotional products) wisely. Obviously you want to be smart. But throwing out the entire advertising medium is pretty small minded for such a big thinker.
It’s like saying “I knew a guy who wrecked a Ferrari, so you should never buy a car.”
So here are some reasons why Mark Cuban is wrong about SWAG:
1) Promo (or SWAG) Creates RECALL: Studies show that between 80% and 90% of people that receive a promotional product RECALL the company that gave it to them. When your customer wants to buy, you want them to RECALL your brand. Promotional products have great success with this!
2) Promo Creates REACTION: Other than recall, you want your advertising to create action. You want your customers or prospects to contact you. Another study shows that 15% of people who receive a promotional item will actually reach out to that company. Incidentally, that number is 5 times higher than other media. Ignore those numbers at your own risk!
3) Promo is Targeted: So many businesses (startups too) have a shotgun approach to marketing. By using promotional products as a part of the mix, your company can reach out and touch exactly the market you want to reach. More targeting = less waste!
4) Promo is Cost Effective: If you choose wisely (very important as Cuban points out) you can expect long term impact from a great promotional campaign. This long term benefit means you get a lot of “impressions” for a one time advertising buy. This creates great value for your advertising dollar!
5) Humans Like Valuable Gifts: Put simply, the Rule of Reciprocity is real. If you provide customers and prospects value (or valuable gifts) they feel the need to do business with you. And if you do this over time, the more inclined they will be to give you business. I don’t tell you this to manipulate. I tell you this because it’s true.
The fact is, Promo (or SWAG) is a powerful advertising tool that you would be unwise to ignore. As a matter of fact, I would bet that if you go to a Dallas Mavericks game, you would see Promotional Advertising everywhere! From the banners, to beer cups, to uniforms of employees, all great brands use promotional products to leverage their business.
So if it’s good enough for the Dallas Mavericks, why shouldn’t you use it to promote your business. Short answer…you should.
Want more common sense business tips on Promotional Products? Check out the new book “Delivering Marketing Joy!”