Mornings at our house are either a symphony or chaos – I’m not sure which. Alarm clocks, showers, alarm clocks again (it takes more than some wimpy alarm clock to get my teenage son out of bed!), bits of breakfast flying about, debate over whether bags of potato chips and cookies constitute a ‘healthy lunch’, making sure we’ve got everything we need for school and work – I’m sure many of you can relate.

Anyway, as I made one of what seemed like 100 trips to the fridge, I noticed a magnet just to the left the freezer door handle. It was a business card magnet with the logo of our health insurance provider and their ‘nurse direct’ telephone number (which came to the house in a direct mail piece). Next to it was magnet with the phone number of a pizza restaurant. The pizza magnet was doing double duty securely holding a picture of my dapper young nephew.

Behold the magnificent magnet.

They’re just as my wife would describe me – they’re not sexy or clever or particularly exciting, but they’re good to have around. You generally don’t see marketing people bragging about the ‘killer magnet concept’ they’ve just come up with. For some, the traditional business card magnet has almost reached Rodney Dangerfield ‘no respect’ territory.

However, in a wide variety of applications, a simple little magnet packs a big punch. I did a very quick inventory around my house:

  • Magnet with nurse direct phone number
  • Pizza magnet – just phone number
  • Pizza magnet – with phone number and coupons
  • Pizza magnet – pizza shaped with phone number (OK, so we eat quite a bit of pizza!)
  • Large magnet with school schedule showing days off and early dismissal days – very handy!
  • Picture frame magnet from a realtor (holding picture of niece)
  • The all-important Green Bay Packer schedule (it’s obviously out-dated at this point, but was referred to frequently during the season)
  • Large, full-year calendar magnet from our insurance company – also very handy!
  • A magnet with a shopping list ‘note pad’ attached to it (it didn’t have a company imprint on it, but could have!)
  • I didn’t look at it this morning, but I know there is a magnet on my furnace with the phone number of a heating and cooling contractor who would be happy to provide service 24/7/365

In each case, the magnet worked perfectly as a promotion. Here’s why:

  • I’ve kept them, and our family uses them. For the advertisers on these magnets that’s great news because useful promotional products have an incredibly high recall rate for the advertiser. Plus, if the sudden urge for a pizza strikes who’s going to get the phone call – the restaurant I have to find in the phone book or the one whose phone number is on my fridge (where I just happened to be when I determined I didn’t want to make supper!)?
  • If you ask me I can tell you the names of the companies on each of those magnets. And that’s not because I just looked at them – I would have been able to tell you their names yesterday.
  • In the case of the calendar and frame magnets, they have a long life. The logos on those magnets will be part of our routine for at least a year. They’ll probably be around longer than that because of their utility in holding up pictures, reminders, etc.
  • They’re very inexpensive. Magnets have come down in price over the past couple of years. And while the price has decreased, the imprinting technology has improved dramatically with the use of full-color digital printing. You can put a full-color picture or graphic on a magnet today for less than it cost to do a simple one-color imprint just a short time ago. Any company can afford to buy lots of magnets.
  • They’re easy (and inexpensive) to distribute. Magnets can be mailed (in an envelope or affixed to a post card), handed out a trade shows, included with deliveries, left behind after installs or repairs (think of that furnace magnet I mentioned), sent home after doctor or dentist appointments or hospital stays, included in school orientation packages or any other of a number of low-or-no cost ways.
  • They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. If you need more room, get a big magnet. On an incremental basis they’re not that much more expensive. If you’d like a particular shape – nothing says pharmacy phone number better than a mortar and pestle magnet – it’s available.

Think about your company. Does a promotional magnet make sense as part of your marketing plan?

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Kevin Lyons-Tarr

Kevin Lyons-Tarr is Chief Executive Officer and has been with 4imprint for 23 years. Look to Kevin’s blog to see hints, tips, news, and tricks of the trade from across all of 4imprint’s blog channels.

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