As we enter into the second half of 2023 I ask you, are you ready for your 3rd and 4th quarter promotions? I know, I know, you’re heading out the door for your mid-summer family vacations, but let me ask you one thing before you click away and put me out of your mind:
How long ago did you have this vacation booked?
Right! You didn’t wake up this morning and book your flights or hotels or campgrounds. So why should your promotions be any different?
Plan Now = Perform Later
Production time for a product is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ordering promotional items and apparel. There’s all the pre-production decisions that have to be made, from the product itself to the color, art to be chosen and modified to fit the available areas, proofs approved and imprint colors decided upon, payment authorizations and holds to be made and released, and shipping times also have to be factored. And that’s assuming the manufacturer even has the items to work with, given the current state of the supply chain! All in all, an order for promotional items can easily take 2-3 months to arrive.
As item ordering experts, it is our job to make sure you will receive your first choice promotional item in time for your in-hands deadline, or at least be able to tell you why it will not be possible and offer you alternatives. Help us help you by planning ahead and placing your orders well in advance of your event!
How This All Works
Let’s break down how ordering promotional items and apparel will work best to minimize poor performance, forwards and backwards. This is a very generalized example and some promotional items and apparel will not take as long as this, and some will take longer! Also note that this example does not include event objectives, audience planning, or budgeting, all tasks that should be done before even thinking about selecting products. This is strictly about the selection, decoration, and delivery of promotional items and apparel.
Now, here’s the same series of events, but working backwards. Fill in the blanks with your target dates to get a general idea of how much time you should build into your promotional item and apparel ordering plans:
- All products should arrive 2-7 days before the event, to allow for time to inspect, re-package, or otherwise prepare for the event itself.
- All products should be scheduled to ship about 5 days before arrival, as most delivery options are for 3-day shipping, but it is a good idea to give yourself a day’s or so cushion.
- Production times vary, and will be confirmed per individual item, but count on your order being worked on an average of 10 business days.
- Confirming the availability of product choices and quantities, production times, submitting, adjusting, and approving art and its corresponding color choices within the limitations of the product and decoration choices can take anywhere from 10-14 business days.
- It takes us about 5 business days to put together a presentation of possible items for your event including cost estimates and basic mock-ups, as necessary.
- You reach out with your event dates and details, and at least some idea of budget and item types, allowing for 3-5 business days to discuss decorations, target audiences, and shipping logistics.
No timeline is exactly the same, and sometimes some steps can be skipped over, as is the case with reordering an item with the same decoration, so each event will be customized accordingly. But, just ordering something as simple as new logoed outerwear can require up to 70 calendar days to process!
Of course, we work to find solutions to deadlines of all types, but wouldn’t it be better to have one less thing to worry about because you were ready ahead of time?