It's human nature, at some point or another we've all wanted something simply because we cannot have it.
Limited editions items cleverly take advantage of this fact, after all, who hasn't wanted a promotional mug or pen so much more once they know that there are only 50 rather than an unlimited supply?
A number of companies have jumped on this bandwagon recently, including Starbucks which recently announced it has hired pottery designer Emma Bridgewater to create some stunning limited edition mugs with just 6,000 going on sale.
The mugs, which have a Great British theme in honour of the Jubilee, are sure to be a success, and may well inspire other companies to follow suit and produce a limited edition run of promotional pens, bags, t-shirts or mugs.
Opting to offer limited edition products can certainly help create buzz and get customers' attention, however, brands need to tread carefully to make the most of the opportunity.
Give them a theme
The first thing companies need to decide is what theme their limited edition product will have. Giving the items a theme helps ensure that they are sufficiently different to the other products on offer and give customers a reason to want one.
The theme can be based around a nation event, like the Jubilee, or a seasonal period such as Christmas or Easter. Companies can also use their own milestones as the inspiration for a limited edition product, for example their anniversary or the launch of a new item.
Reward loyal customers
Limited edition items can be used to attract the attention of new customers however it is vital not to neglect loyal clients. One way on ensuring this is perhaps by sending out the items to you most valuable customers first as a way of showing them you care.
Alternatively a special item could be created solely for customers who buy so many products or who have used your services for a certain number of years. Make it clear this is why they are getting the gift and it will show how much you truly value them.
Play the numbers game
When issuing limited edition items it is important to get the number right. Too many and you lose the appeal of only a 'limited' number being available and too few and you risk leaving too many people disappointed.
In order to make a sensible decision people need to look at how many items they normally give out, the size of their customer base and how they are going to give the items out, ie at tradeshows, by direct mail or as prizes in a competition.
It can also be effective to link the number being given out to the reason for the products, for example 60 to celebrate the Jubilee or 100 to celebrate a company's centenary.
The key to giving out limited edition promotional products is to be organised as such items cannot simply sit in the store cupboard until the next trade show or marketing campaign.
Companies need to ensure that the products have been marketed sufficiently in advance so there is a buzz around them and then need to ensure that they are delivered to their recipients in a timely manner.
It is also important to make it clear when they have all been snapped up to avoid disappointment.
Posted by Robin McCrink