Published on 2013/08/16

Marketing CE: Computer Mouse with Floating Logo
Custom mice can be an effective, low-cost marketing tool to promote an institution’s brand.

Earlier in the Marketing CE series, I shared a failure I had in CE marketing: an iPad Skin Cover. I also talked about a potential success in using Facebook and other social media channels. This time, it’s a resounding success I’d like to share: a computer mouse with a floating logo. A picture is below with both the success and failure side by side.

The mouse is relatively cheap for an institution to purchase, at roughly $5 each. If you shake the mouse like a snow globe, bubbles appear with the logo slowly emerging as the bubbles fade away. The idea of the floating logo was something I saw in a magazine about seven years ago, with a standard set of four random shapes inside the mouse (car, globe, coffee cup and house). I contacted a local promotional products company and, after a few days, we were able to find a factory willing to make our custom logo inside the mouse, in a slightly different color than stock to match our institutional colors. They also offered to customize the dye color in the water, which we did for the first order of 1,000 mice. The subsequent reorders of the mice had the color removed, as it was found to fade over time and no longer matched our institutional colors.

The mice are in the hands of students most of their day at work, and they serve as a constant reminder of their local university and source for continuing education classes. I frequently see them come out in long meetings when laptops are used. We also have the mice on our continuing education classroom computers and on most staff desks and offices. When visiting client offices, the custom mice are often in use, and visits are often punctuated with a polite request for another mouse … even if the requestor is no longer a current student.

The positive feedback, repeat requests and excitement when mice are handed out on the final day of class are what indicate to me this is a successful marketing and promotional item.

Marketing CE: Computer Mouse with Floating Logo
Both are technology accessories, but the mouse has been far more successful for the university as a marketing tool than the iPad cover.

All of this being said, though, the mice have a blatant marketing mistake on them (as any advertising professional can notice right away) — a lack of action. There is no phone number, URL or other indication of how to contact the university. The mice do not drive prospective students to learn what classes are being offered or any other related information.

The lack of contact information — at least a URL for a mouse connected to a computer — is something I initially saw as a mistake. In time, though, I’ve realized most mouse users have already attended a class with the university, and most likely have the contact information and program information. If not, a simple web search would provide them with the results requested.

With more than 3,000 mice being distributed over the last few years, and the frequent requests for more, this is one marketing item we plan to keep on-hand and continue to use in marketing our program.

Marketing CE is an ongoing series where John DeLalla will discuss various strategies, both successful and unsuccessful, that have been implemented to creatively market continuing education.

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Readers Comments

Rob Young 2013/08/16 at 1:01 pm

This is a relatively inexpensive way to promote the institution, and it’s encouraging that DeLalla says even alumni request the mouse. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind having a mouse from my own alma mater!

It’s a subtle, successful way to get the institution’s brand into the public.

Have you considered selling them in the university book store as well as giving them out as marketing tools?

    John DeLalla 2013/10/25 at 2:49 pm

    Rob –
    Thanks for your comment – and yes – it’s a great reminder on your desk of your alma mater. I agree the campus bookstore should sell them – or something like this. I’ve had a visit from a bookstore person to see what types of items I give away – and I’ve found myself in many a college bookstore looking at branded items and thinking how they might work for us too.

Kyle W 2013/08/16 at 4:04 pm

I’m struggling to understand how this is a successful marketing tool if it hasn’t driven people to enroll and is mainly distributed to existing students. DeLalla is quite unclear about his target audience and marketing objective with this product. I’ve been following this series for a long time and usually find his ideas helpful (or at least valuable as thought experiments) but this one left me confused. I don’t see where the success is at all.

John DeLalla 2013/10/25 at 3:27 pm

Kyle –
Thanks for your comment – and I’m sorry I wasn’t clear in my point. The mice are for current students to keep as a promotional product. Ideally the mouse will be used in their office, where other prospective students will see the item. This will generate word of mouth, and personal endorsements, which in turn should lead to increased enrollment.
Let me know if you’d like additional information.

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