Treat Promotional Products As Marketing Investments To Get Better Results

When you think of “Promotional Products” what comes to mind first? Is it “Products”?, “Tools”?, “SWAG”?, “Giveaways”?, “Tchotchkes”?, “Throwaways“?, “Trinkets and Trash”?…”Stuff”? What about “Marketing Investment”?

There are a variety of names for promotional products and yes, some names are less glamorous than others. But, the name a person gives them can tell a lot about the experience they’ve had with promotional products.

For example, if you have had a poor experience with promotional products in the past you are more likely to explain them as “Trinkets and Trash”. 

A poor experience could mean you bought too many pens off of a random website, tried to buy products that you wanted for yourself without considering your target audience, made sure you bought the cheapest product available or did not have a strategy that would allow for you to see a return or difference in your marketing.

In this case, it’s completely understandable why one would call them “trinkets and trash“!

However, if used strategically, promotional products can be great investments to your company. If someone has experienced the benefits promotional items offer, they are more likely to use the words “promotional items”, “marketing tools”, “advertising specialties”, “giveaways”, you get the point.

The fact of the matter is logoed items have great advertising power when it comes to promoting a business, event or community.  They help you create goodwill among your clients and employees and help you create and maintain a quality brand image for your company.

Those are only a few examples of what they can do!

If you’re wondering how promotional items can work for you in a positive way, the first thing you need to do is change your perspective.  Understand that while the recipient (your client, employee, prospect, etc) of the item treats the product as a “free gift”, you need to treat it like a marketing investment! Because when you start treating promotional products as the investments they are, you will get better results!

Here’s the difference:

When you don’t treat promotional items as a marketing investment you are more likely to:

  1. Purchase the cheapest product available for the sole purpose of getting your name on a promo item
  2. Purchase a product without figuring out your target audience, first. Or purchasing a product without your target audience in mind.
  3. Give the products away, randomly.
  4. Or, forget about the entire box of products that you sent to storage after the initial excitement went away.


  1. The lower quality product you chose is a reflection of your company’s overall brand image.
  2. Your message will not get in front of the proper audience because you either didn’t know who they were, or they were not interested in the product you gave them.  If they were not interested in the product you gave them, you probably should have given the products away, randomly because you would still get the same results (or lack of results).
  3. The products will not be distributed to the people who need your products and services the most. Which translates to you are doing your audience a disservice by not helping them find you!
  4. Your investment will collect dust and become a waste of money.

Or, when you strategically select promotional items based on your target audience’s needs and wants, you are more likely to:

  1. Spend a little more on a quality product and know that purchasing 250 higher quality, higher priced items is essentially the same as purchasing 1000 lower quality lower priced items. Plus, it’s easier to give away 250 higher quality items to qualified leads than it is to find 1000 qualified leads to give 1000 lower quality items to!
  2. Know your audience! Knowing their likes and dislikes will help you find a quality product they can use on a regular basis.
  3. Create a plan to distribute the products
  4. Track results.


  1. Giving away a quality product will not tamper with your brand image.  If the item is also useful, your audience will be more likely to keep and use over and over again.  This helps to create repeated impressions of your advertisement.
  2. If you know your audience, it will be easier to choose a product they will hold onto.  When your audience holds onto an item, it will increase the impressions you receive, generate buzz and keep you top of mind.
  3. Creating a plan helps you decide how, when, where and who to distribute the products.  This makes it easier for you to focus and stick to the plan, opposed to forgetting about your products in storage!
  4. When you track your results, it will be easier to see what works, what doesn’t and what needs to be improved or continued. It will also help you determine your return on investment.

If you think about it, you wouldn’t go sky diving without a parachute thinking you will survive, right?  Try thinking of that the next time you want to buy a Promotional Marketing Tool!

By choosing a product that would be useful to your target audience and creating a distribution plan to make sure your advertisement gets in front of the right people, you will start to experience promotional items in a different light.  You will also start to see how a “trinkets and trash” mindset can turn into a “marketing investment” mindset.

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