Are Promotional Products Effective Marketing Tools, Really?

One of the most frequently asked questions about promotional products is: “are they effective marketing tools?”. The answer is: it depends on how effective you want them to be! Yes, that’s a vague answer.

However, promotional items are only effective if you strategize the way you use them. Simply handing out low-cost promotional items on a whim doesn’t cut it.  This is what turns them into “trinkets and trash” (diminishing the value of your brand and the recipient).

When you use a promotional item, you should use it like any other form of of marketing. By creating a strategy and mapping out your plan!

Your plan should focus on your goals and your audience.  This is a better use of your marketing dollars. Plus, your impact will have greater recall and help you stand out.

Here are some insights as to how creating a plan can make your promotional products effective marketing tools:

Start with your goal in mind.  What are you trying to accomplish?

Generally speaking, a promotional item should do one of three things.

1. It should act as an incentive/motivator to get the recipient to do something.

2. A promotional item can act as a premium. This is an item a person can only receive if they take a specific action required by a promotion.

3. Be a form of recognition to thank an end user for something they have already done.

Then, determine your audience. Who are you trying to reach?

Knowing who will receive your promotional item will help you determine the following:

  • What products will be unique enough to help you stand out.
  • Which products will be useful enough for them to keep and use on a regular basis.
  • The products that are most relevant to their lifestyle.

Keep in mind that the more unique, useful and relevant your product is to them, the longer they will hold onto the product.  This is relevant because the longer your audience holds onto your promotional item the amount of impressions on your message increases.

Also, since a promotional item is a tangible item, it allows your audience to expose themselves to your message whenever they choose. The longer they hold onto the item, the more likely your brand will be in front of them when they are ready to take you up on your call to action.

Now Choose your product!

When people think of promotional items, they typically think of pens, mugs, bags and journals. Step outside of the pen and think of something more unique and useful.  Something they may have not received before.

There are tons of promotional items out there that can help you be different from everyone else. Why not give away a pen holder so your clients can have a place to store the promotional pens your competitors are giving them?

How will you get that product to them?

When you know your audience and the product you’re going to give away, now it’s time to determine how you will distribute your products. Here are some common ways to distribute promotional items:

  • Include them in a mailer
  • Pass them out at trade shows
  • Give them away after a purchase
  • Sponsor an event and give them away to attendees

The strategy is what’s going to hit it home for you.

As you can see, purchasing promotional items is only one side of the coin. The other is to develop a concrete marketing strategy that will allow you to use them more effectively.  When you put these two together, you will be in a better position to achieve your goals and receive a positive return on your investment.

Remember, it’s the strategy that is key to making promotional products effective marketing tools for your business.

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