Sales, marketing and branding expert. CEO of GoPromotional, distributor of promotional products with a focus on online business development.
Digital advertising has taken over the world of marketing, so many are probably wondering whether investing in promotional products is worth it. To that, as the CEO of a promotional product distribution company, I can give a reassuring “yes.” Here’s how promotional products can be effective and the impact they can have on your business marketing strategy.
Defining Promotional Products
Even if you haven’t sent out promotional products before, you’ve likely come across them throughout your life as a consumer. Essentially, promotional products are branded merchandise that various businesses give away entirely for free to their target audiences. The whole purpose of these products is to pique interest and generate buzz, thus serving as fantastic promotional means.
The goals are simple to understand. Branded merchandise should inspire people to take action by selecting one particular business over all of its competitors. Alternatively, the products ought to at least help people remember the brand so that, at some point in the future, they opt for it and do business with it.
Promotional products come in many forms, from simple plastic pens and mugs to eco-friendly plant pots. The idea is that they have to be useful to the recipients for their impact to be truly felt. Otherwise, they could quickly end up in the bin, never completely fulfilling their potential.
Naturally, the meaning of branded merchandise goes beyond free gifts. They are, above all, a reflection of the company that’s giving them out. Thus, when deciding on the ideal promotional products, businesses have to consider the quality, the general appeal and the perceived value. That is one of the keys to driving a marketing campaign to success and gaining a satisfying ROI.
How They Can Help Your Brand
The digital era has changed the whole world, so businesses are now fighting every step of the way for customer retention. Chasing a larger ROI doesn’t have to involve endless ads on TV, though. Promotional products still offer high ROIs in marketing due to the way they impact the public.
According to an ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute) case study from 2019, branded merchandise can still impress consumers. The study showed that they are almost 2.5 times more likely to think positively about tangible branded products than the ads.
Better still, promotional products can remain in the recipient’s possession for about seven months on average. As long as they are well made and useful to the target audience, your branded merchandise could keep generating impressions for months.
Why Your Target Audience Wants Them
The great thing about branded merchandise is that it’s loved by consumers when the design and purpose are aligned with their wants and needs. But that appeal becomes even more critical to your business if you consider the psychological implications the products can have on your audience.
For example, freebies offer people a general sense of accomplishment. Once they receive them after an event or with a purchase, they feel as if they have done something right. Even though the products are free, people feel like they’ve earned them somehow. Such a positive feeling could allow your business to flourish further by sowing the seeds of loyalty at the very start of the company-customer relationship.
And let’s not forget about the principle of reciprocity here. It’s embedded in our minds that once we receive something, we should give something back. Consumers are unlikely to give their own freebies to companies to maintain direct reciprocity. The two ways they can “give back” is by being converted into a customer and/or using and sharing the product with others. Both options are a win for your business!
How To Pick The Perfect Promotional Products For Your Business
In order for your branded products to serve their purpose, you must carefully consider which ones you’ll pick and why. In a nutshell, this boils down to:
• Defining your target audience and learning as much about them as possible: Consider their age and key interests, but try to be specific to ensure success.
• Agreeing on the budget: Usually, business-to-consumer companies allocate anywhere from 5% to 10% of their revenue to their marketing. That budget should also include branded merchandise; you decide how much money you’re comfortable spending on promotional freebies. Naturally, you have to consider the occasion, the type of consumer you’re looking to impress and other factors to decide on a cost-effective product that will get you the greatest ROI.
• Narrowing the list down to a few items: Once you have a few favorites, compare them to find a product that suits both your brand’s and your audience’s needs. Take into account the design and printing here, too; that could easily push some products up or down your list.
Final Step: Consider Distribution Options
Of course, you must determine how many products you’re going to need for your giveaway. You should also consider whether the product itself fits the occasion. The good news is that there are lots of events where branded merchandise comes in handy.
Business events, such as trade shows, are an excellent opportunity to dazzle a crowd with your freebies. At the same time, though, even events like holiday parties could benefit from a few free gifts and should make everyone excited!
Another way to distribute your branded merchandise is through various giveaways and contests. Consider using social media to your advantage here to breed desire in your target audience. Use that to persuade them to like, share, follow and even tag other people who could also participate. All that exposure should help you create some well-deserved buzz around your business.
Finally, you could gain more awareness through brand ambassadors or even your own staff and clients. A brand ambassador’s main job is to advertise your company and use your products, which could result in thousands of people learning more about your brand. Similarly, you can turn your employees and clients into brand ambassadors by giving them practical corporate gifts as proof of your care and appreciation.