Promotional Products: Are You Overlooking This Powerful Marketing Channel? - Burlington Press
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Promotional Products: Are You Overlooking This Powerful Marketing Channel?

Looking for a tool to increase your brand recognition and keep your company name in front of current and prospective buyers? If you haven’t considered promotional products, maybe it’s time you did.

Promotional products are defined as items with an advertiser’s logo and/or message on them. Usually, they are given away for free, but this doesn’t mean they have little value. On the contrary, promotional items are highly effective tools proven to increase brand recognition and promote positive feelings about the advertiser, increasing the desire to buy.

Most people are familiar with promotional pens and drinkware. In fact, nearly 9 in 10 consumers own one of them. But promotional items can include a wide variety of other products, too, including t-shirts, bags, hats, outerwear, calendars, desk accessories, umbrellas and more. Increasingly, they also include high-tech gadgets such as a USB drives and power banks. More than half (58%) of consumers own a branded USB drive, for example, and 33% own a branded power bank.

Different products have strengths in different industries. Magnets are great for in-home services like HVAC and pest control (when branded magnets are stuck to their refrigerator, how many times will a customer see them each day?), while stress toys can work well in the medical and psychiatric industry.

However, promotional items aren’t restricted to specific industries. For instance, bags are great for companies in any industry that does trade shows. Think about all of the brochures, samples, and other items people collect at trade shows. They need a way to carry them. You may be one company among many attending the show, but if you’re the one with the branded bags, you will get noticed. If a company sponsors a number of outdoor activities, especially in the summer, hats and sunscreen are good choices.

At Burlington Press, we have been selling promotional products for more than a decade, and the reason is simple—they work. People use them, wear them, and keep them for long periods of time. That reinforces your brand in positive ways. Promotional calendars, for example, are kept an average of eight months. Branded desk accessories are kept average of 13 months. Branded outerwear is kept for 16 months or longer. Our CEO even has a collection of branded stress toys from seven to eight years ago that he can’t bring himself to throw away.

Promotional products have staying power far beyond print and digital, and the cost per impression is staggeringly low. How low? Every year, the Advertising Specialties Institute (ASI) produces its “Global Ad Impressions” study based on thousands of on-person and online surveys that provide insight into the reach and influence of these products. For every pen you give away, for example, the ASI finds that it will generate 3,000 impressions throughout its lifetime of use. That results in a cost per impression (CPI) of 1/10 of a cent. Even better, 51% of the people surveyed said that they would be more likely to do business with the advertiser that gave them one. Other items cost more but can have an even higher level of effectiveness. Promotional bags are kept an average of 11 months and generate 3,300 impressions throughout their lifetimes. If that bag costs $5, that’s a CPI of less than 2/10 of a cent. That’s higher than for a pen, but half of consumers surveyed said they would be more likely to do business with an advertiser that gave them a promotional bag. If you are selling higher value products, that’s a great investment.

These are just examples, but it doesn’t take long to see why so many companies invest in promotional products. When you consider the length of time they are kept, the number of impressions they generate, and the CPI, you’ll never see a promotional hat, pen, or umbrella the same way again.

You can also match different promotional items to different demographics. For example, men are more likely to wear promotional headgear, while for women are more likely to use promotional calendars. Want to reach Millennials? You might want to go with a promotional desk accessory. More than two-thirds (67%) of Millennials have a more favorable opinion of an advertiser who gave it to them. But if it’s GenX’ers you’re after, 71% are more likely to do business with the advertiser who gave them promotional drinkware.

There are regional differences, as well. If you are marketing into the upper Northeast (New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine), environmentally friendly products have a much stronger pull. Products made in the USA are the strongest in this region, as well? (Yes, even stronger than in the South.) Urban density and age make a difference in product appeal, too.

Just like any marketing channel, promotional products can be highly effective tools when matched to the right audience for the right marketing goals.

Intrigued? Great! Let’s talk about promotional products!


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