Complete Guide to Company Promotional Items

Smart marketers know that company promotional items are the most effective marketing strategy. Proven to generate a better ROI than any other medium. Here are the results of major survey of 1000 business-people conducted by the BPMA in 2013.

Recall - 40% of people said they could instantly remember an advertiser who sent them a promo item, compared with 35% recognition for TV ads, 10% print, 9% online, and 5% direct mail. 

Likeability - 64% said business gifts made them feel appreciated, 11% TV, 9% print, 8% online, 8% mail. 

Annoyingness - 73% of people agreed that banner ads are the most annoying form of advertising, 54% voted mail, 32% TV, and 13% magazine ads. But only 5% said the same of promotional items. 

Motivation - 50.7% agreed that company promotional items motivated them to act, 19% TV, 11% internet, 10% newspapers/magazines. 

There was only one category where TV marginally won out - when asked which media they were more likely to remember because they saw it frequently, 39% of people said TV, 35% promotional gifts.

How to choose promotional items for your company

Not only are company promotional items more successful - they are one of the most cost-effective marketing tools, with a far lower cost per impression than other media. All you need to do is pick the right product to generate the best results.

With so much choice out there, from shoe-shine kits to sugar free mints it makes sense to do your research before you commit. Here are 6 factors to take into account:

1. Budget

The first thing you need to do is crunch the numbers. What is your budget?  How many items do you need? This will give you an idea of price per item, before you take other factors into account. Contrary to what you may think, higher priced, more sophisticated gifts do not always generate the best response. Many studies have shown that people like items that are most useful to them. For example, a simple good quality ball pen may be better than a higher-priced novelty highlighter.

2. Power sellers

There are certain company promotional items, we know people like best, use more, and keep longer. The top 7 favourites, proven to perform are mugs, pens, calendars, USB sticks, electrical items, umbrellas, and clocks/watches. Not surprisingly, higher value items are most likely to compel people to take action. Yet mugs and pens are kept longer and cost less, so often generate a better ROI.

3. Target market

The golden rule of gift buying is to think about what the recipient would most want. Who will receive your company’s promotional item? It may help you to develop a marketing persona describing a typical client or customer.  Describe their age, gender, status, wants and needs. Then simply ask yourself what would this person most like, or find most useful. In the case of business-people 45% of people chose USB sticks in one study. However, for a non-computer savvy target market - this would be inappropriate.

4. Business related

The company promotional items are not always generic gifts like key rings or umbrellas, they are those which are related to your business. This aids recall because people associate the item with the company. If you are a travel organisation, luggage tags are perfect.  For a hair or beauty chain personal care items work best. Bars and restaurants choose glass ware; camera/photo retail a glossy calendar or SD card reader; creative agencies go for something innovative etc.

5. Brand qualities

Ask yourself what the item says about your brand. Shopping bags are practical, eco-friendly items are responsible, novelty gifts are fun, and diaries are conventional. Do the same when selecting the style of your company’s promotional item. Stylish and sophisticated, elegant and refined, bold and bright, sleek and modern, or classic and traditional.

6. Printing

What do you want to say? If you wish to include marketing slogans think about the surface area you’ll have to work with. How will your logo look? If you have a complex logo, it may not look so good when shrunk to fit on a pen. Do you need full colour? Consider whether you’ll need multiple colours as this will increase the price.

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