Are Promotional Products Effective?
Are promotional products effective? Short answer, yes! You were probably expecting that from us. But we have good reason. We’ve seen promotional products deliver huge results for our clients. You can see some of what they have achieved in our case studies. But we’ll also dive into a couple examples here, along with statistics from the Australian Promotional Product Association (APPA) and Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).
TL:DR – Promotional products are an essential marketing tool for all industries. As well as being a physical representation of your brand, promotional products bring your brand to life in yours, and your audience’s meaningful moments. Which, in turn, leads to increased engagement, market share and conversions.
Who should use promotional products?
Promotional products are so versatile that almost all businesses in all industries benefit from their use. They’re just another channel to carry your branding, message, and values to your customers and prospects. It doesn’t matter who you are, there is a promotional product to fit your objectives. Here are just a few examples.
Retail and E-commerce: Promotional products can be used as freebies or incentives to encourage customers to make a purchase or to increase brand loyalty. They can also be used as part of a referral or rewards program.
Real Estate: Enhance the brand experience that leads to return clients and referrals, and strengthens your market share. As well as pens and fridge magnets, effective real estate products can include door bows and deluxe keychains presented in a walk-through video box.
Healthcare and Wellness: Healthcare providers, clinics, and wellness centers can use branded merchandise to promote their services, educate patients, and encourage positive experiences. With branded pill boxes, reminder fridge magnets or custom health journals, all their key areas are covered.
Non-profit Organisations: Promotional products that raise awareness, thank their supporters, and promote their cause are most effective for non-profits. Items like t-shirts, wristbands, or tote bags help spread the message further and engage a larger community in support of meaningful issues.
Startups and Small Businesses: Branded merchandise is a cost-effective way for startups and small businesses to increase brand visibility. Onboarding packs for new staff and clients are another way to differentiate themselves from competitors. Simultaneously building and demonstrating their brand values in the process.
Hospitality and Tourism: Brands in this industry can enhance the guest experience, promote local attractions, and encourage repeat visits with promotional products. Custom puzzles, caps and homewares are effective reminders of their experience and make great gifts, extending your brand’s reach.
Education: Universities and education providers use branded merchandise to promote community and relationships, recruit students, and reward academic achievements. Common promotional products for the education industry include hoodies, tote bags and drink bottles.
You can use promotional products or branded merchandise to hit almost any of your organizational goals. They’re the best way to increase brand awareness with 86.5% of people agreeing that promotional products are a good way to learn about new businesses in the area. But why are they so good at it?
Why are promotional products effective?
Adding your logo, values or message to a product creates a powerful tool that gives your brand dimension. What makes promotional products effective is their ability to cut through all the noise of advertising and connect with your audience. For example, APPA reports that 85.4% of people would rather receive a promotional product than a promotional e-mail. And while a freebie is always appreciated, branded merchandise does so much more for your brand.
Demonstrate brand values through actions.
As we like to say, anything with your logo on it becomes a representation of your brand. You may use a promotional product to launch a new service, reward your staff, or thank your corporate partners after a successful year. In giving a piece of branded merchandise, you are demonstrating what is important to your organisation.
Essentially, that promotional product is a physical representation of your brand values.
As such, the product you choose must align with what you stand for. Environmental and social issues, family-friendly and innovation-orientated can all be conveyed in your branded merchandise, which makes it the best billboard your customers or clients can carry with them.
Encourage reciprocation and referrals.
We’ve talked about how motivating receiving a gift is in our Gift With Purchase article. You may have read that giving your branded merchandise as gifts taps into your customers’ emotions. Namely, gratitude and appreciation.
Your branded merchandise has the power to engage and motivate customers to buy. So much so that 3 out of 4 people would likely switch brands if they received a promotional product from a brand they had not done business. After that initial purchase, your promotional products continue to work by generating a feeling of reciprocity. One good turn deserves another, so to speak. Your new customers become repeat customers and can even bring more into the fold through word of mouth referrals.
Promotional products can help you build a community around your brand.
Amplify your message with tactile elements.
Did you know that 83% of people are more likely to remember an experience if it involved a promotional product? While that can be because your brand is just so memorable, it might also be because of the physical product they have in their hand.
Advertisements and messaging often happen in the audio/visual. TV, radio, social media and print, for example. Promotional products are effective because they use real, tangible branded elements to carry your message.
If you want to bring attention to single-use plastics, branded silicone straws and stainless steel drink bottles make your message so much clearer. Similarly, an on-brand onboarding pack with all the first day essentials demonstrates the welcome you and your team give your new hire.
When are promotional products most effective?
Over our 20+ years of branding experience, we’ve learned that the most effective brands connect with their audience in similar key moments. These moments may vary across industries, however we’ve narrowed them down to the eight most common.
You may find that your brand’s focus is just one of these. Or maybe your brand finds the most success in three, or five, or all of them. Which ever it is, the key moment is when your brand has the most impact for your customers or clients – when your message is the most powerful.
- Events and trade shows: Attract attention, engage with attendees, demonstrate your unique selling point and leave lasting impressions at scale. 90% of consumers believe receiving a promotional product makes event experiences more enjoyable.
- Campaigns and promotions: Add real world elements to your above-the-line campaigns.
- Point of sale presence: Ensure that you’re seen when it really matters.
- Gift with purchase: Increase conversions, engagement and even upsell to get the most out of your merchandise.
- Educational campaigns: Gain and hold the attention that inspires action and benefits the whole community.
- Onboarding: Make the right first impression for members and employees that sets them, and your brand up for success.
- Rewards: Celebrate your members’ and employees’ key moments. 62% of employees feel appreciated when they receive a promotional product from their employer.
- Calendar-based events: Make an impact on the dates that mean the most to your audience.
We’ve created an eight-email series that describes each of the key moments in detail, including real-world applications and product inspiration. After the eight days, you’ll be fully equipped to reinvent your marketing strategy to bring your brand to life in the moments that mean the most to your organisation, and your audience.
What are the most effective promotional products?
Branded merchandise that drives your audience to action has done its job. In the case of the Guzman y Gomez socks, a new design each year is enough to get their social-media followers to order via delivery service. And in 2023, they’ll be downloading the GyG app to spend their money there and receive a pair with the latest design.
However, your promotional product’s effectiveness also depends on its quality and relevance to your audience. Did you know that 59% of consumers agree that the product’s quality is more important that the quantity they receive?
Cheap and cheerful merchandise like silicone wristbands and novelty pens are a great way to get attention and convey your brand’s sense of fun. They’re the right products at family events or in your education campaign, for example. However, co-branded tech items or luxury drinkware make more sense for your executive gifts and internal team rewards.
Our client, Aston Advantage, gives away a sturdy cooler bag to each of their mining trade candidates. This particular product has the quality to withstand harsh job site conditions and is the perfect thing to equip their clients with for their new workplace. Its quality and clear relevance to their clients demonstrates how well Aston Advantage know and understand their clients’ needs. Which, of course, is another key benefit of effective promotional products.
Promotional products are an effective marketing tool for all industries. The right branded merchandise will demonstrate your brand values and create on-brand experiences both externally and internally. Make it quality and relevant to your audience and you’ll have a product that attracts attention and leaves lasting impressions.
Do you need help finding the perfect product? Try our Merch Matcher™ below, or contact our team today.