Promotional Products and Advertising: 7 Ways They Go Together

promotional products and advertising

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promotional products and advertisingIf you’ve ever had a point in your business where you needed more customers or employees, it’s likely, you may have turned to advertising at some point.  According to Entrepreneur.com, the purpose in advertising is to:

  • Make customers aware of your products or services
  • Convince customers that your products or services are right for their needs
  • Create a desire for your products or services
  • Enhance the image of your company
  • Announce new products or services
  • Reinforce salespeople’s messages
  • Make customers take the next step in your sales funnel
  • or, Draw customers to your business

With today’s trends, most small business owners are turning to Facebook or Google to satisfy their advertising needs, but there are still older and highly effective forms of advertising that can get entrepreneurs high return on their investments.  Promotional products are one of the highest and most effective forms of advertising there is.

And, promotional products and advertising have served as a great pair for quite a long time!  In fact, promotional products and advertising has been an intentional pair since 1789!

A Brief History of Promotional Products and Advertising

It’s said that the first example of promotional products and advertising being used together was to commemorate George Washington becoming the first US president!  Citizens wore buttons to celebrate the new president.

Later, in 1880, a newsagent approached a shoe store owner suggesting the he use his printing machine in between news issues to print advertisements on the shoe bags to advertise his shoe store–this became the first known promotional product and advertising business.  Later, calendars, and other items became popular products for advertising also.

In 1904, the Promotional Products Trade Association International was formed where they host trade shows and exhibitions to showcase the power of promotional products and advertising.  After one hundred years of business, the PPTAI is still growing, and the promotional products industry is growing in awareness while people are learning how effective promotional products can be as an alternative to other advertising types.

promotional products and advertisingPromotional Products and Advertising: How They Go Hand in Hand

The metrics used to measure advertisements are usually:

  • Number of impressions
  • Price per impression
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per impression
  • Number of engaged customers
  • Cost per acquired customer

With promotional products you’re able to influence several metrics consistent with other advertising routes, and more!  Here’s a list of a few metrics you can influence with promotional product advertising…

Promotional Products and Advertising | Number of Impressions

Bags and writing instruments tie at the lowest cost per impression of any promotional product in the US at one tenth of one cent!  Advertising online, on billboards, or even direct mail costs based on the competitiveness of the niche.  Instead, a promotional product can get lots of impressions for a low cost simply because it’s useful.

Just think about it…

A customer buys something from you.  You bag their item in a high quality shopping bag, as they’re walking around, loading their car, or walking their items home, people are able to see your brand and message on the bag!  It’s a way of getting an endorsement and very low cost advertising at the same time!  Some industries are paying very high costs (upwards of $20.00 per click) for advertising online.  When purchased in bulk, promotional products tend to be reasonably priced, and shopping bags can be purchased for cents on the dollar!

As an added bonus, when a useful promotional product is given away, customers appreciate it, and they may even return specifically to reciprocate the appreciation for the useful promotional item.

Customer Acquisition & Brand Awareness with Promotional Products and Advertising

Statistics show that before receiving a promotional product, 55 percent of people had done business with the advertiser.  After receiving a promotional product, 85 percent of people did business with the advertiser.

Customers find out about new products and services thru promotional products.  From branded shopping bags to custom pens to apparel with your logo, when people see brand names, it serves as an endorsement, and sparks their curiosity.

Shark Tank’s Daymond John leveraged influencers wearing products with his brand on it to build credibility and traction quickly.  Simply by having hip hop stars wear his products by “For Us By Us”, otherwise known as FUBU, he was able to gain an indirect endorsement, and start getting lots of orders (even before having inventory).

You can leverage the power of promotional product advertising similar to Daymond John and get thousands of impressions for a very low cost!

promotional products and advertisingPromotional Products and Advertising for Customer Engagement

Have you ever heard television shows that say, “Call now and get this (promotional product) free”?  There’s several examples of giveaways in exchange for email addresses, purchases, or social shares.  Oprah is the queen of promotional giveaways!

Oprah’s promotional giveaways have ranged from promotional products to houses, cars, event tickets, and luxury vacations.  Branded products is an obvious ongoing asset for Oprah and many other corporate giants because they know giving attracts people and keeps them anxious for the next big thing!

For Oprah viewers, they wonder:

  • Will she be giving gifts under the chairs?
  • How will the next episode go?
  • Will she be giving cars?
  • Will she give vacations?

The suspense of not knowing what she’ll do or give next keeps viewers engaged and coming back.  Like great movie premiers, they may have great content, but no one will go and see the movie unless there’s a very suspenseful trailer that opens a loop and doesn’t close it.  You can use promotional products to open suspense, engage customers, and increase relationship.

Deeper customer relationships + suspense + promotional products = Higher customer engagement!

How to Use Promotional Products and Advertising to Incentivize Loyalty

promotional products and advertisingUnlike many interrupting forms of advertising, promotional products can generate excitement from long term clients because they’re perceived as a gift.  Naturally, as humans, most of us have an inner ambition that looks forward to milestones, which is why:

  • Schools do awards ceremonies to celebrate behavior they want to encourage
  • People (especially kids!) look forward to birthdays and holidays
  • And, we look forward to climaxes in our weeks, months, and years

You can leverage the excitement of forward thinking by placing giveaway milestones for your customers.  Promotional products can be used:

  • As rewards for long term patronage
  • As awards for reaching a certain purchase amount
  • To say “thank you” for referrals

When you show appreciation for longevity, you tend to get more of it.

Promotional Products and Advertising | Brand Perception and Reputation

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini talks about 6 principles of persuasion that cause people to be persuaded from one thought process to another.  They are:

  • Reciprocity
  • Scarcity
  • Authority
  • Consistency
  • Liking
  • and, Consensus

You can use promotional products to play into an advertising campaign with all of the elements of persuasion.  You can:

  • Reward action takers
  • Give an item that’s useful or has a high perceive value to spike the sense of reciprocity from customers
  • Demonstrate authority with branded products and consistently displaying them.  For example: Branded uniforms, giveaways, etc.
  • Give out products to first responders to invoke scarcity
  • Reward social sharing, endorsements, reviews, and signs of consensus and liking
  • and, be consistent

promotional products and advertisingCustomer and Employee Appreciation with Promotional Products and Advertising

Customers and Employees are the lifeblood of any business.  Without good customers and good employees, a business cannot thrive, therefore, it’s important to show appreciation.

Like Oprah, Dave Ramsey has been a huge proponent of giving.  His giving ranges from promotional products to cars and money!  He does giveaways to commemorate anniversaries for his business as appreciation for continued patronage by his customers.  In his book, EntreLeadership, he shared how he gives bonus checks, trophies, and does other things to show appreciation to the people working for him.

Final Words on Promotional Products and Advertising

Promotional products can solve many of the typical advertising metrics plus some.  Many people who have added promotional product advertising into their businesses feel a sense of fulfillment by seeing happy customers who recieve a gift, while simultaneously, they’re getting an advertising impression.  It’s a win win!

If you have any questions about promotional product advertising, I’d love to answer them!  Leave your comments below.

promotional products and advertising

Now, it’s Your Turn…

Have you noticed how promotional products and advertising go together?  What’s an example you’ve seen? Leave your comments below.

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6 thoughts on “Promotional Products and Advertising: 7 Ways They Go Together”

  1. Thanks for the post. Very interesting read. It’s surprising how much I took the promotional products for granted. It’s a very clever and subtle way of advertising if its done right. You have certainly given me some ideas and your article has opened my eyes to the power of promotional products and advertising.

    1. Hi Jamila! I love how subtle and appreciated promotional product advertising is in comparison to others. Glad you enjoyed!

  2. I’ve never really looked that deeply into the power/effectiveness of promotional products for a business, but reading your article does bring a few realisations to light.

    Sure you can get the typical printed coffee mug on the the go, but most people fail to realize how often they subconsciously notice brands on free bags. 

    I used to live in London and I couldn’t help but notice the difference in the quality of bags given out to fashion items, at the time it was a clothing company named Firetrap. Their bags were actually cooler than their clothes – and were given free with every item of clothing! 

    As you say – it’s all down to price per item and conversion rate, but I coudn’t help but think that they had got it right, the bag stood out so well. 

    A thoroughly interesting article Tiffany – thanks so much for sharing!

    Chris

    1. I wouldn’t recommend having better promo items than products. Haha, but in your case, you saw that work effectively. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. It really is amazing how effective advertisement and promotional products are when done correctly. I like your example with Oprah and giving away free stuff which keeps her audience engaged.

    It reminds me a bit of finding free stuff in cereal boxes, have you ever gotten one of those? Free movie passes or even just a free pair of 3D glasses. I still remember getting a free car toy from a Corn Pops cereal box when I was 14, and today when I see Corn Pops at the grocery store shelves I always think about that free car toy I got. It is so powerful.

    1. Hi Kent! I do remember getting gifts in cereal boxes, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen that happen! Thanks for bringing that example up. You remember a freebie from age 14–that’s just further proof of the power of promo products.

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