Every company is always looking for ways to promote their business to their prospects and keep them top of mind with their customers. One of the most effective tactics is to include promotional products in their marketing mix.

Promotional products have been around since the late 1780’s back when George Washington was elected president. He was the first to use a commemorative button.

Product promotion button

Simple but Effective Button – First Product Promotion

And due that success, promo items grew in popularity with the use of calendars and wooden specialties as an advertising vehicle in the early and mid 1800’s.

If they’ve been around that long, they must work, right? Well they do. Imprinted items with your company logo and a call to action on them (phone number, website, etc) are one of the most cost effective forms of advertising. I personally love seeing the promo items that I have given people “out” in the community. And of course bringing me business!

Promo Items Are Seen and Used!

As a matter of fact, I was at lunch recently and my seat overlooked the parking lot. My lunch partner was running late so I was people watching out the window. And what did I see?  A gentleman walking across the lot carrying a large purple grocery tote with my logo on it! It brought a smile to my face. But my smile grew when I realized I didn’t know the person carrying my bag!

Effective Promotional Gifts

Bright bags make effective promotional gifts

It’s one of the reasons we choose bright colors and always make sure we have some type of bag in our promotional gifts closet. Right now we have a bright yellow drawstring backpack. I see people carrying them at festivals all the time. I like to give bags as a promotional gift not only because they are so useful but because I know they are used month after month. I also use them to carry sales literature and any other samples or gifts I may be reviewing with a client or prospect at a meeting. Then I leave it with them  — a great  reminder of our visit to them after the meeting.

Promotional products are also very effective in an incentive or loyalty program. Again, you are thanking your customers or prospects with a promotional gift that has motivated them to take action. For example, you want more information about your customers and ask them to fill out a short survey – for their time you give them a sticky note pad, flashlight or pen – whatever would work best for your company and of course, it has your logo on it.

Promotional Items are Effective As Gift with Purchase

Or as they reach certain levels of purchasing or referring business to you they receive a different gift. For instance, for joining the program they receive a logo’d travel mug (they take your logo with them whenever they are on the road), then after a certain about of dollar purchases they receive a logo’d duffel bag (carrying your logo to the gym each week – where other see it too)… you get the idea.

Promotional items are also great to use as a gift with purchase promotion. You could be a retail, service company or restaurant, doesn’t matter, they work. How many times have you been in a bar (ok, yes, I enjoy sitting at a bar watching a great sports match) and they have a promotion where you get to keep the imprinted glass?

Or you are in a retail store and they have a special offer for laundry detergent or such and you get a free laundry bag with the store logo of course.

Or a restaurant that offers interactive meals (they are fun, you get to help cook your meal along with a sous chef) and they hand out imprinted aprons or chef hats that you get to keep.

As you can see, these are just a few of the effective product promotion tactics that will keep your name in front of your clients and prospects. What are your favorites?

Danette Gossett

Danette brings more than 30 years of experience developing advertising campaigns, direct marketing programs and sales promotions to her clients. Prior to starting her companies, she worked for New York advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi & Lowe Marschalk.

Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More

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