A promotional item is a key tool in your business marketing arsenal. But what is a promotional item? According to Wikipedia it is “promotional merchandise, promotional items, promotional products, promotional gifts or advertising gifts, sometimes nicknamed swag or schwag, are articles of merchandise (often branded with a logo) used in marketing and communication programs.”

I would take that definition a little bit further. A promotional item helps you develop a relationship with your prospects or clients. So, one of the top ways a promotional item works is by keeping your name in front of your clients and prospects.

The right promotional item is used by your client on a regular basis keeping your business top of mind. What other advertising medium does that?

Increase Sales with Promotional Products

In a recent Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) study on the influence of promotional products on consumer behavior they found that 55% of consumers had done business with a business before they had received a promotional item. However after receiving the promotional item, 85% did business with the advertiser. A nice bump. And advertisers were also able to increase their business even among those who hadn’t done business with them before by 11%.

As you are developing your marketing programs keep in mind that promotional products can help you minimize the time gaps in the exposure that your mass media campaigns may have and they can provide cues that help increase your brand recall with your mass and social media efforts.

Another way a promotional item can work for your business is it assists you in opening the lines of

Promotional Items grab attention

Start a Conversation. Neon Notebook Gets Surprise Reaction Every Time

communication with your target audience. I have to admit that I am always looking for different or fun items to give prospects or clients because I know it will create a reaction. “Wow, that’s really cool” or “I can really use this” or “I’ve wanted one of these for quite a while”. What better way to start or cement a relationship, than with a gift.

As all the comments above imply, a useful promotional item sticks around. So in addition to helping you stay top of mind and start a conversation, a useful promotional item can be kept for weeks, months and even years – giving you long last impressions at a very low cost. And in many cases, it will be seen by others (as your recipient is using it) thereby increasing your reach as well.

Be honest, don’t you have a tote bag, work-out towel, pen, USB, hand sanitizer, coffee mug or other promotional item that you have had for a very long time? The challenge of course is finding that item that will have long term life on your prospect or clients desk, car or purse. But when you do it is worth it’s weight in gold.

A promotional item can also be a great attention getter. Everyone likes something for FREE. And when you are participating in a trade show or event what better way to stand out that by giving a great promotional product that draws an audience.

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau recently set up a large vending machine in Times Square where people lined up to press a button and win free logo’d “It’s so Miami” merchandise or maybe even a trip to Miami! What a way to grab attention in a key market for Miami. And I guarantee that many of the merchandise winners will be wearing and keeping their “FREE” promotional item for quite a while, reminding them consistently to think about Miami for their next vacation. Take a look at how much fun people were having!  It’s So Miami.

So how will you use promotional items in your marketing mix?

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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