The most prioritised factors when buying promotional merchandise

When asked what the most important factors were when they look to buy promotional products, the most highly rated items were:

  • Product Usefulness (4.23/5)
  • Price (4.09/5)
  • Relevance to Campaign (4/5)
  • Product Durability (3.94/5)
  • Product Uniqueness (3.85/5)

Factors not considered quite as important are the likes of environmental credentials, lead time or CSR (corporate social responsibility). We at Pavilion looked at the most important factor here. People buy gifts that people hold onto, use. They essentially want it to be picked up and played with. This is of course extremely important, as the more an item is picked up, the more that brand is exposed to the gift receiver but also the people around them.

The qualities that make the perfect promotional gift

When asked which qualities make the perfect promotional gift, the higest rated characteristic was a product's usefulness, again showing that people are adamant that the product is picked up and display their own company brand. The next three most important factors were personalisation, uniqueness and durability. Naturally, you want to give away a gift that shows off your company logo - you'd hate for someoneone to love a promotional gift but completely forget who gave it to them. Uniqueness was quite an important one too, and is a discussion point we'll get back to in just a second.

One thing though that needs to be considered though is that under the bracket of usefulness, no marketer absolutely means being used, it means being picked up. This means being played with. This makes the lines of promotional products you can choose from longer, as people use mugs every day, but a stress ball or even a key ring might be just as effective.

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How companies use promotional merchandise

There were four main areas that promotional products are used in. These four were trade show giveaways, sales incentives, customer recognition and emplyee engagement. Trade shows are the most popular, and is likely one of the reasons why pricing was one of the main factors from people earlier, as some companies only give gifts away at these trade shows. When you are looking at the other factors, it might be important to consider price as a non-primary factor.

  • Trade Show Giveaways - 66.5%
  • Customer Recognition - 52%
  • Sales Incentives - 37%
  • Employee Engagement - 27%

We at Pavilion have offered our own expert advice as the best gifts to get for trade shows, and also shared a few top tips for surviving those sorts of events. You can read the full article on our blog.

The most given out promotional products

How large is the promotional products industry? Well, when asked how many gifts they had on their desk, 89% of the 200 surveyed had at least one gift on their desk, and 44% of them had more than four items on their desk.

Now when it comes to which products are on these desks, the five most common products are:

  • Pen (66%)
  • Notebook (43%)
  • Mug (20%)
  • Mouse Mat and Coaster (17%)

Now, seeing these figures, a marketer might assume that because there are more pens on a desk, then that must be the most popular product. This is the wrong assumption to make. One of the most popular factors that was mentioned earlier was that the gifts they like to buy is something unique. The other thing they need to consider is their marketing goal. Are they trying to gain brand exposure, or actually attempting to market the company? You must consider your promotional products carefully, as the investment you have to make has to convince people to come to your brand to spend money. Every businessman will take a free pen if it's going, but does that mean it's effective as a marketable product? Would you prefer a pen yourself, or something more distinctive? We realised this was the big mistake made by everyone, and is the sole reason that we focus on promotional sporting products rather than anything else.

Our hypothesis above is backed up by the next set of data collected when the survey asked:

"What item would you say makes the perfect promotional gift?"

Whilst over 66% of people had a pen, only 18.3% of people said that it was the perfect promotional product. Whilst this remains the most popular answer, there is a large gap in the data not discussed by the BPMA. If just 2% of people received a personalised mini rugby ball (for instance), but the entire 2% of people said that it was an effective gift, then that would by definition make a much more perfect present than a pen, who's approval is less than one in three.

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Promotional products are proven to be more effective than any other medium.

More research has been done by the BPMA as to the effectiveness of promotional products. Analysing competiting figures from the mediums of direct mail, online advertising, printed advertisements in the likes of magazines and even promotions that run on TV, you can deduce these three important conclusions.

  • Promotional products makes recipients feel appreciated more.
  • They motivate over twice as many recipients to take action.
  • They invoke loyalty in over three times as many recipients.

Television is second in each of these circumstances, and with that being an expensive option, promotional products prove their worth yet again. This is investigated when we measure the ROI on promotional products in our blog. You can read it here under the headline "Cost of Impressions".

All this research was conducted at the Marketing Week Live in 2017 and the B2B Marketing Expo, with a survey that included 200 people marketing professionals and buyers of promotional products. [SOURCE]

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