The science behind promotional products is absolutely solid. Countless amounts of research and surveys have found that promo gifts generate higher attention to a brand, loyalty, make recipients of the gift feel more appreciated and also motivates people to take action. This was taken from a study done by the bpma, comparing promo products against mediums of print, online, direct mail and even TV.

That being said, if you use promotional products ineffectively, you can actually hurt your brand and your ROI, which you definitely do not want to do. Here are our tips for making sure you create business rather than hurt your company reputation and profit margins.

1. When to hand out promotional products.

One thing that will eat through your marketing budget is handing out too many promotional products.  The same way you do not hand out a flyer to everyone on the high street, you shouldn't throw your promo products to anyone and everyone.

There are a few good times to hand them out. In fact we made a handy list here which lists 9 ways to use promotional products. I'll cover them again briefly below but it's some good further reading if you are more interested.

Sales incentives are always a nice idea if you are looking to reward your own staff, as are Christmas presents. But if you are looking to give them to potential customers of yours, look towards trade shows. Nearly everyone has been to some sort of convention in the past and come away with about a dozen small freebies of some kind.

However, if you are looking to hand out products at a trade show, there is a rule to take: Do not give out countless amounts. The best sales pitches you make at the trade show are when you dedicate five minutes to a single person or pair from the same company. When you make this small five minute pitch, it's a good idea to give them a promotional gift, but handing them out to everyone who walks by the stand is a waste of an investment as the sales pitch is non-existent.

In the same vain, sales meetings are an ideal opportunity to leave a promotional gift. You've made a pitch, answered their questions and with any luck are clicking with them. You want them to know you are nice people to work with. With a concentrated pitch like this, a promotional gift is a great idea. Leaving a couple of nice mini footballs is something that they will love. However, we did write a blog piece about how handing out the wrong promo product could hurt your brand, so I'd give that a read too.

Another great time to hand out promotional products is during company events. Whether it's the Academy Awards party or a summer get-together, a small gift bag with a nice promotional gift in goes a very long way.


2. Spend Your Money Wisely

Research has shown that what marketers and gift receivers look for is the quality of the gift. No one likes giving out cheap products, and no one likes receiving them. It's obvious when they are bought for pennies and can hurt your brand image for that very reason. Higher quality products come with a cost, that much is obvious. However, if you follow our rule above to deliberately hand out fewer promotional gifts, that would leave you with a larger budget per promotional item. The better quality gift you hand out, your customers are going to feel more appreciated.

Who your clients are also changes how much you should spend per product. For instance, if you are a company that sells manufacturing equipment for tens of thousands of pounds, or if your potential clients are the likes of brand giants such as Pepsi or Natwest, then spending a small amount of money on promotional items is going to leave them in a foul mood. If I was dealing with a small estate agent, a mini rugby ball might work, but if I was dealing with Pepsi, I think I'd want to spend a bit more and get them a vintage football to really make my sales pitch count.

3. What are other people giving out?

The goal of your company is to one-up your competition in every aspect of your business. You want to have a better tasting drink, you want to provide quicker lead times or a more helpful customer service. The same rule applies in promotional products. You want to give out better gifts.

However, do not just look at your competition. Look at the bigger picture. Imagine this. You go to a company pitching printing services and leave some promotional pens. Your competitors hand out nothing, so do you have the upper hand? Or, do you fade into the background because they've actually received boxes of pens from a different company hoping to win a security contract? Your promotional gifts will have zero effect, meaning your investment in those items was a waste.

You want your company to stand out above the competition, but also actually stand out altogether. Therefore, look at what other people are giving out. Here are the top five promotional gifts handed out:

  • 66% or people have branded pens
  • 43% have custom notebooks
  • 20% of people had promotional mugs
  • 17% of people surveyed had branded coasters and mouse mats.

If you want to stand out, you need to actually get products that hardly anyone else has. If you buy gifts like these, then how do you expect to be differentiated from anyone else? Next time you are at a trade show, count how many pens you are handed out. My personal record is eight. Eight of the same product, and by the end I couldn't remember what any of the eight did as a company.

Choose something different. get creative.

4. What is going to grab people's attention?

We advise that the best promotional gifts are different from everything else, but also you need to pick something that people are going to notice, going to like. Here are Pavilion, we can see the power of sporting events. We know that during the FIFA World Cup, anything remotely football related soared in popularity, not just with us but with everything in shops. We see the same with the likes of the 6 Nations, the Ashes and more. Therefore, look at what's happening around the world or the country at the time. Luckily, there are sporting events happening all year around - making for a great marketing theme, but you can find your own thing that is going to grab the attention of your consumers.

If you do want to see 2019's upcoming events, check our page here which is continually updated.

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