The BPMA (British Promotional Merchandising Association) conducts a lot of research into the science of promotional products, what people have on their desks and of course what people prefer.
However, we found something very interesting about their public study. Despite asking people what they had on their desk, the actual question they should have been asking was this:
"Which promotional products have inspired you to go back to that brand?"
After all, the idea of a promotional product is about brand exposure, but that is not the primary goal for whenever you hand out a product. What you want is a product that people see, potentially associate with an event, and actually return to that brand to do business with them, otherwise, what is the point of the investment? Is that not what real marketing is?
Of the people surveyed by the BPMA, 66% of people had a branded pen, 43% had a branded notebook, and 20% had a branded mug on their desk. Now, looking at these figures, it would be safe to assume that if you supplied people with promotional items like this, then you will be a success. However, that would be the wrong assumption.
You are a business that wants to identify itself as something special, something innovative, something different to anyone else out there. If you want to be known as individual, why would you give away the same things as everyone else? It's important to think about yout target audience; dedicate as much time into thinking about this as you would any other marketing project. Naturally we think sport is always an excellent choice, but analyse your audience and think about they might actually enjoy.
Promotional products are a sure fire way to improve business and customer relations. The BPMA's research shows that 79.4% of people surveryed felt appreciated. 47.1% of the same group said they felt happy receiving promotional gifts.
Whilst pens seem to have been voted the perfect promotional gift, the question was asked not just to people who had received it, but also the people who are giving these away. Just because they think giving the likes of pens away is effective does not necessarily mean that those people who receive the pens think so too.
In fact, despite 66% of people saying they have a promotional pen on their desks, only 18.3% actually say that was an effective gift. This is conclusive evidence that the normal really is not what people apprecaite. They would like something extraordinary and tailored for them.
When asked "What is your biggest frustration when buying promotional merchandise?", 45% of respondents said that poor quality was the most annoying thing. The likes of pricing and lead time were as low as 16% and 12% respectively. This shows that the cheap gifts are not what people care about. What they want to see is something of good quality, even if it is more expensive.
In a study of marketers by the BPMA in 2014, these were the most important factors to them:
- Quality 81%
- Memorable 71%
- Relevance 69%
- Usefulness 65%
- Long Desk Life 31%
Marketers actually value something that is a decent standard and is actually memorable, not something cheap and is the same product that everyone else gives away.
What products should I invest in?
Look for the special, the unusual. Remember as well to relate it to your marketing theme. If you have something during the winter, sunglasses might not be the best call. If your target market is the likes of students or a tech company, instead of USB sticks (now an old technoogy what with iCloud, Dropbox and Google Drive), look at the likes of laptop bags. If your target market spends a lot of time out on the golf course, run a campaign along the likes of the British Open along with some customised golf balls. The trick is to think outside the box, and if it means you spend more per product, just be more sparing in the amount you give out. After all, giving away a hundred bad promotional gifts is a lot less effective than giving away five meaningful targeted ones.
Have a think for a second and consider what sort of branded products would you actually value and help you to go back to that brand. What's worked for you in previous occasions, what hasn't worked on you?
Promotional products are one of the most effective ways to market your company, no matter the size, so don't take it for granted, and soon you'll start seeing the results.
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Whether you or your customers love running, football or tennis, these promotional products are going to be eye-catching and memorable. Find your target audience, and hit with them with something extraordinary.