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Marketers on Promotional Products: Why Promotional Products Are Still Highly Valued Marketing Tools in 2016 and Beyond

As we are continually moving towards a more technical kind of marketing, through online and digital, its refreshing (and hopeful) to know that traditional marketing tools are still sought after today. According to the latest marketing surveys, promotional items have not lost their appeal with marketers. A study done by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) shows that they are still as popular as ever. It seems in this digital world there is still room for touch and feel, haptic marketing is an advantage that shouldn’t been under played. It makes the message tangible and gives your target a hands on experience that helps them lodge it in their long-term memory. In fact you will probably be out manoeuvring your competition if you remember to use all senses in your marketing approach.

Popular Promotional Products Being Purchased

The latest marketing surveys done in 2015 say that among the top promotional products, pens are the most popular, followed by bags and electronics. Many are noticing the rise of promotional gadgets as a favorite among consumers. It’s not surprising since a major demographic among businesses now are millennials and commuters who value social media and online transactions as part of their day to day lives.

Top Uses for a Promotional Product

Generally, marketers use promo items to push several marketing messages like brand visibility or attracting leads, but for the most part, they use these products for raising brand awareness. Here’s the breakdown:
  • 74% of promo items are used for increasing brand visibility
  • 59% are used at events, fairs, seminars
  • 19% are used in direct mail marketing
This study showed that 70% of study respondents use promo items mainly for brand awareness objectives. Keeping your brand top of mind!

What Makes a Successful Promotional Item

Marketers also noted the following qualities that made clients happy with promo giveaways. First is quality, second, if a product was memorable, and third, if it was relevant to them. Consumers also appreciated usefulness and long desk life. It was not unusual for people to keep promo items for more than 6 months, especially if it held some sentimental value.

Average Budget for Promotional Products

While big companies are shelling more money for TV adverts, it’s not uncommon for almost all businesses to give promotional products a share in their marketing budget. Spending statistics show:
  • 22% of marketers surveyed said, their annual spending was between: £500 – £2,000
  • 38% of marketers surveyed said, they spent an average of £1.01 – £2.50 per unit on giveaways

What Motivates Marketers to Buy Promo Items

It was a common consensus that marketers were also willing to spend more on promotional items if the following incentives were present:
  1. They were allowed to have bigger budgets
  2. There were more relevant product ideas (we can help with that use us to help you form ideas)
  3. If it was easier (and cheaper) to source products that offered something different

How Marketers Choose Suppliers

Finally, marketers were asked how they chose the right suppliers for their campaigns. 81% of respondents said they found their suppliers online. Others either went back to their trusted suppliers or used ones referred to them. What’s interesting is that only a minority found suppliers through advertising.

What Makes a Good Supplier (like us!)

Marketers were also looking for the following guarantees from a quality supplier:
  1. Understands requirements
  2. Provides great customer service experience
  3. Had quality products
  4. Well-designed website and catalogue
  5. Industry compliant products
  6. Offered a wide range of choices
If you have any questions about promotional products, and how they can help your marketing efforts, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We offer expert advice on promotional marketing and branding to help get you started! Connect with us on social for more tips on how to do great branding!

Promotional Items: How Businesses Can Benefit from the Latest BPMA Industry Survey

Our company is part of the British Promotional Merchandise Association which gives industry standard regulations for the promotional products industry in the UK. They recently released the results of how promotional products impact businesses and consumers today.

BPMS Industry Research 2013 Survey Background

1,000 respondents (where 52% were aged 30-49) from IT, retail, services, insurance, charity and education sectors where interviewed in December 2012, by BPMA and an independent research agency, to find out how promotional items affect consumers’ response towards businesses who offer them. The study further analysed which promotional products were the most effective in eliciting the most positive response. Here are 4 lessons we learned from this study:

1.) Promotional items are welcomed positively and are still effective tools for brand recall

Here’s a summary of survey results that tallied common responses from promotional merchandise recipients: – 94.1% Do not forget the advertiser/product after they have had the promotional item for more than six months – 66.6% Generally keep promotional products if they are practical – 46.1% Generally like receiving products that have an advertising message *multi answers were possible

2.) Promotional products are as effective as TV advertising but only take a fraction of the cost

BPMA asked respondents which of the following media were effective in making them remember a product, brand or service: – 39% TV garnered the top spot – 35% Promotional merchandise followed – 10% Print and Online split – 5% Direct Mail was last

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3.) Promotional products are still the best motivators for purchase decisions

Respondents were asked which of the following advertising media were the most effective in getting them to take action: – 50.7% Promotional Products got the top spot – 19.4% Went to TV – 11.2% Went to Online Ads – 9.8% Print (newspapers/magazines) – 8.9% Direct Mail

4.) Recipients were most likely to pick a promotional product if it’s USEFUL and ATTRACTIVE

The study asked respondents what actions are they most likely to take if free promotional items were being given at an event: – 53.9% “I would get the promotional item if it’s useful.” – 20.2 “I would get it regards of the product” – 17.4% “I would get the product if it’s attractive”

5.) The Top Promotional Products for Brand Recall are Mugs, Pens and USB sticks (storage device)

Lastly, respondents also clarified which promotional products (if they are useful) will enable brand recall, and help retain an advertising message: – 47.1 % Mugs – 47.1% Pens – 40.6% USB Stick – 36.7% Calendar – 35.2% Diary or Notebook

As part of the promotional marketing industry we are happy to see that promotional products are still getting the recognition they deserve for being one of the most effective tools for marketing any business. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the Fortune 500 or a small startup, anybody can reap the benefits of using promotional items in their marketing arsenal. They’re not only cost effective, but they are the most positive means to create and maintain lifelong customer relationships.

Top 3 Reasons Why People Keep Promotional Items

The truth of the matter is, no matter how fancy adverts get and no matter how clever they are, promotional products will always be at the heart of business marketing. The idea behind it is so ingrained in human nature, that nobody can argue with how effective it is. Promotional marketing‘s take on the “Law of Reciprocity” makes it easier for your marketing message to get through! Simply put – corporate gifts make customers more receptive to what you have to offer. A promotional product is a tangible, but residual advertising tool, that helps them evaluate the merits of your product or service and keep you in thier mind for when they are ready to buy. According to the British Promotional Products Association (BPMA), its not unusual for people to keep their favourite promo product for more than 6 months. And that’s more advertising value for your money! It’s at a fraction of the cost your business can get from TV advertising, the top rated advertising method known today. But as most tools go, you’ll need to give the right kind of promotional gift to the right audience. Once you’ve identified your core market, it pays to know what makes a promotional product irresistible to customers.

Here are the top 3 reasons people hold on to them:

desktopadvent_tweet 1. Usefulness People are more likely to be drawn to corporate giveaways that are practical to them. Something that can be part of their day, or something that will make their life a little easier. Right now, pens, calendars and trendy promotional gadgets make up the top promo items with long shelf lives. Second to that are: post-it notes, mugs and pencils. You can be sure your business is always on their minds if your product is a part of their day. 2. Sentimental Value Holidays, Christmas, Anniversaries, Events, Promotions. Why not let your brand be part of an important milestone in your customer’s life? This is how successful businesses with long term customer relationships do it: they know how to “grow up and grow old” with their market.   3. Actual Product Value Finally, choose corporate gifts that reflect your brand’s image well. Your promotional item doesn’t have to be the most expensive trinket, but it will still have to be of high quality and extremely relevant to your target audience. Ask yourself if this product can remain on their desks for more than a month. Will it be good enough to spur them to action, and think of you when its time to make a purchase?

How to Make Sure You Are Getting Quality Promotional Products

We at Promo2u are always happy to help you pick the right product for your ideal customer. As part of the BPMA, we adhere to the highest industry standards, with a guarantee. This means:
  • We follow a strict BPMA code of conduct to protect end users
  • A written product specification will be produced and agreed
  • Samples will be provided to ensure sufficient product quality
  • A production/delivery schedule will be issued as part of our contract with you
Get in touch with us and we’ll offer our knowledge and expertise to keep your marketing on track.

This is not a Pen

According to the British Promotional Merchandise Association the promotional pen is the best selling promotional product. At Promo2u we have a saying that this is not a pen, it is an ambassador of your brand, it can be a low cost motivator or a high end reward so how do you choose the pen that’s right for you and your business and why does this matter?

Point ONE: Identify your target audience If the application and the end user profile match up then the pen and the company represented on it will be of a higher value to the user(s) and this will provide a positive awareness of the brand / name for the lifetime of the product ensuring you get a better return on your investment.

Point TWO: Consider design Both the aesthetic appeal and overall design are important components in making the correct selection. Colours and designs vary enormously, as well as the branding areas, also great to consider black or blue ink, take time to consider a line which is complimentary to the application as well as your targets profile. For example a pen which is made from recycled plastic may strengthen your message by subtly helping your target audience get a feel for your companies approach to ethics and the environment.

Point THREE: Consider budget There are literally tens of thousands of pens to choose from, having an idea of the target cost per unit can help narrow your selection, whilst it is important to note that the branding on volumes of up to 1000 units can represent a large percentage of the costs so how its branded will impact directly on the unit costs. (Just the barrel or on the barrel and the clip or maybe the barrel, the clip and the box?)

Point FOUR: Consider branding area / available options You will need to consider how much information you need to convey. For example do you need a company name / brand plus a strap line on just the barrel and is this using 2 SPOT colours (without tones or shading), or will you require an intricate design with a multiplicity of colours so considering branding on the clip as well as all around the barrel using 4 colour process print (using graduated tones like with photos and blended illustrations)? You will need to ensure the selected products have the capability to represent your brand / message effectively, do not under estimate the importance of this, how your brand / marketing message sits on the product is paramount in achieving a clear and memorable communication. Resist the urge to write a book, of course the promotional product industry has a solution for this, when you find yourself trying to communicate too much on the pen, consider a banner pen.


Various print methods and options for engraving are available. Some products can be printed and engraved, others will only be suitable for SPOT colour printing whilst in todays digital world many pens can now be printed 4 colour process using 360 degree wrap around technology. Most pen manufacturers / distributors provide details of the printing areas and different personalisation methods available either online or in their printed literature. At Promo2u we can offer visuals showing how the product will look with your branding and provide this service free of charge to help you decide ask your promotional products adviser to help you, that’s what our experience team are there to do!

Point FIVE: Increasing the demand and appeal of your pen so it is the pen of choice for your target audience? It is quality rather than quantity that matters wrote Seneca. How a pen writes, its weight, colour of ink and design all impact on the interest your target audience will show towards your product. There is also that good old basic need, one of the top reasons people keep promotional products is because they find them useful. Multi functional pens can help ensure your messages stay with your customers to the point when they need your service / product.