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Published on 2019-11-14

Promotional products are used as a form of marketing. Here is a look at why they are so effective.

November 13, 2019

Promotional products, also known as ‘swag’ or ‘freebies’, are a time-proven method of promoting your brand. There are many different ways that companies use promotional products as a form of marketing, and the reasons promotional products are so highly effective goes much deeper than “people love free stuff” – even if that’s true. People do love free stuff, and that’s a part of the appeal that promotional products offer, but let’s examine exactly how and why promotional products are so effective.

For starters, promotional products are highly versatile, as they’re typically simple, practical items that can be used every day by the target audience. The products of course carry your brand logo, which forms a mental connection between your brand and the person using the product. For example, an office worker who drinks coffee every day from a coffee mug with your brand’s logo will be seeing your logo every day, keeping your brand firmly printed in their mind.

Promotional products can represent a lifestyle

Promotional products can also be tailored to fit a certain lifestyle and represent a certain image put forth by your brand. For example, eco-friendly products are a major trend as more people become aware of global warming and the global footprint we leave when using products made from certain resources. And according to Smallbizgenius, up to 90% of consumers are loyal to brands that share their personal values.

So things like eco-friendly tote bags, like the ones seen here on Promotions Warehouse, can give the impression that your brand supports the environment and eco-friendly products. And this of course leads to a more favorable impression of your brand, by people who care about climate change – and according to a Pew Research report, it’s quite a large percentage of people around the world, by country.

But promotional products don’t only impact the recipient, as certain items can also cause impressions on people around the person using the product. Tote bags are another excellent example of this, but so are things like outerwear, which includes t-shirts, jackets, hoodies, etcetera. When someone wears a promotional product bearing your brand’s logo, they literally become a walking billboard for your brand. This creates many more impressions than, for example, an actual billboard sign that you rent temporarily.

What are the most popular promotional products?

There are hundreds of promotional products – I mean, you can stick a brand logo on pretty much anything. But not all products are equal in terms of popularity, and this generally boils down to whether the product is actually useful for the recipient, and their perceived value of it.

To go a bit into ‘perceived value’, recognize that most people aren’t very good at estimating the actual value of products. So a promotional product that costs you very little, maybe $5 per item, can be perceived by the recipient as having a higher value. Imagine, for example, a bottle of wine that comes with a ‘free’ corkscrew opener. Because the bottle of wine comes with a ‘free’ product, the company doesn’t necessarily need to worry about offering a discount for the wine.

Let’s say the company was going to offer a $10 discount on the bottle of wine, but instead chose to package it with a ‘free’ corkscrew opener, which cost $3. The customer sees the free product, and believes they’re getting a deal, even sans discount.

In any case, we explained enough about perceived value of promotional products, so let’s actually look at what some of the most popular promotional products are, based on surveys of promo product recipients:

  • Tote bags and cinch-up backpacks
  • Coffee mugs
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Stress relievers (squeezable balls, etc)
  • Pens
  • Wellness products (fitness trackers, pedometers, etc)
  • Lip balm

That’s just a short list of some of the most popular and well-received promotional products, but there are lots more out there.



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