The Real Power of Promotional products

In today’s ultra-competitive environment, what trait do successful companies share? They use integrated marketing to enhance relationships with customers and employees. One of the most cost-effective tools for building rapport is with promotional products.

The value of promotional products is in their ability to carry a message to a well-defined audience. Because the products are useful and appreciated by the recipients, they are retained and used, repeating the imprinted message many times without added cost to the advertiser.

For years, promotional products were viewed primarily as a tool for enhancing goodwill. Now we know they do much more. Recent studies show “Ad Specialties” are an effective means for increasing repeat business, improving direct mail responses, and stimulating customer referrals.

Southern Methodist University conducted a study on the role promotional products play in gaining repeat customers. The school tracked the activity of 300 new customers at two dry cleaners over an eight-month period. All of the customers received a welcome letter, one-third also received a $5 promotional products. After eight months, the customers who received promotional products spent 27% more than those who received coupons, and 139% more than those who only received a welcome letter.

How to Reap the Rewards of “Residual Marketing”

Promotional products are a cost-effective way to reach and to motivate key decision-makers. First, they get in front of them. Second, and perhaps most importantly, they remain in front of them.

Direct mail illustrates the value
When you prospect, or contact a client by mail and include a free gift or promotional item, you increase the likelihood that the package will get opened and generate a response. A 1992 study by Silver Marketing Group for PPAI found that the response rate was 75% higher than that of those who received a sales letter only. But getting your message in front of the prospect is just the first step.

After the package is opened, the promotional product continues to work, creating ongoing advertising in addition to a positive feeling about your company. It is a tangible reminder that remains long after the letter has been filed. We call this benefit “residual marketing.”

For example, when you leave a note pad or other usable item with your client, every time he or she uses it and sees your logo, it re-enforces your brand to him or her. Ideally it is also there at a point of decision-making, when the prospect is most in need of the service or product you offer.

Perhaps the most significant reasons for the popularity of promotional products is the frequency of exposure and reasonable cost per impression.

An article in the Wall Street Journal said that a coffee mug with an imprinted marketing message may be seen by the designated recipient as often as five times a day. Could you afford to reach a prospect using television five times a day? What about radio? Or even newspaper?

If an imprinted note pad has 100 sheets, you can expect a barebones minimum of 100 impressions. If each note is then passed to just one other person, it doubles the exposure. But the advertising and the impressions don’t stop there. They continue for as long as the items remain in use or in sight.

Multiple impressions generate brand awareness, which is one of the keys to success in any business.