For many companies, traditional mass media (for example, newspapers, television advertising, general interest magazines, radio and outdoor advertising) isn't an efficient or economical way to promote their product, company or message.
The main advertising alternatives for these companies are trade publications, direct mail and the use of promotional products, especially ad specialties. The non-advertising alternatives are direct personal sales calls and trade shows -- both suited to be effectively supplemented by the use of promotional products marketing. Promotional products marketing can be their best form of advertising. Promotional products work best when audiences are tightly defined, avoiding the waste often associated with other advertising methods. Using promotional products can get the prospect to respond in some manner, perhaps by requesting additional information or a visit by a salesperson. Top
Unlike most other media, promotional products tends to stay around to be viewed again and again. This makes the cost-per-thousand figures used in evaluating fleeting mass media misleading when applied to long-lasting promotional products. There is simply no way to measure how many exposures a promotional product receives over its lifetime.
If such measurement were feasible, it's likely that the lasting ability of promotional products would make them the least expensive advertising medium when figured on a cost-per-exposure basis. For example, an imprinted ashtray may stay on a luncheon counter for years offering tens of thousands of exposures for less than a dollar. Top
Because of their utility value, most promotional products naturally create involvement. When this involvement is combined with effective targeting, well-considered timing, integration into overall marketing objectives, creative copy and/or creative imprint design, the impact is multiplied. Impact can also be affected by the promotional item's size, value, shape, practicality, appropriateness, humor, personalization or artistic flair.
With so many item variations, creative possibilities are endless. Consider receiving a party invitation on a mylar helium balloon which rises out of a gift box when opened. To stimulate other senses, what about a scented pen which smells like the promoted product, such as fine leather or citrus, or a chocolate award plaque which suggests the sweet taste of success, or a promotional audio tape with music and a message thanking you for your business? A tangible symbol can usually help you say it with more creative impact. Top
Promotional products constitute the only advertising medium that has ingratiation built in. People naturally like to receive gifts. The word "free" is one of the most powerful words in copywriting. Recent research supports the notion that goodwill results in repeat purchases, loyalty, and recommending the product to others. For example, studies through Baylor University have shown that an ad specialty item enclosed with a thank-you letter can outperform a thank-you letter alone by as much as 34 percent in improving customers' attitudes toward a company's sales reps and as much as 52 percent in improving general feelings about a company and its sales reps.
Similarly, a controlled field study conducted at Arizona State University suggests that business gifts show evidence of working in synergy with the other elements a marketing communications program. This increases likelihood for customers contacting sponsoring vendors. Top
The applications flexibility of promotional products has its roots in the previous four strengths as well as the great diversity of items available. To emphasize the broad applications of promotional products, PPA developed a list of 17 typical marketing and motivational opportunities which can be enhanced by using promotional products.