The Promotional Products Industry is unique. Providing marketers with the ability to not only create a memorable message but deliver a physical product that reinforces that message directly to their target market by touching on all five senses is something that no other form of marketing can provide. With that being said, promotional products often go underutilized as they can be viewed as an afterthought or a secondary marketing channel. However, this medium has proven time and time again to accurately relay branding messages while delivering desired marketing & sales goals. However, reaching those goals requires diligent planning and calculated spending across several marketing channels. With that in mind, physically branded products are an essential channel in the process of cementing your brand in the minds of consumers.
Promotional products serve as a tool to reinforce brand messages. These products can be used in the everyday life of an end-user and are highly effective when utilized correctly. According to an ASI (Advertising Specialties Institute) study, 85% of users recall the name and branding message of the company on their promotional products. Compared to online ads, only 6% of consumers recall the ad and it only increases brand awareness by 3% according to a Nielsen study. With such high recall, it’s easy to see the potential that lies within incorporating or increasing the role of promotional products within any marketing campaign. These products present the opportunity for brands and organizations to remain top-of-mind to their desired markets while fostering a positive brand image as in almost all cases, end users are appreciative of the product that they receive and use it with regularity. It’s critical to partner with branding experts as they can ensure that the proper products are utilized in order to maximize brand exposure on a campaign-to-campaign basis.
As with any other form of marketing, target markets vary based on the product or service being promoted. With promotional products, product selection varies dramatically based on age, gender, geography, and various other demographic factors. For example, if one were to market to an audience in Seattle, they may be more inclined to include umbrellas in their physically branded campaign as the item will be increasingly useful for their audience. Comparatively, a New England-based marketing campaign may be more likely to produce branded coffee carriers & ice scrapers to brave the harsh winter months. The key is to identify a product/product category that the targeted audience will not only appreciate but use with frequency in order to maximize exposure as each impression increases ROI.
In 2019, an item flaunting one of the highest impression rates was the reusable tote bag with an average rate of 3,300impressions. In addition to that figure, 73% of American consumers reported owning a promotional bag. This is an item that would be beneficial to any campaign as it maintains high marks in both ownership and impressions per piece. Additionally, it is a highly useful item as it can be used in a number of practical scenarios from trips to the supermarket to beach days. This may seem simple enough, however, now is a good time to look into a number of factors that allows this particular product to improve brand reputation. According to the same ASI study, 42% of Americans think more favorably of a brand that sources environmentally friendly products. Additionally, 53% of consumers view American-made products more favorably. In addition to receiving glowing consumer feedback, reusable totes are becoming increasingly practical as many large metropolitan cities such as Boston, Chicago & Seattle are doing away with plastic bags in retail locations or are at least charging a fee per bag used in order to reduce plastic waste. That alone renders reusable bags as a more impactful product for those cities as users will be seeking alternatives to adapt to a new norm in their daily/weekly routine. When a consumer void is fulfilled by a branded promotional bag, they’ll use the product regularly and retain a higher regard for the company name on the tote that makes their life that much easier. Consequently, it’ll improve brand loyalty.
In this situation, the ideal is producing an American-Made & environmentally friendly reusable bag. This checks off several different factors that improve brand opinion in the eyes of consumers. Reusable bags are just one example, finding the perfect product for each specific niche audience is a strength of those in the industry that understand the value in fulfilling targeted needs for specific clients and by doing so, it strengthens program effectiveness. With so many varying factors in play, it’s important to consult branding experts with experience executing physically branded campaigns as their effectiveness relies on market and industry knowledge. By carefully examining and monitoring key metrics and audience data points, more effective products can be sourced to fit the needs and requirements of any campaign. Experts like Stran are experienced in maximizing brand exposure with the goal of netting the best ROI.
When partnering with an experienced promo partner, increasing ROI is a major point of emphasis. Certainly, at times promotional products are used in an effort to reward clients and employees alike, sometimes they are even used to build internal loyalty by creating a greater sense of company community and improving culture, but by and large, promotional products are used to increase brand recognition. Every marketing department has budget constraints and that is something that industry members both understand and respect. With that in mind, the challenge becomes getting the most value for the dollars allocated to physically branded efforts. According to a study performed by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), 29% of all campaigns utilize only one advertising medium while a whopping 60% of campaigns utilize just two or less. However, the ARF discovered that by using more than one medium, campaigns increased their ROI by roughly 20% and companies who overachieved by using at least five mediums improved their ROI by 35%. Clearly, circumstances will vary based on campaign needs and priority, but the writing is on the wall. The more advertising mediums tapped into, the more ROI you’ll realize.
Certainly, other forms of advertising such as paid search and social media just to name a few will be beneficial to a campaign. But how memorable are those ads? Maybe the ad is unique and stands out in the eyes of the consumer, but for how long? Since it’s digital, it’ll soon be forgotten as the next ad appears and the ad that you invested so much time & money in dissolves into the background. According to a 2021 Microsoft study, February 2021 saw 40.1 billion additional emails land in consumer inboxes than we saw in February 2020. The point? Consumers are being bombarded with digital messaging as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Digital burnout is setting in as inboxes continue to clutter.
This is an issue that promotional products can solve with their unique foothold in the marketing landscape. Internet ads and promotional products maintain the lowest cost per impression at just 0.7 cents per. However, the overarching difference is that compared to digital ads, promotional products leave up to a 250% more positive impression due in large part to their usefulness & thoughtful gesture. In a world cluttered with ads vying for your attention. Promo offers an opportunity to provide a subtle ad that consumers embrace and chose to incorporate into their day-to-day lives.
The best way to create the positive brand image that all marketers seek is by developing a strategy that not only gains your brand its desired exposure, but also one that consumers remember in a favorable light. Take a step outside your life as a marketer, you're simply a consumer as we all are when we leave the workplace. When you flip on your TV and watch your favorite program, do you enjoy being interrupted by commercials every few minutes? Outside of the Super Bowl, the answer to that question is more than likely no. This is why advertising and marketing efforts become so challenging, nobody wants to see your work. Consumers want to live an unobstructed life and marketers seem to interfere with that pursuit. However, by providing helpful and uniquely branded products, there’s an opportunity for markers to make their brand more widely accepted in the eyes of consumers.