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Promotional products and the marketing mix

Look around your office, your co-workers’ areas, and coffee room. Odds are you see branded promotional products you kept from a conference, event, mailing, meeting or other encounters with marketing efforts, such as every possible type of promotional pens, water bottles, note pads, or maybe custom USB flash drives or promotional power banks.

In entry-level marketing classes, business students learn that marketing mix involves four P’s: price, place, promotion, and product. As a niche of the marketing and promotion mix, branded products, aka advertising specialty items, are not stand-alone efforts, but they can contribute lasting impressions as a channel in an effective promotional program.

The Advertising Specialties Institute defines them as “low-cost, high-return promotional products, or ad specialties (that) are usually given away for free by companies, schools, hospitals, sports teams, organizations, and more to advertise a brand or event or to thank employees or clients.” Walk around the trade show area at any large conference and see attendees eagerly stopping at booths to gather T-shirts, mugs, thumb drives, note pads, giveaway swag and other examples distributed along with product information at every booth. While some of this swag is destined to stay behind in the hotel room, most will make their way to the attendees’ desks (at work or home) and serve as a reminder of the brands and companies that presented them.

Besides that glance around the office, research shows that branded promotional products stick around – provided they have a use for the recipient. A Promotional Products Association International study showed that 58 percent of respondents kept a branded advertising product they received for one to four years. Think of all those impressions, even if the item is used or touched only once a week.

Other PPAI research shows that promotional items resonate with recipients. They found that more than 76 percent could recall the specific company, product, and message that a promotional item conveyed. More than 60 percent could recall some aspects about the company or product involved. This illustrates the effectiveness of an investment in promo products, such as those from iPromo, can have.

Advertising promotional products are used in nearly every industry for B2B, B2C, and B2E purposes. While the top markets for advertising specialty items were health care, education and the financial or insurance arena, according to data from the Advertising Specialties Institute a couple of years ago, the need for the promotional item marketing channel as part of the mix is appropriate for every industry.

However, choosing the appropriate specialty items can be difficult. In spite of today’s digital, high-tech world, people still value tangible items they can repeatedly use over an ephemeral special one-time code or link. Some cite the resurgence of vinyl records in today’s digital music era as an example of people’s preference to actually have something physical to hold and look at. Promotional items help with that tactile connection as well as keeping your company or product name in their line of sight.

iPromo specializes in helping its clients figure out the appropriate promotional products to support their other marketing efforts and further their brands’ relationships with clients. Its consultative approach helps companies expand their marketing plan effectively and add value for (clients and recipients) to create lasting impressions with fun, effective products.

Name recognition and brand differentiation are hard enough to achieve but providing creative free gifts helps. Marketing needs to include many layers and methodologies to achieve desired results now and to retain in the future. Providing valued giveaways, such as those iPromo can help you design and develop, will help you set your brand apart at the next conference, promotional event or marketing opportunity.

Harvard Business Review: How More Accessible Information is Forcing B2B Sales to Adapt
Marketing Study Guide: The marketing mix for specialty products
Printing News: Rules of Thumb (Drives): The Changing Nature of Ad Specialties
Advertising Specialties Institute: State of the Industry 2014.
Promotional Products Association International: The Effectiveness Of Promotional Products As An Advertising Medium

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