The Who, What, Why, Where and When of Promotional Gifts

Definition of Promotional Gifts

promotional gifts, promotional merchandise, promotional items, promotional products, business gifts, corporate gifts or advertising gifts - are articles of merchandise (often branded with a logo) used in marketing and communication programs. They are given away to promote a company, corporate image, brand, or event. These items are usually imprinted with a company's name, logo or slogan, and given away at trade shows,conferences, and as part of marketing campaigns.

Source, Wikipedia – promotional merchandise


Who buys promotional gifts and who are they given to?

Promotional gifts are bought by companies or organisations who are trying to either raise or reinforce awareness of their brand. The type of company or organisation can include small to medium sized business, PLCs, sole traders, national and local government agencies, charities, non-profit organizations, sports, leisure & social clubs.

Depending on the size of company and its resources the buying responsibility can rest with an individual who has no experience to a team who purchases regularly, a good supplier will tailor their services to suit any level of experience of their customer.

The gifts will be distributed in a number of ways, either face to face or indirectly depending on the type of product and budget available. Care should be taken to ensure the gifts are delivered in good condition, and to the person to whom they are intended.


What Promotional Gifts are popular and work well?

Associations serving this industry publish annually the top 10 most popular promotional gifts for their territory. These lists give good insight into which products are being heavily used in marketing campaigns and are considered cost effective. On our site the links running horizontally underneath the header represent our most popular products and reflect the national trend.

Popular promotional gifts which work well consistently and provide the best brand recognition are usually practical to the person using them. So a maintenance engineer who is given a leather folder to hold his paperwork and pens or a golf umbrella gifted to someone who runs outdoor events are examples of practical products which will be used on a daily basis.

Another environment where promotional products used correctly can achieve great results are during a specific event. Say for instance that a conference is being held in a cold climate and you want to provide a practical gift specific to that event, but which may be used afterwards. Gifting a travel mug can remind the delegate during the whole event how the organisation cares about their well being whilst advertising its brand throughout the event and afterwards. Or on a single day outdoor event low cost baseball caps on a hot day, ponchos on a rainy day are more examples how the gift must be directly associated to the needs of the person receiving the gift, for the gift to reward the company with the maximum return for their investment.

The right promotional product in a well thought out marketing campaign can be used daily for up to 2 years providing regular returns in brand recognition.


Why are Promotional Gifts effective, and an important part of the marketing mix?

Research by the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) in 2012 asked Why Promotional Merchandise is used? When asked the main reasons why promotional merchandise was used in sales and marketing as opposed to other incentives, 69% stated that it is because ‘targets customers effectively’, 52 per cent because the ‘brand message lasts longer’ and 46 per cent said because of its ‘ability to create loyalty’. Among the comments from respondents were “It’s an excellent way of getting the clients attention. We can demonstrate the brand attributes we want to get across,” and “For a cascade promotion, if we send items to X they pass them out to their customers who might also sign up. It builds relationships and goodwill.”

These 3 main points should be remembered when deciding how much of the budget should be assigned to promotional products. A cascade campaign over a period of months, in line with of practical products associated with current events which can be used months or years after the event will produce powerful results.