Buyer's Guide

Firstly, a 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

Secondly, who buys promotional gifts? Additionally, who receives them?

Companies or organisations purchase promotional gifts when they 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 organisations, sports, leisure & social clubs.

Who is responsible for buying can depend on the

  • size of the company and;
  • it’s resources.

In short, the buying responsibility can rest with an individual who has no experience, or a team who purchases regularly. Ultimately, a good supplier will tailor their services to suit any level of experience of their customer.

There are a number of ways to distribute gifts:

  • either face to face or
  • indirectly, depending on the type of product and budget available.

Take care to ensure the gifts arrive in top condition, and to the right people.

What Promotional Products are popular and work well?

One thing we want to highlight in the Promotional Product Buyer’s Guide is that popularity is a fluid thing. Associations serving this industry publish annually the top 10 most popular promotional gifts for their territory. These lists offer great insight into which products are most popular and the most cost-effective in marketing campaigns. On our site, the links running horizontally underneath the header represent our most popular products and reflect the national trend.

Popular promotional gifts that consistently work well and offer great brand recognition are often practical to the recipient. 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 is during a specific event.

Event-specific examples

For instance, say there’s a conference in a cold climate and you want to provide a practical, reusable gift. Specifically, one that moulds perfectly to that event. 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.

Also, for a single day outdoor event, consider:

  • low-cost baseball caps on a hot day,
  • ponchos on a rainy day.

These are practical examples of how gifts must directly associate with the needs of the recipient. In turn, the gift can reward the company with the maximum return for their investment.

The right promotional product in a well-constructed marketing campaign can earn roughly 2 years of use. As a result, that can mean 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? As a result, here’s why promotional merchandise is popular in sales and marketing, as opposed to other incentives:

  • 69% stated that it is because it ‘targets customers effectively’;
  • 52% because the ‘brand message lasts longer’ and;
  • 46% said because of its ‘ability to create loyalty’.

Among the comments from respondents were these:

“It’s an excellent way of getting the clients attention. We can demonstrate the brand attributes we want to get across,”

“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.”

Remember these three main points when deciding how much of your budget to allocate to promotional products. A cascade campaign over a period of months with practical products associated with current events will produce powerful results. Especially when those products gain traction over a longer-term basis.