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Making promotional products work for you

When you work with incentive trips and elaborate gifting campaigns, it’s easy to forget the tried-and-true, perennially popular promotional products. You know what we mean: The branded mug that you have your coffee in every morning, the canvas tote you got at that expo last year, your company quarter-zip sweatshirt. The fact that these items can be found on virtually every desk and in every closet is a testament to the fact that promotional products work. And these aren’t just your grandma’s pens anymore—there are promotional products in every shape, size, and price point. Our internal gifts team is no stranger to these products, so we’ve picked their brains to find out the very best information for selecting the right promotional items for your company.

Know when to spend, know when to save.

There are instances when you should consider higher-priced promotional products to convey your message—or your brand. Internally, a high-quality Swell water bottle or an external charger shows appreciation for employees, and a commitment to keeping employees happy. You might also consider spending a little more on promotional products when going on sales trips. A nice notebook, pen, and insulated thermos can go far in the sales process, because these are items that people truly use. And if they’re high-quality, they’ll want to show them off. For trade shows and expos, consider keeping it simple with products you know people will use in the moment, like pens, notepads, and even branded USBs.

It pays to be on-trend.

Yes, water bottles and coffee thermoses are useful, but no one wants to have last year’s design on their desk. Keep abreast of the hot products by regularly communicating with your vendors and, if you can, going to trade shows like PPAI that specialize in promotional items. Keep in mind that just because you want to stay on trend doesn’t mean you have to spend the money for a brand name. If you do your research, you’ll find that there are plenty of “generic” products that actually allow more branding and customization and are more cost-effective for your company.

Ask for feedback.

You won’t know if you don’t ask! While you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen, you also don’t want one person’s taste dominating the selection of promotional products. Having a team of go-to curators in the office can be a great way to make sure that many ideas are represented. If you are at a trade show, consider asking a handful of people what products they value most. Do they need pens and notepads? Or is it sunglasses and ball caps? Gathering feedback from attendees, staff, and industry experts will bring you peace of mind and keep your product selections from going stale.

It’s no secret that promotional products work. In a study by promotional product research giant PPAI, they found that 52% of respondents did business with the advertiser after receiving a promotional product. The key lies in knowing what to get and when to use them. And above all else, know that whatever you put out there is representative of your company and your brand. Let's connect to discuss your strategic gifting strategy.