Business promotion and marketing is an essential activity for every company operating in open markets. The right investment in promotional products as part of a larger marketing and advertising strategy is a proven way to leverage the maximum return from allocated budgets. But as always in business the main issue is the bottom line. Anyone could successfully sell a product with an unlimited promotional budget. The whole point is to spend less selling a product than its cost of production leading to profit and the ability to continue the cycle of production, promotional and distribution.
Promotional products as a part of the general marketing mix have been around since the late 19th century when an enterprising American company began to offer retailers in their town the opportunity to add their contact details to cotton bags which they sold or gave away to the public. The advantages in this type of promotional marketing revealed themselves almost immediately and the idea quickly expanded to other companies, towns and product ranges. It was only a matter of a decade before promotional products became a proven part of the marketing options available to entrepreneurial American businesses. While the rest of the world took notice and also began utilising this new media it is to this day still the USA which is the home of promotional advertising activity. Just take a look at presidential aspirant Donald Trump and his baseball cap to see how deeply ingrained the idea of promotional product use has become in the world of media and communications.
With the expansion of the electronic media in the 20th century one would have expected advertising budgets to begin to move towards this burgeoning communication segment. While this was certainly true and permitted the expansion of many regional business to become national and ultimately international success stories the use of promotional products by these same major marketing organisations continued to steadily climb. Certainly nothing had changed other than the range of products available for branding, but without an official "industry" to support its growth as the media business enjoys and offering nothing to buyers other than the sales they were able to generate of their own accord the promotional products industry has consistently enjoyed annual growth figures which rival most other forms of marketing promotion.
Other than the fact promotional products are a proven way for companies to promote awareness of their products and services there are many other reasons uptake of this class of marketing material has continued to increase over a century of use. Here are some figures from PPAI research confirming the cost effectiveness of promotional product marketing.
83% of chief executives and marketing managers believe promotional products are an essential part of a company's marketing program while over 45% of respondents believed their use had caused a 10% incremental increase in sales. Given that as much as half of a company's profit can come from the top ten percent of sales the use of branded products can make an important increase in company turn-over but a have a major effect on company profitability. In times when economic activity is slowing down and it's difficult to maintain sales and profitability the personal elements of promotional marketing give added leverage to the budget expenditure. In addition the ability to accurately target products to exactly the right person within an organisation carrying the right message ensures efficiency of budgetary expenditure far beyond what is possible with general media advertising.
62% of marketing managers interviewed believed the advantages of promotional product marketing went far beyond the initial appeal a branded item would provide a recipient. As a way to secure new contacts and clients, to encourage loyalty amongst existing contacts and to create a general level of goodwill between business associates promotional advertising products are proven performers which have greater flexibility and effectiveness than other forms of broad-scale business communication.
78% of marketing respondents believed that promotional products had a much greater effective life span than other marketing media. Many products are designed to become a part of the regular business day of recipients. This attribute ensures that the message delivery function of promotional marketing ideas continues to delivery value for its entire effective life span.
While it's a simple matter to provide a personal promotional product to a business contact and enjoy a high recall of your brand with an individual as a result effective broad-scale promotion also requires greater message reach. With this in mind the fact that research confirmed that 71% of business people surveyed at an international airport reported recalling receiving a promotional product from a business contact sometime in the last 12 months. Even more impressive was the fact that almost 34% of people responding to the survey actually had the product on them while travelling! 76% of those surveyed stated that they kept the promotional product for over 12 months and over three quarters of respondents thought the promotional product they received had genuine utility. Compare this with the response of the same people when asked about general media advertising. Nearly 80% of those questioned answered in the affirmative when asked if they had read a newspaper or magazine in the last week, but only 53% of those could name a single advertiser in the media they had read.
Considering all these factors the cost effectiveness and communicative abilities of promotional products are beyond question. The biggest thing holding them back from more broad-scale deployment in the marketing world is the generally negative attitude of marketers who see branded products as a down-scale way of promoting their brands. Of course this ultimately depends on the products on which your logo is being applied and the way in which they are distributed, however the statistics regarding the financial advantages of this class of marketing material is beyond doubt.
Expert advice on how to integrate promotional products with the rest of your marketing material is an essential part of the process, particularly if your company is new to this activity. The right product at the right price, distributed to the right people carrying the right message is the mantra all successful promotional product marketers should live by.