The Use of Promotional Products in Your Marketing Mix

Using Promotional Products In Your Marketing Mix-01

Pick a random street to walk down, and take note of all the objects that people are using and wearing. What do you see? On the surface, you might see umbrellas, jackets, tote bags, shorts, sunglasses, or tumblers. But take a closer look, and you’ll notice that a lot of these objects have something in common: they’re sporting a brand or a custom design.

Branded products, also known as “swag,” has a long history with modern marketing techniques. And for good reason - market researchers and psychologists continuously prove that our visual memory lasts much longer than our auditory memory, so when we see a brand in action, even subconsciously, we are much more likely to remember it and consider purchasing it in the future. 

Promotional products are a great way to advertise - after all, your customers are doing the advertising work for you by using your swag, and they’re getting something out of it as well. Nonetheless, branded merchandise only works if it’s tailored to your customer base, otherwise, you’re wasting money on potentially useful items. Here are a few tips to make the most out of a promotional products campaign. 

Tailored swag for trade shows

Of course, you want to put your name on useful swag that people will actually use. You wouldn’t benefit from distributing a branded telephone book, since very few people use them anymore. 

However, a “useful” product is relative to your customer base. For example, putting your logo on an umbrella might not boost your brand presence in Phoenix, AZ, where the annual rainfall is sparse. But in cities like Seattle, London, or Orlando, an umbrella could advertise your brand to thousands every day. (Ask us about our favorite non-rain uses for umbrellas in Phoenix though – you might be surprised!) 

The other thing to consider is who you want to influence with your branding. Let’s say you’re in the publishing business. Branded pens and notebooks are going to be useful and well-used by your ideal customer, so this can fit into the perfect marketing strategy! Maybe your ideal audience is computer and service techs, then maybe you can consider laptop stickers and covers. Or your intended audience are trendy Millennials, in which case, pop sockets, and high-quality drinkware are so in! The point is, you want to appeal your promotional materials towards the demographics and professions most likely to consider your brand as part of their daily lives. 

Make your promotional items in-line with your brand design and messaging

Promotional products are still a part of your brand, so how they look and what they’re used for will certainly influence how others perceive your company. If your company logo uses the colors white, blue, and gray, but you’re handing out red pens, something isn’t right! 

Additionally, the products you use can define how useful potential customers think your company is. What use is a headband to someone who isn’t in sports? What use is a pop socket to someone with a flip phone? Swag baskets often waste money on goods that aren’t tailored to the audience, and therefore aren’t useful, creating the potential for negative brand perception. 

Use branded merchandise as a lure for potential customers at promotional events

Making the merch is half the battle; the other half is distributing it. Launching a promotional products campaign should be used to coincide with other promotional events. Maybe you have a seminar or workshop coming up in your industry, or you have a networking event in your planner, or you’re launching a rebrand or a party for investors! Whatever the case, your promotional products can help reinforce your messaging from these events, and remind investors and customers alike why they should consider your company over others. If you mention that free giveaways will happen at some of these events… well, you had them at “free!”

Another way to really hype up your event is by sending a gift ahead of your event to your registered attendees.  Our custom brand boxes are the perfect marketing medium to get your audience engaged from the get-go! 


Distribute your swag to employees and investors

Who better to promote your company than people already invested? Partners, investors, and employees work for you because they love your brand and mission. If they use any promotional materials in public - pens, tote bags, umbrellas, t-shirts, etc. - then they’re much more likely to start a conversation about the work they do and the benefits of working for/partnering with your company. Whatever they do for you, your partners are brand ambassadors in their own way, so be sure to include them in your promotional materials budget.

Looking to start your own promotional materials campaign? Need help finding or designing the right products? You’re already in the right place. Branded, a division of Williams Ad Co, has decades of experience launching marketing and product campaigns. Learn more about our process, or contact us today to get started on your next big marketing move.