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by Cathy Houston Cathy Houston on May 2, 2016

5 Signs Your Company's Promotional Products Need a Serious Upgrade

These are the telltale signs your promo strategies need a change.

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Has your car ever broken down? Before the car completely goes kaput, there are often telltale signs that your vehicle is in need of a tune up. You know, like the engine light you’ve been ignoring for days, or the unsavory squealing sound of a broken fan belt…

The same goes for your company’s promotional products; there are signs that you need to rethink the products you’ve been branding to promote your company. A common misconception that companies have about promo products is that they are static items that will continue promoting your brand until the end of time without the need to implement any changes.

Is your company in need of a change? Here are 5 signs your company’s promotional products need a serious upgrade.

1. You've been reordering the same products for years.

The promotional product industry isn’t static! In fact, promotional trends are constantly changing, just like consumer trends. This is because marketers look to overall market trends to inspire their promotional products choices. 

Here’s an example from my own experience as a brand specialist: I saw significant changes in promotional industry with the emergence of smartphones. When smartphone ownership and usage took off in 2007, new products such as power banks, wall chargers, and phone cases became available as promotional items. About a decade later, these products are some of the highest selling and most effective promotional items, especially power banks. According to ASI's 2016 Globral Impressions Study, a single mobile power bank, an item that correlates directly to the smartphone trend, generates over 1,000 impressions in its lifetime.

As long as consumer trends change, so will promotional trends. This is why your company’s promotions need an upgrade periodically.

2. Your employees aren't proud to give them away, or your employees don't want to use the promotional products themselves.

Your employees are the heart of your business; they make your brand the best it can be. That’s why it’s important to take note of your employees' actions and opinions regarding your company’s promotions.

In order for an employee to promote your brand or effectively sell your products/services, they need to believe in the product. Otherwise, the emotion that gets customers inspired to work with your brand just isn’t there. The same applies to promotional handouts; your company needs items that inspire employees to engage consumers. Maybe the reason you still have piles of cheap promotional pens laying around is because your employees don't actually want to use them or are embarrassed to give them away. 

3. Your brand has changed, but your giveaways haven't.

I already discussed how consumer changes outside of your brand affect promotional trends, so it’s time to mention that internal brand changes can affect your promotional product choices as well.

Say your business goes through a logo and website redesign. Your branded products should also reflect this change. For example, order products with the new logo and the same color scheme as the new website to reinforce your brand’s new identity.

Additionally, promo products can be used to announce new brand changes. For example, announce the launch of a new product with a relevant branded giveaway for repeat clients.

4. You don't have a strategy behind your promotional items.

You shouldn’t give out promotional items at random. Your branded products need to have a strategic plan to back them up. Your promotions need to:

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Relate to your brand

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Be useful to recipients

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Delight recipients

In short, make sure your products have a purpose. For example, give away digital rewards to thank customers for their business. This act of kindness will show customers you appreciate their business and will likely delight them and inspire them to do business with your brand in the future. You'll save time and money--and give customers and prospects a better impression of your company--if each of your promotional items has a clear purpose and plan. 

5. Your promo budget isn't big enough.

Promotional  items have way more potential to improve your brand than they get credit for. According to studies done by PPAI, here’s why you should dedicate more of your budget to promotional items:

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83% of American consumers like receiving promotional items

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48% would like to receive promo items more often

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76.1% could recall the advertiser's name on the products they received in the past year

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52% did business with the advertiser after receiving a product

These statistics speak for themselves, so take the plunge and spend more money on higher quality promotional items. Your brand will surely reap the benefits that effective promo items have to offer.


If you’ve read until the end of this blog, there’s a good chance your brand needs to upgrade your promo items. Don’t be overwhelmed, contact me and I can help you decide which promotional products will make the biggest impact for your brand.

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Cathy Houston

Written by Cathy Houston

As an innovative forward-thinker who looks beyond traditional promotional products, Cathy takes pride in finding unique products that meet her clients’ needs while integrating seamlessly with each aspect of their marketing strategy.

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