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6 Key Questions to Ask Yourself Before Ordering Promotional Products

May 7, 2020 3 min read


For many of the people I help on a regular basis, ordering promotional products isn’t something they consider from a strategic point of view. What I want to know is, why?

Promotional products are an investment in growing your company’s brand, just as with any other marketing initiative. So why not put the same amount of thought and strategy behind promo items as you would for any other initiative in your budget?

Before you pull the trigger on ordering another promotional product for your company, ask yourself my list of six important questions:

1. Who is my target audience?

Each time you order a new promotional product, you need to consider your audience—what would they like? What kind of item would interest them? What are they likely to use and keep?

Seems like a no-brainer? This is the first question on my list because I have found that people have a tendency to choose products they think are cool or unique without considering how their audience would respond.

The type of recipient will also directly affect your budget, making this a truly important first question to ask yourself. If you’re ordering a batch of trade show giveaways, you might have a relatively small budget per piece. But if you’re ordering gifts for employees, you’ll be springing for a much higher price point.

2. What is my goal/objective?

Isn’t the goal of promotional products simply to have a giveaway with your company’s logo? Yes and no.

Each time you order products, there is an underlying objective, a motivating factor. Otherwise you wouldn’t be spending this money!

Some common goals for promotional products and branded merchandise include:

  • Increasing brand awareness through visibility
  • Attracting visitors to a trade show booth
  • Rewarding employees for accomplishments
  • Thanking customers or clients
  • Elevating the perception of a company’s brand

You need to take the time to identify your promotional product goal so that you’re able to select items that will help you achieve it.

3. What is my budget?

One of the best parts of the promotional products industry is that there are quality products to fit every budget, whether it’s large, small or flexible. You don’t have to break the bank to order impactful promotional items; on the other side of the coin, you don’t have to settle for commonplace items when what you’re really looking for is something with a wow factor.

As a promotional products consultant, I have worked within a wide variety of budgets and can select high-impact products that meet any price point.

4. How many items will I need to order?

Be careful with this one—it may seem straightforward, but many people find that it can be challenging to order the right number of promo items. Here are some important considerations about promo product quantity to consider:

  • Some products will have minimum quantities you can order.
  • Don’t forget that shipping costs could increase your order total which in turn could affect your overall quantity.
  • You may lose some products to employees or to people taking more than the allotted number, so if you’re ordering for a specific event, buy more than the estimated number of attendees.
  • If you order too many of an uninspired product, you could end up with leftovers that no one wants to use or give away.

5. Will this product represent my company?

Every company has a tone, a style, an image. What’s yours?

The promotional items that you choose to represent your brand should reflect the message you’re trying to send about your company. What kind of image are you trying to portray?

  • Professional and traditional?
  • Modern, fresh and fun?
  • Sustainable, green, and eco-friendly?
  • Creative and eccentric?

Another strategy for answering this question is to go industry-focused. There are a variety of promotional products with uses and functions that are perfect for a given industry. We’ve created curated product collections specifically for higher education, healthcare, industrial, technology and more.

6. What should my product look like?

Now for the fun part—designing your company’s ideal promotional product! Before you submit an order, put real thought into what the product needs to look like. Here’s what you should be factoring in:

  • Color: Is the product I want available in my brand colors? Or would white/black/gray make more sense?
  • Imprint area: Is the product big enough for my logo/tagline/etc. to fit properly?
  • Decoration Type: Is this product being imprinted? Etched? Debossed? Embroidered? And how will the type of decoration potentially affect my design?
  • Quality: Is the material high quality enough?

Before ordering any promotional products for your company, ask yourself these six key questions. You’ll find yourself with better, more effective products that your recipients will love.

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This post was originally published July 13, 2016