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by Cathy Houston Cathy Houston on May 11, 2018

Promotional Product Rejects: What to Do When No One Wants Your Giveaways

Left with a box of unpopular promotional items? Here's an action plan for making sure they don't go to waste.  

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You wanted to pick out a great promotional item that people would really like, but it seems as though no one wants your giveaways. Now you’re stuck with a box of unpopular products, and you’re not sure what to do.

Never fear! We’re here to diagnose your promotional product problems and help you create a plan so it never happens again.

Here are the steps you need to take when you have promotional product rejects on your hands.

First of all, identify what went wrong.

The first step is pinpointing exactly why your giveaways are unpopular. Once you understand why no one seems to want your items, you can correct your errors the next time around.   

Were the items too cheap?

Inexpensive is fine. There are plenty of cost-effective promotional items that are still useful and high quality. But cheap items are easy to spot. If your items feel rinky dink, it might send the message that you didn’t really care what you were handing out.

Were they not useful?

Usefulness is one of the top reasons people keep promotional items. If no one wants your promos, it could be because they didn’t see any need for more stuff that wasn’t useful to their lives.

Did they fit your audience?

Who are you trying to hand these items to? Do the promotional items you selected align with what your recipients want and need? If not, it’s no surprise that they’re not excited by your items.

Are they just plain ugly?

It may be hard to admit, but if your promotional items aren’t aesthetically pleasing, people probably won’t want to have them around.

Next, strategize a better approach.

Now that you know what went wrong, it’s time to create a plan for making it right. If you’re not sure where to start—whether you need higher quality products, a different type of item, or a better design—work with a brand activation specialist (like me!) to help you select new items that will help you meet your goals.

4 creative ideas for using up unwanted promotional items 

So, you’ve accepted that your promotional items weren’t successful, and you’re planning new ideas for next time. But you’ve still got a box of items and you don’t want them to go to waste. Here are four ideas that will help you ditch the unwanted items while still promoting your brand.

1. Package them with other items

It might be a flop on its own, but combine it with other items and suddenly it’s part of a high-value package people will appreciate. Need packaging ideas? Consider an inexpensive custom branded pouch that gives any items the feel of a gift.

2. Give them out in unexpected places

No, we’re not talking about jumping out of bushes and surprising people with promotional products. But try thinking outside the box when it comes to the places and times you hand out your items.

Sponsoring a charity event? See if the event is giving out goodie bags and add your promotional items. Or, load up salespeople with giveaways they can bring along to sales calls and meetings.

3. Leave them out for anyone to take

It seems counterintuitive; normally, really good promotional items are kind of hoarded, waiting to be given to the “right” people. With your promo rejects, just go ahead and leave them out for customers and employees to grab. Better to have someone who actually wants or needs the items take them than have them sit in a closet where they’ll never be seen!

4. Think of organizations that need them

Worst case scenario, there’s really no good way to give away your promos. Think of organizations that might be able to use your items, and donate them. Could a school or educational program use your pens? Would your branded blankets be welcome at an animal shelter?

Don’t get discouraged if you find yourself with unsuccessful promotional items! By identifying why the items weren’t as popular as they could be, you can strategize a plan for creating even more amazing items next time.

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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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