An umbrella term is a word or phrase used to cover a broad spectrum of functions or items that fall under a common category. In relation to my profession, “promotional products” is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of products that vary in terms of function, quality, and price.
Promotional products are a huge part of any company's marketing strategy. But just because two products may technically fall under the main category of "promotional products" does not mean that they are equally effective. For example, a cheap plastic pen is far different in quality from a built-to-last power bank, but both are considered promotional products. Which product would you rather use to represent your brand?
Here’s what I’m getting at: cheaper isn’t always better, especially when it comes to your company’s promotional products. While using cheap promotional products to promote your brand may be more budget friendly, it actually does damage to your overall marketing strategy. This is because, to recipients, promotional products serve as a reflection of your brand. Employees don't want to give out cheap promotional products, and people don't want to receive them. (There is a difference between cheap and cost-effective! Keep reading for inspiring cost-effective promo product ideas.)
Here are 3 key considerations for companies that are tempted by the low cost of cheap promotional products:
1. Brand standards should apply to your promotional products.
Your brand has a particular identity that is unique to your company. The identity is made up of all the components of your brand: logo, typeface, colors, style elements, tone, and tagline. Companies spend large amounts of money incorporating their brand stantards into collateral, websites, signs, and other marketing pieces.
Well, those same standards should apply to your promotional products. The cheaper and lower quality the product (and depending on the supplier), the more difficult it can be to make the branding elements look good.
Here are some examples:
The visual quality of the imprint (a.k.a. your logo and/or tagline) may be poor
The available colors may not match your brand
The product itself may not reflect the tone and style of your brand.
If you encounter any of the issues above due to the low quality of the products you choose, the results will reflect poorly on your brand as a whole.
2. Promotional products should be ordered by your company's marketing professionals.
Promotional product strategizing requires much more than just slapping your logo on a product; using promotional products is a marketing strategy that requires planning. The same considerations that affect a company's overall marketing strategy should be implemented by marketing professionals when selecting promotional products:
Who will be receiving company promotional products? Prospective clients? Current customers? How do your giveaways relate to your company's products and services?
Cultivating Customer Relationships
Promotional products either delight current customers or serve as an introduction to your brand for prospects. How will your promotional products further your customer relationships?
Marketing professionals know your company's values and messaging better than anyone. Your branding should remain consistent across all platforms. For example, you wouldn't want to hand out a logoed disposable water bottle as a promo item if your marketing strategy positions your brand as eco-friendly.
There are tips and tricks that only people with a focus toward marketing might think to incorporate. That's why your team's marketing professionals are well suited for the job of picking promotional products.
3. Promotional products shouldn't be an afterthought.
Quite the opposite, actually; promotional products (high-quality promotional products, that is) should be a priority because they have the power to influence and inspire positive consumer behavior in relation to your brand image and sales. Frankly, it’d be downright foolish to write off promotional products considering these key findings from studies by PPAI:
Promo products increase brand recall
88% of study respondents recalled the advertiser from a promotional product they received in the past 12 months.
Promo products lead to sales
52% of respondents did business with the advertiser after receiving a promotional product.
Promo products facilitate repeated brand exposure.
55% of respondents keep their promotional products for over a year.
Promo products establish a positive brand image.
52.1% of respondents reported that their impression of an advertiser was more favorable after receiving a promotional product.
These statistics should inspire you to pick promotional products worthy of your brand because these successes aren't achievable with cheap, low-quality promotional products.
The way I see it, cheap promotional products certainly aren’t worth the damage to your marketing strategy. However, this is not to say that you can't find high-quality items that are also cost-effective. Find our cost-effective promotional products below that don’t sacrifice quality for price.