Promotion, Marketing & Advertising


[Infographic] An Inside Look At Who Owns Promotional Products

Eight in 10 consumers own between one and 10 promo items, according to Promotional Products Association International, and six in 10 keep them for up to two years.

Okay, great. This means people actually hang on to the promos you give them – and they keep them for the long haul.

But who are these promo-packing people?

Do you really know who’s walking around in your custom t-shirts or sipping from water bottles imprinted with your company logo?

You probably have an idea (or at least you should). Understanding your target audience is critical to the success of your marketing. If you want to reach the right people with your promotional items and your message, you have to know who they are.

Luckily, the research is there for the taking.

Check out our infographic below for insight on the people who own promotional products. This provides a great overview on demographics (so feel free to share!).

The next step is digging a little deeper for psychographic information. The idea is to create a customer profile for your business. You’ll want to go beyond the external and identify customer attitudes, behaviors, interests, values, hobbies, and more.

But all that’s for a different infographic.

Glean some information from this infographic, and if you need help determining the direction to take with your marketing, we’re happy to consult with you.

Now, let’s take a look at all the people who own promotional products.



10 Interesting Facts About The Promotional Products Industry

At $19.8 billion, the promotional products industry is at an all-time high, according to the 2013 PPAI Estimate Of Promotional Products Distributor Sales. The last time promotional products surpassed the $19 billion mark was 2007.

Marketers are seeing now, more than ever, that promotional items are one of the most powerful and effective forms of marketing. They put your brand directly into the hands of your target audience, and they can be used for all sorts of purposes: awareness, recognition, motivation, recruitment. You name it.

We’ve compiled 10 intriguing facts that you may not know about the promotional products industry. Take a look and get to know more about the power behind promos.

fact 1


fact 2


fact 3


fact 4


fact 5


fact 6


fact 7


fact 8


fact 9


fact 10


9 Myths About Promotional Products – Busted


There are always some interesting myths swirling around about promotional products. Some marketers can spot these myths from a mile away and don’t give them any consideration.

But others are quick to latch on to the misconceptions. They become wary about using promotional products. They doubt the effectiveness of promos and sometimes write them off altogether.

When marketers put stock in the myths they hear, they’re missing out. Big time. In this blog post, we shatter nine common myths about promotional products. Read on for the myths and why they’re busted.

Myth #1: People don’t really use promotional products.

Why it’s perpetuated:

There are so many branded items out in the world, people simply don’t have use for them all. They can’t possibly use all the logo tumblers, t-shirts, and tote bags that marketers fling their way. Right? Wrong.

Why this myth is busted:

People love free stuff. And we mean love it. Eighty-three percent of consumers like receiving a promotional product with an advertising message, according to Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), and 53% of consumers use a promotional item at least once a week or more.

So go ahead – give people what they want. Unleash the promos on them. Just make sure they’re useful to your audience and relevant to your brand. Read this blog post on the do’s and don’ts of using promotional products.

promotional products myths: busted


Myth #2: You can’t measure the ROI of promotional items.

Why it’s perpetuated:

It’s impossible to know if all of your branded swag is really working. You hand out hundreds (or thousands) of bottles of hand sanitizer at a tradeshow. You freely give out tote bags at a career fair. You’re up to your ears in promotional pens – and you’ve been giving them out for years.

You can’t keep track of all of these giveaways and pinpoint their value – or at least that’s how it might seem.

Why this myth is busted:

Promotional products are completely (and easily) trackable. You just have to take the time to do it. You’re measuring the ROI of your other marketing efforts – don’t let promotional items fall to the wayside because you’re unsure how to track their effectiveness.

Some simple ways to measure the ROI of promotional products include:

1. QR codes (or, at the very least, unique URLs).

Create a landing page for your promotion and print the URL or a QR code (here’s more on how to do this) on your promotional giveaways. Voila – you can now track the hits/leads/sales that came directly from the products. See how simple that was?

2. Phone numbers.

If you’d rather speak to prospects than drive them to a website, just put a twist on the first idea by printing a new phone number on your promotional products. It’s easy to measure how many calls came in as a result of the giveaways.

3. A solid CTA.

When it comes to tracking promotional products, a CTA (call-to-action) is a must. Why? Because a CTA makes it super simple to measure the effectiveness of your giveaways. Print an offer directly on your promotional products, and you can see the kind of traffic it generates.

Test out different offers on different products. Dunkin’ Donuts is offering 99-cent refills when coffee fans bring in its promo tumblers, but you can offer any perk – a BOGO offer when you bring in a promotional Frisbee, 10% off your next purchase by wearing a promotional cap in store, half-price manicure when you bring in a custom nail file. (That sounds nice, right?)

Make your CTA simple and appealing, and recipients will take you up on your offer.

promo tumbler

Myth #3: Promotional products are too expensive.

Why it’s perpetuated:

Many marketers get a little sweaty-palmed when it comes to budgets. They think: “I barely have any money to promote my business … how can I afford promotional products?” As a result, promos are sometimes seen as frivolous, unnecessary.

The thing is, though, it’s not about the products – it’s about researching, planning, managing, and tracking. You’re not just throwing money into a bunch of branded merchandise and hoping for the best – you’re making an investment in building your brand.

Why this myth is busted:

Promotional products are one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising. They have a lower cost-per-impression (CPI) in the U.S. than prime-time TV advertising, national magazine advertising, and newspaper ads, and they have a similar CPI to spot radio and online ads, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI).

The average CPI of a promotional product is just $.005, according to ASI. For a small investment, you can get the same type of exposure as businesses with bigger budgets. Your marketing dollars go a whole lot further with promotional products than with other forms of media. If you think you don’t have the budget for promo items, just take a look at these sale items.

promotional products myths: busted


Myth #4: Cheap is the way to go.

Why it’s perpetuated:

When it comes to promotional products, marketers sometimes have a one-track mind. All they want to do is get their logo in front of as many people as possible. To accomplish this, they seek out the cheapest products, never pausing to think about the impact on their brands.

Price should never be your only consideration. The products you choose are representative of your brand. Pick cheap promos, and that’s how your business will be viewed.

Why this myth is busted:

Cheaper is not always better. You’re purchasing branded merchandise – not a new phone plan. Promotional products make a lasting impression on recipients. More than three-quarters of people can recall the advertiser’s name on a promotional product they had received in the last 12 months, according to PPAI.

What you give people sticks in their minds. Do you want your brand to be associated with cheap throwaway items that will likely end up in the trash, or do you want people to associate your brand with useful, innovative promotional items that are relevant and targeted to their needs? Don’t go cheap just to save a few bucks up front. It doesn’t do anything to help your brand.

promotional products myths: busted


Myth #5: It’s better to invest in mainstream media.

Why it’s perpetuated:

TV ads get all the glory. Just think about the buzz that Super Bowl spots generate. Don’t forget about radio spots and print ads. Marketers go to great lengths (read: invest heaps of money with ad agencies) to churn out ads in these old-school mediums.

Well, guess what. The tides have turned when it comes to traditional forms of advertising. Mainstream media is swiftly losing its appeal – and its effectiveness. PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that traditional media advertising will decline by a 1.5% annual rate through 2017.

Why this myth is busted:

To get your message across today, you have to be personal. You must focus on the individual. Promotional products allow your brand to get so up close with customers that your logo is in the palm of their hands.

Consumers can skip past or tune out other forms of advertising. (Who actually sits through traditional commericals these days – unless it’s during the Super Bowl?)

But promotional products stick with them. Eighty-nine percent of consumers can recall the name of an advertiser on a promotional product they received in the last 24 months, according to PPAI research.

Customers can fill up that custom coffee mug every morning and be reminded of your bakery. They can slip on that promo t-shirt and think back to the fun times they had at the company retreat.

Promotional products are incredibly personal – and that’s something that mainstream media just can’t touch.

promotional products myths: busted

Myth #6: All promotional products companies are the same.

Why it’s perpetuated:

Promotional products companies all do the same thing – they put logos on products, and then pass them on to customers for various campaigns. It doesn’t really matter which company you work with as long as you get the promos you need.

At first blush, that’s how it may seem.

But actually, not all promo companies are created equal. There are more than 23,000 promotional product distributors, according to PPAI, and they’re all different.

Why this myth is busted:

Many promo companies are small mom-and-pop shops or even one-person shops. They don’t have a dedicated art department, production department, or merchandising team. They’re doing it all themselves. As a result, there’s a good chance your promotional products won’t look as great as they could – or even arrive when you need them.

Not all promotional companies know promotional products, either. They don’t know the different factories producing the items, and they’ve never felt or used the products.

When selecting a promotional products vendor, think about it like a partnership. You want a specific person handling your order from start to finish. You want him or her to answer all of your questions and be there for you in a pinch. Here’s a good write-up on how to pick a promotional products company. Give it a read before choosing your promotional products partner.

promotional products myths: busted


Myth #7: There’s nothing new in promotional products.

Why it’s perpetuated:

Considering that promotional products have been around for hundreds of years (the first commemorative buttons trace back to 1789 when George Washington was elected President), it’s easy to think that everything has been done before. That there’s nothing new and fresh.

Why this myth is busted:

Well, the reality is that promotional items are constantly evolving. Promotional products are a $19.83 billion industry, and every year, thousands of new products come to market. (Click here to get a look at some of the most innovative new items to hit the promotional marketing scene.)

The 53rd largest tradeshow in the United States is The PPAI Expo, which in January 2014, featured more than 1,400 exhibiting companies in 1.1 million square feet of exhibit space. Nothing new in promotional products? It’s quite the opposite.

promotional products myths: busted

Myth #8: Promotional products won’t work for my business.

Why it’s perpetuated:

You like the idea of using promotional products, but you’re just not sure your business is cut out for them. You think they cost too much, they’re unoriginal, or any of the myths we’ve just busted above. It’s easy to doubt the effectiveness of promotional items – especially if you’ve never put them to work for your brand.

Why this myth is busted:

Promotional products can work for any brand and for any campaign – whether you want to drive tradeshow traffic, boost brand awareness, or achieve something else altogether. After receiving a promotional product, 85% of consumers do business with the advertiser, according to PPAI.

Promotional items also help you lock in new customers. Eleven percent of advertisers, according to PPAI research, increase their business even among those who hadn’t done business with them before.

It pays to use promotional products. They not only get your logo in front of your target audience, but they drive recipients to do business with your company. That’s powerful stuff.

promotional products myths: busted


Myth #9: Promo items don’t last.

Why it’s perpetuated:

Promotional products sometimes get a bad rap for being cheap throwaway items. (Go back to myth #4 to review why cheaper isn’t better.) They no sooner get doled out than they’re dumped in the trash or shoved to the back of a drawer. At least, that’s what some marketers think.

Why this myth is busted:

Promo items get your brand long-lasting exposure – and the research backs it up. Data from ASI shows that the average amount of time people hang on to promotional products is 6.6 months. That’s more than half a year with your logo front and center.

Here’s a look at some promotional items and how long people keep them:

  • Calendars – 9 months
  • Outerwear – 7.3 months
  • Drinkware – 7.1 months
  • USB drives – 6.9 months
  • Bags – 6.8 months
  • Caps – 6 months
  • Desk/office accessories – 6 months
  • Shirts – 5.8 months
  • Healthy/safety – 5.5 months
  • Writing instruments – 5.3 months

promotional products myths: busted


Did any of your beliefs about promotional products go out the window after reading this post? We hope so. Promotional products work – whether they’re used alone or integrated with other media. They get your name out there. They let people know who you are and what you stand for.

When you’re building your brand, that’s what it’s all about.

Are there any other promotional product myths you’d like us to debunk? Tell us in the comments below.


8 Facts To Know About Promotional Bags (Infographic)

Wherever you go, promotional bags are there. You get them with your takeout food at restaurants. You see them in grocery stores, gyms, schools. Heck, even funeral parlors use bags.

Bags are engrained in our lifestyles. When we have stuff to schlep, bags get it done.

For marketers, bags imprinted with your logo are perfect for getting your brand seen everywhere. Bags are like billboards – they attract a ton of eyeballs, and you can’t help but read the message.

But here’s where promotional bags beat billboards every time: They’re useful. People love receiving items that serve a purpose. If it’s something they can use, they’ll keep it. You zip past a billboard, but you keep (and use) bags.

When asked why they keep logo bags, 91% of people say because they’re useful. How the bag looks is also important. Thirty-four percent of people will keep a bag if it looks good.

Did these stats surprise you? Let’s explore the infographic below to glean even more insight about promotional bags. You can also click here for hundreds of bags just waiting to be customized for your brand.



The Do’s And Don’ts Of Using Promotional Products

using promotional products

It’s easy using promotional products. You pick out a few cool items, get them imprinted with your logo, and hand them out to your target audience. Bam – you’re done.

Easy, right?

Well, there’s a lot more to it than that.

Using promotional products is an investment. If you want your investment to pay off, there are some important things to keep in mind.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some do’s and don’ts of using items imprinted with your logo.

Let’s start with the do’s.

DO understand your audience.

Who’s going to be on the receiving end of your promotional products? If you want your giveaways to be effective, you first have to know who will be receiving them.

Take a moment to revisit your customer profile. Looking at demographics, you should have insight such as customer age, gender, geographic location, income range, education, and more.

Digging a bit deeper into the psychographics, it’s helpful to know lifestyle information such as hobbies, attitudes, behaviors, values, interests, and the like.

So, why does all this matter when it comes to promotional products?

This information helps you in two important ways.

First, knowing these details about your target customer allows you to adjust your product or service to best accommodate what your customers need. And second, it clues you in to how to reach your customers with your marketing and promotional efforts.

If you know, for example, that your core audience is businessmen who golf and work in large metropolitan areas, it makes sense to give them golf-related items – maybe nice golf shirts they can wear on the course or at the office, or perhaps leather golf accessories.

If you’re marketing to rural agriculture workers, golf probably isn’t the best way to go. Instead, you’d want to look at items they could use in the field – perhaps a hardy pair of gloves or a custom work jacket.

When you take the time to get to know your target market, your brand appears smart and a whole lot more relevant to the people you want to reach.

Here’s an example.

One of our clients tailored its promotional products specifically for recipients. It set out gourmet chocolates on a copy of The Wall Street Journal for corporate jet passengers. How smart are these promos? It’s a small gesture, but it goes a long way toward creating a memorable experience and building brand loyalty.

DO learn from other businesses.

Take some time to study the promo items that other companies have used, and figure out why they selected those products. Are they directly related to the brand? Are they quirky and unique? Here’s a write-up on our blog that discusses this very topic.

It’s especially helpful to pay attention to the businesses in your niche. Have you noticed that other pediatricians are handing out drawstring bags for kids? Or that all the gyms in your area are distributing sports bottles?

Don’t run out and order bags or sports bottles. The idea here isn’t to directly copy your competitors. If you do this, you’re already one step behind.

Instead, take their strategy and make it better. Think about how you can improve on what they’re doing. Every time you see someone using a promotional product from a competitor, you have great insight into what customers want.

Going back to our examples above, you could give out drawstring bags with built-in water bottle pockets or distribute sports bottles with attached carabiners. The trick is to find out what works and take it to the next level.

DO think of clever ways to grab attention.

When you use promotional products, you don’t have to resort to the same old, same old. Let’s say you always set out a mug filled with pens or hand out key chains to passersby at a tradeshow. It’s what you’ve always done, and it’s what you think works.

The thing is, though, you’re missing out on an opportunity for epic creativity.

Think about ways to really make an impression on your audience. It could be the products themselves, or it could be the way in which they’re delivered.

Check out this guerilla marketing stunt heard ’round the world.

We’re not saying you have to try and one-up your competitors as DHL has done. But the brand’s stunt was anything but boring – and that’s what your promotions should aim to be.

People are busy. They’re bombarded. They don’t have time for anything that’s dull or mundane. It takes a clever approach to get noticed.

Some ways you can do this include:

Street teams or brand ambassadors. Sending people out in branded apparel to hand out freebies allows you to get face-to-face with potential customers. Your promotional products aren’t just background items – they’re front and center. Click here for a great example that any company could easily pull off.

Interactive promotions. Don’t just hand out your promos and be done – make them fun and exciting. Send people on a scavenger hunt to find your giveaways. Give out one component of your giveaway, and have prospects come back the next day for the second piece. The idea is to engage with people – not just hand out free stuff. Here’s an interactive promotion in action.

Incentives. Use promos as perks when you want your customers to do something. Are you seeking more reviews for your restaurant? Want to generate more referrals for your new business? Want more likes on your Facebook page? Motivate people to take action by offering up promotional products.

We’ve had success using promos as incentives here at ePromos, too. When we wanted to spread the word about our Facebook page, we ran a contest in which everybody who liked our page was in the running for a great Ogio duffel bag.

Sure enough, our likes skyrocketed and we boosted engagement on the page. People love free stuff, and they’re more willing to do what you’re asking if they have the chance to get it. Just make sure the giveaway is universally appealing (everyone can use a duffel bag), or something that you know your audience will appreciate.

The key lesson here is: Be creative. Out with the boring and in with the bold when it comes to using promotional products.

Now that you’ve learned some do’s when it comes to promotional products, let’s examine some of the don’ts.

DON’T be cheap.

Remember what we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post? Promotional products are an investment. Don’t sacrifice quality to save a few bucks. Your brand image is on the line. If you go for the cheapest products you can find, people will correlate those giveaways with your brand.

That’s not to say you need to shell out big bucks for your promotional items to be effective. You can create a stellar promotion and still keep well within your allotted budget – just don’t make price your only consideration.

Do your research. Think about what you want your promo items to accomplish, and what your target audience would actually want to receive.

You’ll be better off using promotional products (even if there are fewer of them) that are interesting and appealing to recipients than getting a truckload of the cheapest items around.

You know the adage: You get what you pay for. It’s true with promotional items, as well. Give your customers and prospects a cheaply made giveaway that breaks or falls apart, and you have a one-way ticket to the trash can. So much for that brand exposure you were hoping for.

Don’t cheap out. You’ll invest more money up front, but in the long run, it pays off for your brand and how it’s perceived.

DON’T weird people out.

There are some promotional products – think hygiene products or political products, for example – that make sense only for certain companies and campaigns.

If you give people something that makes them feel a little off, do you think they’ll have positive feelings about your brand? No way.

Creativity is good, but don’t cross the line and make people feel weird or uncomfortable with your giveaways. The last thing you want to do is upset your customers or turn them away from your brand.

A promotional toothbrush is a great giveaway if you’re a dentist. If you’re an accountant, well, not so much. Not only is the promo strangely out of place, but it could send the vibe that your clients have bad breath. They’d be weirded out that they just got a toothbrush from their CPA, and they’d think about it every time they interact with you.

The same thing is true with political products. Unless you’re running for office or you’re a campaign manager, it’s best to steer clear of any promo that might tip people off to your political leanings.

People are passionate about politics. If they can see that your views don’t line up with theirs, you can kiss that brand loyalty goodbye.

You also don’t want to step on anybody’s toes by handing out blatantly political items (think bumper stickers or pins with a candidate’s name) or even subtly political promos (think donkey-shaped stress balls or elephant-shaped stickers).

If you’re not directly in the political arena or striving to make a political push, it’s best to remain bipartisan. Go patriotic instead with red, white, and blue promos or American-made items.

And when it comes to hygiene products, by all means, leave the toothbrushes for the dentists. Otherwise, it’s just too weird if it has nothing to do with your brand or promotion.

DON’T hand out promos without a strategy.

Do you have a game plan for your promotional products? If you’re not sure why you’re giving them out, then don’t do it. Take some time to figure out what you want to accomplish.

You should never invest in promos without knowing why you’re making the investment. You’ll simply be flinging freebies at people with no solid goal in mind.

Here are some things to consider. Will the promotional items be used for:

Brand awareness – Do you simply want to spread the word about your business?

Customer loyalty – Will the products be given out to retain current customers?

New business – Do you hope to win new customers with your giveaways?

Employee recruitment – Is the purpose of the promos to attract new talent to your business?

Incentives – Are you hoping to use the items to motivate your audience to do something?

Thank-you gifts – Will the promotional products be used as tokens of gratitude?

Gift-with-purchase – Will the promos be given as freebies when customers buy something? (Click here for an example of a gift-with-purchase promotion we created for one of our clients.)

This is just a sampling of some of the reasons to give promo items. But it’s a good place to start if you’re unsure why you need to be using promotional products.

It’s also smart to think about what’s on the horizon for your business. You may uncover some hidden gems when it comes to distributing custom logo merchandise.

Do you have any upcoming:

  • Conferences or tradeshows?
  • Open houses?
  • Fundraising events?
  • Golf tournaments?
  • Contests?
  • Customer appreciation events?
  • Awards ceremonies?

These are all prime opportunities to get your promo items into the hands of your customers and prospects.

Does it take time to develop a strategy for your promotional products? Yes. But it’s so worth it.

You’ll have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, and you’ll have some actionable ideas on how to make it happen.

There’s More To Promotional Products Than You Think

If, a few minutes ago, you thought using promotional products was as simple as putting your logo on something and handing it out, we hope we’ve cleared up that little misconception.

Promotional products are powerful, but you have to know how to use them. Take the time to know who you’re marketing to. Pay attention to what other businesses are doing. And be creative. Promotional items shouldn’t put people to sleep – they should catapult your brand to a whole new level.

Want more? Click to see some eye-opening stats about the effectiveness of promotional products.

Do you regularly use promotional products to market your business? What other tips can you share?


10 Unique Promotional Products Under $1

Being different is what sets you apart from your competitors – and you have the perfect promotional products to prove it. And if you don’t, you should!

With summer now coming into full swing, there are so many options of distributing promotional products to help your business prove its unique impression. At festivals, fairs and community events, hand out custom items that make people say: “Wow! That’s fun!” or even just put a smile on their face.

Those products, with your logo on them, are going to be remembered. The only thing better than the positive effect these giveaways will have on your business is their low price!

Here are 10 unique promotional products under $1:

1. Custom imprinted ping pong balls

custom ping pong balls

This program of endless summer fun is brought to you by (enter your company’s name here) ping pong balls. Hone your skills kids, you never know, this might be the summer you beat your older brother at something.


2. Custom Hershey kisses

A summer fling isn’t complete without the perfect summer kiss.

custom hershey kisses


3. Individually wrapped chocolate chip promo cookies

custom chocolate chip cookies

“If you give a customer a cookie …” they will definitely ask for another. They will also remember your company for implementing the kindest gesture known to man.


4. Custom temporary tattoos

custom temporary tattoos

Nothing says summertime festival fun like putting a promotional temporary tattoo on your forehead. Make this fun! Hand it out at a festival and tell people to put it on their body (somewhere visible). Later in the day, send an employee to walk around and give out a prize to anyone with your custom logo tattooed on them.


5. Promotional bandage dispensers

promotional bandage dispenser

Summertime is what children dream about all school year long. Finally, they can be outside swimming and playing with friends! Boo-boos should not be a playtime obstacle. Your company could save a child’s dream today just by giving them bandages imprinted with your logo.


6. Mini promo fly swatters

promo fly swatter

Heck no, bugs must go! Help a customer’s perfect picnic stay perfectly bug free. I mean, unless you’re into the whole eating bugs thing. That’s cool too.


7. Promotional dog bone treats

promotional dog bone treats

 Perfect for our canine family members, these treats keep man’s best friend happy.

8. Custom imprinted freezer pops

custom freezer pops

The seventh food group of summer, these customized freezer pops are the perfect frozen treat to have at any type of outdoor event. They are a super easy promotional product to hand out that skips the sticky mess of melting ice cream.


9. Custom printed leopard pen

custom printed leopard pen

Can you handle the sass?! This pen will not only be the most useful thing in a woman’s purse, but also the most stylish.


10. Reflective logo stickers

custom logo stickers

These stickers are great for families to stick on their bicycles, scooters, rollerblades, motorized power wheels, unicycles. You get the idea.

Mixing things up with your marketing doesn’t have to bust your budget. The trick is finding promos that are creative and also relevant to your target audience. Tell us: What are some unique promos you’ve used to get your brand out there?