Promotional products are custom items that businesses, non-profits, bands, sports teams, realtors, and other organizations use to advertise. These items are printed with some kind of identifying mark like a name, contact information, slogan, or logo.
Other Lessons in This Course
- What Are Promotional Products?
- Understanding Eco-Friendly Promo Products
- Environmental Impact of Promo Products
- How To Measure Your Head For Hats
- Difference Between a Padfolio and Portfolio?
- Shelf Life of a Promo Product Battery
- Why Are Red and Orange Mugs More Expensive?
- Importance of Drinkware and Case Quantities
- Why Does My Shipping Cost So Much?
- Acceptable Artwork and File Formats at Quality Logo Products
- Garment Imprint Locations
- What is a Gusset?
- What Are Promotional Products?
- What Are the Different Types of Stress Balls?
- Environmental Impact of Tote Bags
- Things to Avoid When Ordering Promotional Items
- What Are Cell Phone Wallets?
What Are Promotional Products?
Published: July 23rd, 2020
If you've ever gone to the bank and grabbed a pen from the cup, or taken a drawstring bag home from a 5K, you've held a promotional product in your hands. These logo printed items are part of our lives almost every day, even if we don't always realize it!
According to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), the most popular promotional items include:
- 1. PPE products (face masks, hand sanitizer, etc.)
- 2. USB drives & chargers
- 3. Apparel & outerwear
- 4. Drinkware
- 5. Writing instruments
- 6. Bags
- 7. Calendars
- 8. Desk & office supplies
- 9. Umbrellas
- 10. Power banks
A variety of businesses, from restaurants to non-profits, love to use promotional products like these to make an impression. Here's everything you need to know about this marketing strategy!
The promotional products industry consists of over 40,000 companies and is worth an estimated $23.3 billion. It's operated by two different types of businesses: 1) suppliers and 2) distributors.
Supplier - A supplier's products are featured on a distributor website, and once an order is placed, they get the products printed with the design. In other words, they are the keyholders who do the actual customization of the items.
Distributor - A distributor is the face of the promotional products industry and works directly with the customers. They will send a customer's order to the supplier and work with them on making sure it's right.
Think of it this way - the distributor is the middleman. They find out what the customer needs, communicate that to the supplier, and get the custom items shipped back to the customer.
The most popular giveaways are the ones that are useful and stylish. They're items that people are genuinely excited to receive and hold onto for years. This includes:
- PPE products
- USB drives & chargers
- Apparel & outerwear
- Writing instruments
- Desk & office supplies
- Power banks
PPE products boomed in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hand sanitizer, sneeze guards, and other medical equipment saw an influx in sales volume. By far, the most popular items were face masks, with 39% of people owning a logoed one!
The Cloud may have taken over how we save files and data, but many people still like to have a backup. For this reason, USB drives and chargers remain one of the most popular promotional products to this day. In fact, 58% of people own a custom USB item.
If you take the average number of people who own promotional t-shirts, hats, polos, jackets, gloves, and other apparel, you'll get roughly 70%. That's a ton of folks out there who have logoed clothing hanging in their closets!
We all love our cell phones, laptops, and other tech gadgets, but writing by hand still hasn't gone out of style! Pens, pencils, and markers are extremely popular as 89% of consumers own some kind of promotional writing instrument.
Bags that are handed out for promotional purposes will yield about 3,300 impressions in their lifetime. That's a ton of people noticing the logo printed on the outside. It's basically like a walking billboard for your organization!
You'll get a year's worth of impressions if you use calendars to advertise your business. A reported 53% of people keep them because they're useful at school, home, and the office.
Desk accessories and supplies, like stress balls, hardcover journals, and potted plants, are well-loved by about 64% of people. They use these items to bring some personality to their office space.
Rain or shine, custom umbrellas are always a great giveaway for your organization! People will hold onto these gifts for 14 months or longer and use them in the winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Nothing is worse than a battery that's almost at 0%. That's why everyone loves power banks, especially if they receive them for free at trade shows. These portable chargers are held onto by people for an average of 12 months.
You can give promotional products away for free, use them at your business, or sell them to bring in some extra funds or revenue. They can be used for any of the following:
- Daily business operations
- Employee uniforms
- Branded merch that's purchased by fans
- Free giveaways at events
- Fundraising items for a non-profit
- Souvenirs at hotels and tourist attractions
- Spirit wear of a team or school
- Holiday gifts
- Community awareness giveaways
- Party favors for weddings and other events
Promotional items come in handy for your day-to-day work. For instance, restaurants often use custom printed napkins and glasses to serve their customers.
Grocery stores, banks, fast food restaurants, retail stores, and many others purchase logoed apparel or aprons as employee uniforms. It's an easy way to unite your team and look official to your customers.
If you've ever been to a concert, you know all about the merch tents! Many organizations sell branded merch, not limited to podcasts, movie studios, pop-up shops, and of course, bands.
Whether it's a trade show or grand opening, logoed items make excellent free giveaways. Many organizations look for something cheap, simple, and under $1 each.
You can get a ton of great fundraising items from a promotional products company, including volunteer shirts, table covers, and little swag bags and gifts for the attendees. They're also great ways for local sports leagues to spread the word and raise extra money.
Popular destinations, like resorts, theme parks, and tourist spots, sell promotional souvenirs in their gift shops. They're also commonly found at sports stadiums, live shows, and museums.
When you need holiday gifts in bulk, a promotional products distributor is the way to go! You can get nice, premium items, such as wireless speakers and stainless steel travel mugs, that are printed with a logo or design.
Community Awareness Items
Churches, schools, libraries, and other local businesses often use promotional products to raise awareness. These can be handed out or sold at village picnics, community art shows, or town fairs.
Do Promotional Products Work?
Promotional products help raise awareness about businesses, bands, non-profits, events, schools, and more. Sometimes it's at a subconscious level, and you don't even realize the products are making you think of the organization!
The numbers don't lie when it comes to how well promotional products actually work:
40% of customers who own promotional products keep them for longer than 10 years.
Nearly one quarter of consumers have purchased a logoed item in the last year.
53% of people use a promotional product at least once a week.
About 85% of people have done business with a company after receiving one of their promotional products.
8 in 10 people own between 1 and 10 promotional products.
Promotional products are the #1 form of marketing across all generations.
70% of people would like to receive promotional products more often.
It pays to be active on social media! 96% of people want to know about promotional products ahead of time.
Nearly 100% of people are willing to go out of their way to get a promotional product.
These statistics really open your eyes about the power of promotional products and branded merchandise. People love wearing or using items that are printed with logos, especially if they're from places and brands they know and love!
The Bottom Line
Who doesn't love cool stuff like t-shirts and water bottles? You use these items anyway, so they may as well be decked out with a cool design or logo from your favorite organizations. For this reason, and many more, promotional products will always be one of the best marketing strategies out there!
Alyssa is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. As a promo expert, she's uncovered the world's first custom tote bag, interviewed the guy behind rock band ACDC's logo, and had a piece published by the Advertising Specialty Institute, a leader in the promotional products industry.
Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). 2018 Promotional Products Fact Sheet. Retrieved from, http://www.promotionalproductswork.org/media/1217/law_2018propro-factsheet.pdf
Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI). Global Ad Impressions Study. Retrieved from, https://media.asicentral.com/resources/2020-Global-Ad-Impressions-Study.pdf
Sage World. (2015, April 30). 25 Insane (But True) Facts About Promotional Products. Retrieved from, https://www.sageworld.com/blog/index.php/2015/04/30/25-insane-but-true-facts-about-promotional-products/
Sage World. (2017, March 9). Let the Facts Do the Talking: 25 Stats About Promotional Products. Retrieved from, https://www.sageworld.com/blog/index.php/2017/03/09/let-the-facts-do-the-talking-25-stats-about-promotional-products/
Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). The Promotional Products Industry Strategy Notes: Highlights From the 2019 Consumer Study. Retrieved from, https://www.ppai.org/media/5482/ppai2019consumerstudysummary.pdf