Jan 8, 2018 The Incredible Staying Power of Promotional Products (With Real-Life Examples)
Long Live the Promos
Here’s a photo of that exact custom stainless steel tumbler referenced above which I have personally used every day for well over 2 years. This item looks tired and worn out. It takes serious abuse every day. For starters, the cup holder in my truck is a very tight fit around the tumbler, which has caused most of the scratches.
Additionally, a habit of mine is to tap on the tumbler with my ring finger, a habit stemmed from excess energy (possibly a mild ADD), causing some of the wear on the colored enamel. It’s been dropped multiple times. When it’s empty, it sits in my oversized lunch bag along with glass containers which previously held my oversized lunch. This causes the glass containers and the tumbler to bang together causing additional scratches. While it may look bad, I think I’ll just keep it until something renders it unusable.
I’ve thought many times that I should replace it. But then I think, “Why should I replace it if it works?” While the value is not the same, it’s like having a car that runs really well but has some dings and scratches on the outside. Why get rid of something that works, and is paid for?
According to a recent study by the Promotional Products Association International, 81% of people keep promotional products for more than a year. Odds are the 19% that chose not to keep their items for more than a year were given either a disposable product, consumable item, or a low-quality promotional product. For this particle article, I’ll be focusing on higher quality items, which have the incredible ability to stick around for many years to continue to advertise for your company.
The Need For Education
Sometimes I have comical discussions with prospects who don’t yet understand the power of promotional products. That means they need more education about this incredibly effective advertising medium.
In a recent discussion with a CEO of a medium-sized company, I was relaying one of the major benefits of promotional products by telling her how promotional products can stick around with recipients for several years after receiving them, which allows for continued advertising for her company.
She countered my argument saying that her radio ads and billboards have continued to advertise for over 5 years now. To that response, I couldn’t help but let out a little chuckle. Luckily I was able to control my laughter when thinking about her fallible reasoning so I could explain the big difference between the two scenarios.
Here are the differences: A promotional product, such as a stainless steel tumbler is given away to a client or prospect at a cost of $10. If that item is used every day for 2 years, that recipient is exposed to your brand 730 times. That equates to $0.014 per impression. For a little over a penny per impression, you have advertised 730 times to this person. This cost per impression doesn’t factor in all of the other people seeing your logo on the tumbler. Pay for it once, and the advertising continues on for as long as the product is kept.
Now let’s flip the table and look at a radio ad. In order for that ad to continue airing, the company must continue to pay for it. If the cost of the radio campaign is $1000 per month, that will be $24,000 over the course of 2 years. If that ad is heard by 100,000 unique listeners, that’s $0.01 per impression. Over the course of 2 years, that would equate to $0.24 per impression. That’s a 1714% higher cost to advertise this radio ad compared to strategically giving away a useful promotional product to a qualified buyer. If you narrow down those listeners to the few who are actually qualified to be one of your customers, that cost gets significantly higher.
As if it’s not bad enough to pay 1714% more for this radio ad, these ads are NOT targeted. Sure, radio stations tend to have a general demographic you want to reach, such as an age range, but this is still a very general way to target. Promotional products can be targeted to current clients and qualified prospects. If you only want to send your promotional products to CEOs, you can do that. If you only want to target HR directors, that’s easy to do. This provides a much higher return on your advertising dollar.
So What Drives the Staying Power of Promotional Products?
There are 2 major factors to consider when purchasing promotional items to ensure they stick around.
- Usefulness – Make sure your promotional items are useful. If they solve a problem or make things easier for recipients, they will be kept for longer. Items typically used in everyday life are great, such as calendars, coffee mugs, pens, phone accessories, etc.
- Quality – Low quality (cheap) promotional items will not be kept long, even if they are useful. For example, a cheap promotional pen will be tossed in favor of a nice pen which writes better and feels and looks better. With high quality, premium promotional products, they will be almost always be kept much longer than low quality, cheap promos.
Other reasons keep promotional products is because they are fun or trendy. However, the fun can wear off pretty quickly, and trends can come and go with the wind. Therefore, usefulness and quality will be the most influential dictators determining how long the promos are kept.
Real Photos From Friends
To drive my point home of the longevity of promotional products, I posted a request for photos of promotional items which have been used for a long time. The responses below were received from friends, clients, industry colleagues, and a few people I have never met who happened to see my post.
Get the Most Out of Your Promotional Products
It’s much more effective to strategically give away high-quality promotional products to targeted prospects than it is to give away cheap promos to a higher number of non-targeted, random prospects. Give away your premium promos to prospects you want to do business with and to clients whom you want to do more business with. Giving promos (even cheap ones) to prospects who will likely never buy from you is typically wasteful.
By giving away useful and high-quality promotional items, your cost per impression will be much lower than traditional forms of advertising. In addition, if you are strategic with your giveaways, you’ll find your return on investment for your giveaways is unparalleled with any other advertising medium.