The Effectiveness Of Promotional Products As a Marketing Strategy
H istorically, gift-giving is an act that has been used to strengthen personal or work relationships (Andreas et al., 2019). Similarly, in the corporate sector, businesses also want to establish strong relationships with their customers. Using promotional and corporate gifting, businesses can form a positive connection between their brand and the target audience. Promotional gifting, by definition, means that a business will provide free branded and tangible products to its customers. These gifts are either engraved or printed with specific details of the brand; such as the business name, logo, address, and contact information (John Roberts., n.d). Promotional gifting has several different practical applications for a firm's marketing strategy. Such as, it helps the business to penetrate into a new market, reach its target audience, and appreciate or express gratitude to its customers. In this paper, we will examine the effectiveness of promotional gifting as a marketing strategy. First, we will discuss the role of promotional products in building a positive brand image and spreading brand recognition. Second, we will closely analyze the impact of promotional products as a promotional and an advertising tool. Research suggests that promotional products are more effective than any other promotional or advertising medium. Lastly, promotional products increase the effectiveness of the overall campaign when used in combination with other mediums.
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Gift-giving is an act of kindness and has been linked with increased positive affect (Hurling et al., 2015). The gift-giver may experience an increased sense of belongingness, gratitude, optimism, and control. Gift-giving also has a positive effect on the quality of relationships. It helps to strengthen interpersonal relationships. Accordingly, brands that provide free promotional products and gifts will also have a similar impact. Brands make use of psychology of gift giving and provide their customer with free promotional products. This helps them to build strong and long-lasting relationships with their customers (Mcdonald et al., 2011). Organizations use promotional products and gifts as tools to build a positive brand image in the customer's mind. A positive brand image encourages customers to make more purchases and allows the organization to gain a competitive advantage (Atidra et al., 2019). Research reveals that the recipients of promotional products have a more positive image of the business, therefore, improving the overall brand image (PPAI., 2013). The recipients of promotional products are also more likely to create referrals for the business. Louisiana State University survey found that offering a promotional product as an incentive, attracted 500% more referrals, compared to an appeal letter alone (PPAI., 2013). PPAI research not only validates the effectiveness of promotional products but also confirms that including them will increase the overall effectiveness of the marketing campaign.
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Promotional gifting also plays a crucial role in an organization's marketing strategy and helping it create brand awareness among its target audience. According to Haque et al. (2018), brand awareness can be defined as the ease with which customers can recognize a brand. Giving customers repeated exposure, in the form of promotional products, will allow the product to become engraved in their minds. These repeated reminders will help customers easily identify and recognize the brand. Brand recognition can also assist the brand in the acquisition and retention of customers. Hence, allowing the business to generate and increase brand loyalty (Haque et al., 2018). Similar to brand image, it directly affects the consumers purchasing decisions. A brand that has higher brand awareness will generate higher customer purchases (Haque et al., 2018). Pragmatically, incorporating promotional products will act as a catalyst to attract more customers and generate higher profit margins. I would now discuss some research done by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) to examine the effectiveness of the promotional product as a marketing tool. 70% of brands ranked promotional product marketing as a highly effective strategy for achieving satisfying marketing goals. The study showed that 96% of consumers wanted a heads-up when an organization is planning to distribute giveaways, 80% of consumers reacted to promotional and marketing products, regardless of whether they had heard of the brand or not, and 72% of consumers were found linking and making connections between company’s brand reputation and the promotional product quality (PPAI., 2013). Therefore, brands offer promotional products and giveaways, and consumers purchase, remember, and engage with that brand more.
Advertising has the power to change the perceptions and attitudes of the customers. Using print and non-print media outlets to advertise products is an effective strategy, however, incorporating tangible promotional products into the advertising campaign has a more robust impact. Customers can touch, see and take ownership of that promotional product. Advertising Speciality Institute (ASI) concluded that most people own a promotional product for an average of 8 months. Compared to other advertising mediums, promotional products have a greater staying power. The longer the customers own a promotional product, the stronger the impact it will have. Hence, the impact of promotional products would be stronger than an ad, commercial or web pop-ups (ASI., 2016). Another study revealed that when promotional products were used along with television & print advertising mediums a positive effect was observed (Lieu et al., 2022). Lastly, British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) conducted a survey on the power of promotional merchandise in the UK. The results showed that promotional products had a higher return on investment compared to radio and outdoor advertising (BPMA., 2012).
In summary, including promotional products and gifts can increase the overall effectiveness of a marketing campaign. The impact of promotional products is a lot more long-lasting and it is an opportunity for brands to create a personal connection with the consumers. It also allows brands to build a positive brand image and create brand awareness in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Therefore, brands prefer using promotional products in their campaigns, compared to other advertising or marketing methods.
Habiba Komal Qadir
The Shared Secrets Lab,