So you got your marketing budget approved. And you’re now figuring out how to maximize returns from your marketing investment.

Most marketers at this stage of the decision-making process tend to turn to Google AdWords or social media marketing or other forms of digital marketing. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with this. If it works for your business, then, by all means, you can always use digital marketing.

However, if you want a cost-effective way to build or reinforce your brand, consider leveraging the power of promotional products or branded merchandise. With an integrated marketing approach, you can use promotional products alongside your digital marketing efforts.

I am with Paul Bellantone in spreading the word about the power of promotional products in creating brand awareness. As he said:

It is our mission to ensure that all lawmakers understand that promotional products are the most cost-effective way to deliver education, motivate, inspire and create awareness.” –Paul Bellantone, President and CEO of PPAI

The Promotional Products Association International or PPAI released in 2017 a consumer study that measured what it called the 5 Rs of promotional products.

Here are the key results that you should pay attention to:

REACH. Promotional products drive an “undisputed level of brand exposure.”

? 28% are exposed to promotional products most of the time.

? 8 in 10 consumers choose to pass along promotional products that they no longer use.

? 81% of consumers keep promotional products for over a year.

RECALL. Brands can maximize brand recall by “organically integrating into everyday routines at work, home or play.”

? 1 in 2 consumers walks around with a promotional product such as a wearable item or a pocket product.

RESONANCE. Do promotional products resonate with the consumers? PPAI’s study confirms, YES!

So how do the consumers feel when they receive promotional products from brands?

? 71% – Happy

? 52% – Interested

? 46% – Thankful

? 43% – Appreciated

REACTION. Because promotional products resonate positively with the consumers, they help tremendously in “enhancing brand loyalty.”

? 83% are more likely to do business with brands from which they received promo products.

According to PPAI’s study, “With the overwhelming selection of brands today’s marketplace offers, the average consumer might appear elusive or erratic than even in their decision-making. However, one might argue that the right advertising vehicle has the power to shift brand favorability and ultimately influence a consumer’s buying decisions–and that’s exactly the case.”

? 79% have looked up a brand after receiving a promo product.

? Promotional products can increase brand loyalty.

RELATIVITY. Promotional products stand out as the “consumer’s choice in brand communication.”

? Consumers across all generations consider promo products the most effective in making them take action.

And because consumers today have been bombarded with so much information both online and offline, they have been avoiding all sorts of advertising. Interestingly, very few discard promotional products while the majority avoid online videos, TV ads and web ads.

?68% avoid online videos

?66% avoid TV commercials

?57% avoid web ads

?50% avoid direct mail

?48% avoid magazine ads

?46% avoid radio commercials

?46% avoid email communication

?38% avoid mobile messaging

?20% discard promotional products

Being in the promotional product industry for nearly 20 years and as a consumer myself, I’ve observed that consumers are very good at ignoring things that they don’t need. They engage with any form of promotions only if they would benefit from them.

In recent years, Ad Blocking has become handy for consumers who want to avoid all sorts of web advertisements.

Of course, the digital marketing industry has been addressing this challenge by using other forms of marketing, including content marketing.

However, if you want to really maximize the returns on your marketing investment, stay on budget, and prolong the life of your advertising efforts, using promotional products is the way to go.

As long as you give away promotional products or branded items that are useful and relevant, you won’t go wrong with this time-tested promotional strategy.


  • Fred Greco

    Promotional Product, Marketing & Branding Strategist | Founder & President, Greco Promotions and Global Golf Events

    Fred Greco is a promotional product and branding strategist with 22 years of experience in the industry. Fred is the founder of Greco Promotions, a company that helps businesses and non-profits build or reinforce brand awareness by providing cost-effective imprinting services and branded merchandise solutions. He also founded Global Golf Events, which provides organizations with high-quality golf tournament gifts and giveaways to help achieve their marketing goals.