The question we get on a regular basis is, “do promotional products still matter or work in today’s digital heavy age?” To this we always, emphatically, reply YES! I was recently listening to a keynote speech given by Neil Gaiman at the LBF 2013 Digital Minds Conference. He brought up a conversation he recently had with author Douglas Adams where he revealed his opinion on eBooks and traditional books. His response and opinion is as follows:
Quoting Neil quoting Douglas Adams, “maintaining eBooks are a great leap forward in technology, but traditional (physical paper) books will always be around. Adams stresses physical books will endure for the same reason sharks survived the dinosaurs’ extinction – nothing else has come along quite as good as being a “shark” and nothing is as good as a “traditional book.” Only requiring a functioning light source, a traditional book won’t run out of batteries, and it won’t die if it falls in a puddle.”
You probably wondering how this relates to promotional products? There are those people that see promotional products as outdated or old-fashioned in today’s digital age; however promotional products accomplish things that technology simply cannot. Think of the shark analogy above, promotional products are perfect at being promotional products- brands creating and disseminating useful, trending branded merchandise in the hands of their consumers that provides value and creates lasting and repeated brand impressions. Advertising with branded merchandise, (promotional products) is unlike any other medium. The message cannot simply be tuned out, turned off or ignored like a T.V., radio or print advertisement. The message is seen not only by the first recipient of the promo product but by all other who use it thereafter.
Once you have a fantastic brand message, what better way to promote this message by creating innovative and branded merchandise; filling a need or creating conversations within your target consumer base? It is critical that these products reflect your brands products or services and not to mention your company culture and image. According to a 2009 study by PPAI, 94% of people who received a promotional products could remember where they were given the product two years, 24 months, later- Incredible!
Promotional products’ “sweet spot” may be best described as the often unused space between Internet Marketing Print & TV marketing. Internet Marketing works as end users are actively looking for something whether on search engines or dedicated websites. Print & TV marketing work by surprising audiences reading or watching something they enjoy. Promotional products, conversely, live with customers every day and often present themselves to other potential customers. A promotional product used in an office will typically be seen five days per week by many potential customers.
While all forms of advertising and branding have their place in your marketing mix, promotional products offer your brand the chance to be creative with branded merchandise that will immediately show your consumers who you are. It also creates moments of brand-to-consumer engagements that are critical in the initial relationship building phase for brands. Sharks are still around for a reason, as mentioned above, as are promotional products. Don’t be afraid to integrate them into your branding and marketing mix.