Are Promotional Products Still Important in the Digital Age?
In a recent keynote address on ebooks, author Neil Gaiman relayed late author Douglas Adams‘ opinion 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.
How is this linked to promotional products? You may see promotional products as old-fashioned and out of date in today’s digital world; yet promotional products do something impossible for other technology. Similar to the shark and the book, promotional products are best at being promotional products – carrying your brand in novel and uniquely useful ways. No other type of advertising can introduce your company to a potential customer and offer immediate usefulness quite like a popular promotional product. Once you have a great logo spearheading your branding campaign, what better way to get it out there and garner good will than through an interesting, deployable product; filling a need or creating conversations and maybe some laughter. It’s critical to put your logo, tag lines, and brand messaging on the kind of items that will reinforce your brand and equate it with quality. Cheap, flimsy logoed promotional items can detract from your brand and undermine your very intent.
In business, it’s easier to get a second sale than it is to get that first sale. First impressions can be as elusive, while also obviously critical. A promotional product is a great way to create your company’s introduction and also secure that second sale. A 2009 study by PPAI revealed 94% of people having received a promotional product could remember where they got it 2 years later – WOW! Most professional sales persons/cold-callers would love to be that distinct and memorable! In our rapidly changing digital world, potential customers are on “information overload,” literally being bombarded with data on a daily basis; hence, the need to be unique, compelling and memorable is at its height. Putting something solid, functional, eye-catching, unique, memorable, and long-lasting in the hands of customers, prospects, and key influencers is a tactic providing distinct advantages over companies that don’t. Plus, if you’re savvy, your promotional products may work with your digital marketing strategy. There are many creative ways to tie-in and cross-promote your brand through the right mix of classy promotional items and digital venues. You can brand your products to match your website, include your website URL, or even include a QR code onto them, for starters.
Promotional products’ “sweet spot” may be best described as the often unused space between Internet Marketing and Print & TV marketing. Internet Marketing works as end users are actively seeking something out. 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. Your branded beverage mug will be seen every morning; as hot coffee wakes-up one person, it also gives several others a big hello in the process.
So, seriously consider a balanced mix of the right promotional items. Your logo is crying out for the additional attention, while your brilliant brand messaging seeks to be taken to all corners of the marketplace. Branded promotional products offer an often overlooked creative, cost-effective, memorable and far-reaching component to your brand strategy. Promotional products are also a great way to thank your customers and allow them means to proudly share brand loyalty to your company. Hats, shirts and clothing of all types can be worn as “badges of honor” if you have the right brand. Don’t just rely on the Internet and traditional forms of marketing to get your name out there – promotional products work. So, let them work for you!