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The value of promotional gifts

Do they work?

Most of us have done it.  Been to an event or an exhibition or a hotel or a conference and picked up or been given small gifts – pens, folders, cups, t-shirts, bags – the list of possibilities is a long one.

But why?  Most of us already have enough pens, folders, cups, t-shirts and bags – so it can’t be that can it?  If you’ve ever seen the wonderful publicity caravan that precedes the Tour de France you’ll see people running to fetch – and in some cases literally fighting over – small inexpensive articles thrown from the vehicles like baseball caps and key-rings and water bottles …

So is it just because they’re free, and we all like something free?  Well, that may be part of it, but in a sense it doesn’t really matter.  Surely the important point is, you are giving people something that makes them think of you every time they see or use it.

Now a few numbers which we believe make the point effectively. Recent research shows that:

  • around 80% of people like receiving promotional gifts
  • 52% of people said that they felt more positively about a company after receiving a gift
  • 50% use such gifts daily

Impressive statistics, we think you’ll agree, which stack up very well against other marketing approaches.

(If you’d like to delve deeper into some of the statistics, a useful indicator is the ‘Cost Per Impression’ (CPI).  Often used for web-sites or TV/radio advertising, nevertheless it’s possible to compare reasonably fairly the different techniques.  Promotional gifts work out significantly cheaper than almost all other marketing approaches.  You might find these links useful: CPI definition and ASI study).

So why do they work?

There are several reasons, but here are some of the more obvious ones:

  • increased brand awareness – with 50% of people using such gifts daily, awareness of your company will remain high
  • return on investment – it’s a very effective way of getting something out to large numbers of people reasonably cheaply
  • the memorable business card – not instead of but as well as the traditional card, if your company’s logo and/or name and potentially contact details are on the gift, so much the better.
  • relevance – think about what your clients use regularly and match that up with what you do so that they think about you often.  Bike shop – water bottles.  Computer company – USB stick.  Car hire company – key ring.  You get the gist!
  • differentiate yourselves – in the hyper-competitive world we live in, every way you can promote yourselves more effectively than your competitors do will help you

So what’s at play here?  We think it’s far deeper than the pleasure we all get from getting something for nothing.  It’s got something to do with gratitude, something to do with image, something to do with being happy to be associated with that product or that company.  I remember once visiting an exhibition and conference in the States organised and paid for by a large telecommunications company … and virtually the entire audience were carrying very smart and colourful conference bags given out by their biggest competitor. Priceless!

(Incidentally, I’m looking at my desk now and within touching distance I have a pen, two USB sticks and a mug all promoting different companies – so I’m reminded of these companies every day!)

They’re not just for customers either …

We’ve been focussing on customers, but of course your own staff are important too (and too often ignored when it comes to gifts).  They may not need to be reminded about who they work for, but they can be made to feel special – and part of a team – if occasionally they are the recipient of a little gift.

So what’s next?

It’s easy, really. Find a company that understands the true value of promotional gifts; that has long-standing expertise coupled with a successful track record; that will take the time to understand what you’re trying to achieve and also what your target recipients would find most useful and enjoyable; and finally have a wide range of gifts so that you’re not limited in your choice.

The good news?  Here’s a link to just such a company

Promotional gifts

And finally … 3 quotes to end on …

We like our quotes, so here are three on giving which we think you’ll enjoy:

  • “We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give.” (Winston Churchill)
  • “Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” (Ben Carson)
  • “No-one has ever become poor by giving.” (Anne Frank)

We’ve finished on promotional gifts for now; in our next article we’ll be focussing on print for education …. until then, happy giving!