Promotional merchandising has a very long history – businesses have been using the idea of free gifts to lure in prospects since at least the mid-1800s.
The first notable genius of promotional products was a newspaper owner called Jasper Meek who realised that many of the local children didn’t own bags in which to carry their books to school.Meek approached a local business, a shoe shop- offering to print book bags which the shop could then give away for free to every child who came into the store.The shoe shop agreed and paid Meek a sum of money to carry out the marketing experiment.It was a resounding success and Meek soon moved on to printing horse covers emblazoned with advertisements for various local business.
Meek suddenly had a new business – advertising. He later printed many metal signs for the Coca-Cola company.What Meek’s success story tells us is that the best promotional products are the useful ones.He knew that families didn’t have the cash to buy book bags – so the free ones would be well utilised. He also knew that horse covers were pricey but almost all families had at least one horse. He took the opportunity to provide branded promotional products to a captive audience and made sure the items were things which people would value.
Little has changed today when it comes to promotional merchandise. People still enjoy receiving free bags, they love the offer of a free, branded cap, cup, pen or t-shirt. The wonderful part of promotional products today is that there’s no limit to what can be made and given away.
Manufacturing processes have become so finely tuned that it’s easy to order hundreds or thousands of units of a promotional product, have it custom printed to your brand’s specification and be in a position to hand the free gifts out within days.
Targeting promotional merchandise to your audience is easy too, thanks to the many tools available which are designed to help us better understand who our customers are.
With so many products to choose from, it’s a great idea to look into what your audience will most value before ordering your custom promotional gifts.
How to choose which promotional merchandise to offer your audience
It’s not always easy to choose the right sort of promotional gifts but if you take care to consider who your audience are then you’ll be on the right track.Ask yourself what are your audience’s interests? What are their lifestyles? What items are they likely to use most often?
These are good questions to answer before deciding on the ideal promotional merchandise to offer.For example, if your audience is largely interested in tech then promotional items such as portable keyring charging cables or even light-up charging hubs would go down very well.
Similarly, if you’re targeting busy parents then water bottles, stress toys, coffee cups and tote bags are going to be popular.
It’s a matter of considering the needs of your clients and then offering them gifts which fill a gap and make a welcome addition to their handbag, home, car or office.
Don’t blindly choose items which you like the look of – you’re not the same as your audience. And don’t worry that people don’t want things with your logo emblazoned on them – they certainly do if the item is of good quality and is useful, attractive and fun. These are the three must-haves when it comes to choosing the best promotional items for your business.
Fun items include things like cookies, confectionary, stress toys, badges and caps. Useful are those things we all need regularly – pens, rulers, calculators, water bottles and mouse mats – attractive things include paperweights, glassware and seasonal gifts.
Whatever items you do decide to give away, one thing’s for certain – your audience will appreciate the gesture. Research suggests that promotional gifts are more effective than television advertising!