Promotional marketing materials are literally everywhere. Branded beer koozies, key chains, stress balls, hats, pens, towels, golf balls, stickers… the list could go on forever! These days, if you can slap a brand logo on it and buy it in bulk, it can absolutely become a promotional item for your business. And while this might seem great when you’re flipping through a catalog of potential promo items, many people quickly realize the downfall of these items as modern marketing materials: there are simply too many options!
Given innumerable options to put your brand logo on something, what’s worth investing in and what’s going to end up going from your customer’s hands into the trash?
There’s a reason most promo items are called “trinkets and trash”: it’s because that’s how they’re viewed by the people receiving them! Think about it – if someone would rather pass on or discard something they’re given for free, it says a lot about what they think of that item… and if your brand name is on it, what does that say about your brand?
Not all promo items fall into the “trinkets and trash” category, however. In fact, when used in the right capacity, a good number of promotional freebies can actually leave a positive, lasting impression on their recipients. Take a look at ten of these items that have proven time and time again their value to the smart marketer:
- Towels: Towels are a very practical promo item because they can be used in a variety of capacities. Adding a bright color or slogan to your towel can further help it to stand out, so that every time someone grabs it, they’re reminded of your brand.
- Hand sanitizer: Have you ever noticed that seemingly everyone has hand sanitizer within reach at any given time? Whether it’s on a desk or stowed in a purse, being able to brand something that people use on a daily basis is truly invaluable.
- Pens: Pens are an old staple in the world of promotional items and they continue to thrive for good reason—people always need them! From wait staff to administrative assistants and everyone in between, it’s a good bet that someone is going to use a pen at least once a day… why not one with your logo on it?
- Earbuds and pouches: In this day and age, earbuds are cheap to produce – so cheap in fact that they’ve become a marketing tool! Handing out this functional, usable product to your customers, complete with a branded bag, is going to make your company look good!
- Coffee cups: We all know someone who’s powered by coffee on a daily basis. Instead of your customer sipping out of the same grimy old mug, provide a slickly branded mug. Iimagine the marketing ROI that could occur if hundreds of people are getting their daily dose of caffeine from mugs with your company logo on them!
- Calendars: You’d be amazed at how many people still love to use physical calendars to plan their weeks and months! Pair that calendar with your company branding and add something like a local sports team’s schedule and you’ve got a promo item that’s going to find a well-deserved place in someone’s daily life.
- T-shirts: Everyone loves a free t-shirt! Whether they wear it to bed or it becomes a rotating article in their weekly ensemble, everyone is going to hang on to a t-shirt. Even if your shirt is donated to a local Goodwill or secondhand store, it’s still serving its purpose: to get your brand’s image out in the public.
- Bottle openers: Whether it’s a fizzy soft drink or a nice cold beer, never underestimate someone’s need for a bottle opener. A bottle opener is a great way to put your company’s name and brand in someone’s hand and make them thank you every time they pop the cap off of another beverage.
- Tote bags: Consumers want something they can use and what could get more use than a canvas tote bag? From beach-bound accessories to groceries to a spare set of clothes, a canvas tote bag can be used for just about anything. Each time it’s employed, so too will your company’s branding.
- Industry-specific items: The end-all, be-all of great promo items applies to those that are industry-specific to your brand. If you’re a golf apparel company, distribute some branded golf balls. If you’re an ice cream producer, give away some scoopers. If you’re an accounting firm, brand some mini-calculators. Helping to associate your brand with your industry is the next step in promotional advertising mastery!
Before you invest part of your marketing budget at promo items, make sure you’re putting that money towards something that is meaningful and not just something you can get for cheap and give away for free. Remember, unless it’s something your customers want or will use, you run the risk of falling into the trap of “trinkets and trash”!