Promotional Printed Products Prove Their Worth

At Christmas time it is a tradition of many companies to distribute printed pens and other promotional paraphernalia to customers and clients. But evidence has just emerged from the USA suggesting that businesses should consider distributing them all year round as they are considerably more effective than traditional printed literature.

The research, carried out by the American professional trade body Promotional Products Association International, found that printed pens and other promotional items proved more effective than print advertising in establishing the company’s name in the recipient’s mind.

Conducted at Dallas Fort Worth airport, the researchers found that over 71% of business travellers had received at least one promotional item in the past 12 months. Of those, 76% said they could spontaneously recall the name of the company on the item, whereas only 53% could remember the name of the company on a piece of printed literature.

The study was conducted to specifically consider the impact, exposure and influence of promotional products amongst the target market of business travellers. Importantly, it examined only business to business marketing (B2B), and therefore did not consider business to consumer (B2C) marketing.

Because business promotional items – especially pens – are more likely to be used by the recipient, the name of the company printed upon them is therefore reinforced at almost every use. However, the study found that much of the traditional print literature that was delivered to businesses was almost immediately consigned to the bin. It was the ‘wow’ impact of quality or quirky pens that won out against even the slickest printed material, and proved that promotional items are certainly no ‘gimmick’.

There is also a distinct correlation in the mind of the recipient between the quality of the item and their opinion of the company that provided it. Cheap and tacky items tended to be almost immediately discarded following a brief examination, whereas quality ones were kept and often used and in some cases extra-special items were even shown to colleagues, or paraded as status symbols.

Undoubtedly the most important conclusion of this research is the fact that promotional items definitely work. However, most companies distribute promotional desktop items and printed pens [] to their customers at Christmas. That could prove counter-productive as there are so many other items arriving from many different sources that only the top quality gifts will be retained and used by the recipients.

But, given this research, it would appear all year round that promotional gifts work better than printed materials, so it would be more beneficial to post promotional gifts out of season than provide printed literature; just some food for thought next time you are considering your company’s advertising strategy.

Nicole Thomas

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