Branded Giveaways and Other Promotional Products: Do They Still Have an Impact?

Yes, we live in a digital world. As such, online marketing seems to be the only thing marketers think of when trying to attract new business. I am even guilty of it myself.

With so many marketers focusing their marketing efforts online, promotional products have been neglected as a way to promote a business. Unfortunately, those of us who have abandoned the practice of using such items are missing out.

Branded giveawys and other promotional products have always been simple gifts: small promotional trinkets used by a company to promote a product or service. Think of them as a little souvenir that you can put on your desk to remind you of the company that gave them to you.

So how much of an impact are these types of products still having on the marketplace?

Numbers don’t lie–promotional products work!

A 2016 study by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) explains everything you need to know about the effectiveness of promotional products. According to the study, most people keep promotional products for an average of eight months. That means your advertisement is sitting in front of someone longer than a simple PPC ad or pop-up on a website. The actual time is dependent on the product, with umbrellas lasting for 14 months and hats lasting only seven.

Talk about brand ambassadors. Those who receive promotional products are very likely to pass them along to others who will use them (and also receive your advertising message). The ASI study shows that 63% of those in the United States and 64% of those in Canada give their promotional products away when they are finished with them.

The majority of people who receive a promotional product are also more likely to have a favorable impression of the company that gave it to them. So, you essentially have a beneficial branding message by simply giving away some free products.

“Promotional products allow people to see your brand, associate your brand, and recognize your brand.” writes social media manager Elle-Rose Williams. “All these things are important as the more people who become aware of your brand, the better results you will see in business and sales.”

Impact and popularity of promotional products

“Promotional products are as effective today, if not more, than 10 years ago,” says Quality Logo Products CEO Bret Bonnet. “Promotional products have always, and continue, to show strong growth.”

According to Bonnet, the industry had an impressive 15.1% five-year growth rate, with $21.3 billion in total sales in the United States. This makes it the seventh largest marketing channel in the country. “The numbers speak volumes for the industry,” adds Bonnet.

He also explains what makes promotional products so popular. He says, “They’re tangible. Consumers have learned to ignore most forms of advertising. The recall rate for promotional product is a record 85% for some products. There is something unique about receiving a physical item that you can touch, feel, and actually use, that far exceeds the impact of a TV commercial or search ad.”

Bonnet is correct about recall rate. According to the ASI study, 85% of consumers remembered advertisers who gave them a shirt or hat. A different study by Identity Works showed that 71% of tradeshow attendees remembered the name of the company that gave them a promotional product, with 76% of attendees having a favorable attitude toward that company.

In addition to being tangible, people love promotional items because they don’t cost anything to receive. But money isn’t all that matters according to contributor Gene Marks. “It’s not just the money,” writes Marks. “It’s the little act of

saying ‘I care’ and ‘Thank you for being a customer.’” He adds that a “stupid, silly little act of kindness goes a long way.”

Final word on branded promotional products

Some branded giveaway items will run you quite a bit more than simple promotional products, but you don’t need to spend big money in order to see a return. There are many promotional products you can purchase that can have just as good returns. Key chains, magnets, pens, and other useful items will remain staples of a person’s home or business and likely leave an impression on the user.

Looking at the studies, any item can have a lasting impression on consumers. And, according to Marks, it isn’t always about the money. Giving a product that costs pennies just to show you care can go a long way with a customer.

Article courtesy of

mikewoodMike Wood

Areas of Expertise: Online Marketing
Mike Wood is an online marketer, author and Wikipedia expert. He is the founder of, an online marketing agency that specializes in content writing, brand management and professional Wikipedia editing. He is a regular contributor to many online publications where he writes about business and marketing. Wood is the host of the Marketing Impact podcast and author of the books Link Juice and Wikipedia As A Marketing Tool.