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Promotional Products: What Customers Really Want

Published 30 December 11 11:31 AM
Whether you're giving your best friend a birthday gift or passing out freebies at a trade show, gift givers almost always are left with a void: Does the recipient like the gift? Will it sit in the closet unused - or worse, will recipients simply throw the gift away?

The key to a successful promotional products campaign is to understand what consumers really want. In a recent study, the Advertising Specialty Institute found some pretty surprising discrepancies between companies' and consumers' attitudes about promotional products. That means many companies are giving out promotional products consumers don't want, or they're wasting money on unnecessary product upgrades that customers don't value. Here's a summary of the findings:

Name brand items are overrated. Does it matter if your logoed t-shirt is Fruit of the Loom? Apparently not. Seventy-six percent of companies thought name brand giveaways were important to consumers. Only 32.3 percent of consumers, however, felt name brands were important. Thus, companies may be spending too much money on product labels. Because of this, distributors should emphasize product quality over brand name. For instance, consumers may not care that a pen is manufactured by BIC, but they'll want to know that the pen offers smoother writing and won't leak in their pocket.

Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. The study also uncovered that men and women have significantly different views about promotional products. Males consistently rate the quality of promotional products higher than women. In addition, men are more likely to wear logoed t-shirts and caps while out running errands, whereas women are more likely to wear these items around the house or while doing yard work. Females, however, are bigger fans of promotional tote bags than males. Women own more totes than men and are more likely to use them while running errands and going to and from work then men. Thus, keep your promotional goals in mind when targeting men vs. women. If you prefer that women tout your brand all over town, consider totes. If, however, you'd prefer that they use your items around the house, go for the t-shirt.

Prestige brands command higher quality promo products. Consumers expect premium brands to advertise on exceptional promotional products, according to the study. Nearly two-thirds (62.6%) of all consumers rated the quality of promotional products higher if they were distributed by prestige brands such as BMW or Absolut. The figure is higher for males, nearly three-quarters of which rated shirt quality higher if the logo came from a prestige brand. The takeaway? The promotional product should add value to the brand and never detract from it.

Promo products are effective incentives. The study found consumers are willing to take many actions to get a freebie. The vast majority (82.5%) said they would complete a survey to get a free product. Seventy percent of consumers would stop by a trade show booth to get a giveaway, and 41 percent would "like" the company on Facebook or post a tweet on Twitter for a promotional product. In addition, 33 percent said they would buy a gift with purchase. Not surprisingly, the more time consuming an activity, the less likely people will do it for a freebie. Only 24 percent of consumers said they'd watch a webinar for a free product, and only 17 percent said they would meet with a sales rep. The study reveals that companies should go beyond trade shows and use promotional products to enhance their social media communities, promote gifts with purchase and gather consumer information via surveys. When using promotional products as incentives, companies should deemphasize meeting with sales reps.

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About this Blog

    Occupation: Media, Marketing and Merchandising
    Setting: King of Prussia, PA
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