It’s fair to say this is easily the question I most frequently get asked. I do my best to get folk to look at this question another way – what they should be asking me is what’s the most ‘effective’ promotional gift for my (insert specific nature of business here) business, together with ‘where and how and to whom’ the promotional gift is going to be used. However, I get asked the question SO much, maybe it’s time to come clean, maybe it’s time to just tell it how it is. Working in the business of promotional gifts, over a period of time, a statistical picture emerges showing you the trends in purchases, which when assessed gives an interesting and consistent picture of the types of promotional gifts that are being purchased.
So, in true beauty pageant style – in reverse order – the results for the Top Ten Promotional Gifts are as follows:
Increasingly popular at ‘events’ and even for use in the office. There’s loads to choose from, in all kinds of funky colours – is there a colour to match your brand identity? Within the mix you’ll find some ‘serious’ water bottles and others intended as ‘fun’ items but they all have their role to play. Perfect for associating your company or service with ‘water’ or hydration – or simply to be seen by folk interested in their own health and well being.
USB Memory Sticks
You’re absolutely spoilt for choice with this promotional gift, and that’s just for the actual device/holder – when the time comes to purchasing a USB Memory Stick, you’ve also got to decide on what size ‘chip’ or how much memory you require? This is a gift that pretty much appeals to all market sectors – if you’ve got a computer, you’ll appreciate a gift of one of these.
Diaries and Calendars
It’s a common misconception that this area is on the decline. Yes, lots of folk use their computers or hand-held devices to manage their diaries, but there’s still plenty of people that appreciate a good old fashioned pen and paper. From pocket diaries to desk diaries to diary organisers and calendars there’s something for everyone and it’s no longer a case of “do you want it in black, blue or red”? In many cases there’s a wonderful range of colours – maybe one to match your brand identity? Think about it – if you get this right, you’ve got a promotional gift that’ll be used for a whole year!!
You could be forgiven for thinking that by their very name these printed folders are only any use for conferences, and you’d be wrong!! In fact, most of our clients who purchase these use them for anything but conferences. Perfect for daily use by your own people, for handing out notes and files at training seminars, or even for use as a quality business gift, one that will be used time and time again.
Whilst this isn’t a category of promotional gift that has a long shelf life (no pun intended), after all, once they’ve been consumed, they’re gone, perhaps forgotten, and with them so has your message – they do have their part to play. Unlike the other items in our Top Ten Promotional Gifts, where the item may be used for weeks, months and even years, constantly reminding the recipient of your brand and message, confectionery, by it’s very nature, will soon be gone – but that’s where it’s POWER lies. Promotional gifts appeal to your customers ‘senses’, and this one will appeal to their sense of ‘taste’ in a way that the other items simply can’t. Perfect for using as a promotional giveaway at trade shows or exhibitions, they also have their use in the training room.
Printed and Personalised coffee mugs are a brilliant promotional gift, and today, more than ever, you have so much choice. The most popular style of promotional coffee mug is the earthenware or ceramic mug. Perfect for everyday use and with hundreds of styles and shapes and colours to select from. Increasingly we are seeing a trend towards Travel Mugs, or Thermal Mugs – great gifts for folk on the move or in the car. Don’t forget, if your style requires it, you can even get Bone China promotional coffee mugs!!
You’ll be spoilt for choice in this category. There’s just so much choice. The ever-popular and potentially low-cost printed T-Shirts continue to sell well, but increasingly folk are trading up to the more stylish Polo Shirt, and that usually means they’ll be embroidered as opposed to printed. Embroidery opens up all kinds of possibilities in the Promotional Gifts market, as once the image has been set-up and created, it’s easy to simply apply it to a massive range of garments. Traditionally, when ‘printing’ you need to print as many garments as you can to keep the costs low, whereas embroidery opens up the possibilities of having very low quantities across a much broader range of garments. Whether you decide to go with a budget garment, or upgrade to executive, branded clothing is certainly a powerful promotional gift.
It’s hardly surprising that this category should feature in the top three promotional gifts, there’s just so many products to choose from. Ranging from the sublime, (Printed Paperclips), to the functional (Printed Rulers), to the ridiculous (windscreen wipers for computer screens) – there’s something for everyone, and more importantly, every budget. This is a popular category as it’s mostly ‘budget driven’, but remember, not everything that’s cheap is nasty – I’ve many examples of these low-cost promotional gifts bringing a powerful ROI to my clients.
Pens and Pencils
Often cited as the Number One Promotional Gift, this category regularly features as number two. There’s no doubt it’s powerful as we all use pens and pencils, so getting your name onto one, and then into the hands of your potential customers is such a simple way to make sure your brand/service is remembered. There’s something for everyone in this category, with Plastic Pens being the single most popular sub-category. Whilst we all love a quality Metal Pen, sometimes the budget just wont allow it to happen!! Don’t forget the Novelty Pens section – have fun with your pens and bring a smile to your customers faces.
Consistently coming in at Number One – Printed Bags have a multitude of uses as a promotional gift. Ranging from the disposable and simple carrier bag to the type of bag that will be kept and used for years to come – shopper bags, laptop bags, sports bags, gym bags, messenger bags, golf bags, etc, etc.
So there you have it, the Top Ten Promotional Gifts – these are the ones that folk are purchasing, and they consistently purchase them because they WORK!!
What promotional gift has worked for you and why?
Research by Sourcing City – January 2012