Prospective clients ask this question a lot: “Are promotional products worth the cost?” Of course, we’re a bit biased, given our line of work, but it’s a good question. Even in good times, smart businesspeople don’t spend money on advertising if it’s not going to generate a return. So that begs the question, do promotional products actually work? Over 35 years in the business have taught us a few things, keep reading for more information.

How Much Do Promotional Products Cost?

Most business decisions start with a question of cost. Advertising costs are especially important to analyze in order to maximize a return on investment. Spending $200 and not generating a single lead is a bad investment. Thankfully promotional products are actually very flexible from a cost perspective. Most promotional product suppliers can accommodate various budgets. Whether your budget is $100 or $1,000 changes are there’s a product for your needs. Customized T-shirts can be surprisingly affordable advertising solutions when ordered in bulk. Other products like mugs or totes can be ordered in the hundreds for minimal costs.

For some businesses it may be worth investing more money into fewer, higher-quality products. If you’re going to be attending a high-stakes convention with dozens of industry leaders in attendance, plain mugs with your company logo might not cut it anymore. Options like high-quality Nike polos embroidered with your logo or steel Yeti tumblers can make a big impact in a sea of cheap customized pens. The initial investment might be a bit higher, but you can use it to target more specifically and up the ‘wow’ factor.

What’s the Return on Investment?

Once cost and products have been considered, the tricky part is gauging how effective a promotional product is as an advertising tool. This is probably the place where promotional products start to show a unique advantage. Emarketer estimated that companies would spend over $129 billion on digital advertising alone in 2019. Traditionally, the understanding is that if you see an ad, and then buy that product or service at some point, the ad was successful. Advertising repetition is another method used to help increase the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. You may not remember a company’s slogan the first time you hear it, but by the 4th or 5th time you’ve seen the ad it’s probably embedded itself in your brain. Advertisers are banking on this memorization to get you to make a purchase, even low-visibility airtime is expensive, especially if your commercial is running for months.

Here’s where we think promotional products beat out other advertising methods, longevity. A customized T-shirt can last for years and years with no repeat investment. Chances are you or someone you know still has a T-shirt from a grand opening or a concert from years ago. Every time you wear that shirt in public, you’re effectively advertising that business. If that shirt got you to make 1 purchase from that business, that probably paid for the cost of that shirt. Did someone see you wearing that shirt and make a purchase? They probably paid for the cost of that shirt. If you both made a purchase? That shirt just made a profit.

How Do I Pick the Right Product?

The key is to pick a product that makes sense for what and how you’re trying to advertise. Different businesses are going to need different products, and different events are going to need different products. Sometimes the ‘best value’ for your budget might not be the right thing for the job. Stationary and pencils are extremely cheap, and you can potentially purchase thousands of them for the same price as a few shirts, so from a cost-to-quantity perspective they’re amazing value. However those might be better for in-office use to help with your branding than for promoting your business.  If you’re looking to advertise long-term, you’re better off looking into more durable promotional products.

We’ve found that the best promotional products are ones that customers are going to keep around. As mentioned above, products like T-shirts and tumblers can last for months or even years, and people tend to keep them around the house. Even if that product doesn’t get used every single day, the fact that the product is around the house keeps your business in the customer’s mind. Products like pens and mugs aren’t the most glamorous products out there but they stay in the customer’s house for years and that’s what matters. Collect every pen in your house and there’s an almost 100% chance that at least 1 of those pens has some company’s logo on it.

Conclusion: Yes, Promotional Products are Worth It

As we’ve established above, promotional products have a variety of advantages that make them a great advertising tool. Promotional products are flexible, so you can stretch your marketing budget as far as possible. They’ve got variety, no matter what product you’re thinking of, there’s probably a way to get your logo on it. Finally, they create lasting marketing opportunities. Your branded products are going to out in public, putting your name in people’s heads free of charge. If you’re thinking of advertising with promotional products, contact Free Style Promotions today or give us a call at 414.543.4443. We have the experience and connections to help find the perfect product for your marketing needs.