Promotional Products Work

23 fun facts about effective advertising

Microfiber cloths, Post-It notes, and pens can be effective branding tools.

Last week, Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) held a national awareness campaign called Promotional Products Work Week. Activities and messages were aimed at businesses and those who regulate them (i.e., government). While advertising takes many forms, promo products lead the way in terms of exposure and effectiveness. Here are some interesting (and sometimes surprising) stats.

  1. Eight in 10 consumers own between one and 10 promotional products.
  2. 53% of these people use a promotional product at least once a week.
  3. Six in 10 of them keep promotional products for up to two years.
  4. Only one in five people will trash an unwanted promotional product.
  5. Before receiving a promotional product, 55% of people had done business with the advertiser.  After receiving a promotional product, 85% of people did business with the advertiser.
  6. With nearly six thousand impressions, bags generate more impressions than any other promotional product in the U.S.
  7. 31% of U.S. consumers own a promotional bag.
  8. At one-tenth of a cent, bags tie with writing instruments for the lowest cost per impression of any promotional product in the U.S.
  9. The first known promotional products – commemorative buttons – trace back to 1789 when George Washington was elected president.
  10. 53% of the time, promotional products create a more favorable impression of the advertiser.
  11. 48% of consumers would like to receive promotional products more often.
  12. Consumers hang on to promotional products for an average of 6.6 months.
  13. 69% of consumers would pick up a promotional product if they thought it useful.
  14. 63% of consumers pass along the promotional products they no longer wish to keep.
  15. 89% of consumers can recall the advertiser of a promotional product they’d received in the last two years.
  16. 91% of consumers have at least one promotional product in their kitchen, 74 percent have at least one in their workspace, 55 percent have at least one in their bedroom.
  17. 77% of consumers say a promotional product’s usefulness is the number-one reason to keep it, with health and safety products, computer products and writing instruments ranked as the most useful.
  18. Apparel is the top product category, followed by writing instruments, bags, calendars and drinkware.
  19. The first promotional product tradeshow was held in 1914 – there were 32 exhibitors.
  20. Women are more likely to have bags, writing instruments and calendars, whereas men are more likely to own shirts and caps.
  21. Logoed mugs in particular are more effective advertising than radio and television spots; 57% of people were able to recall the advertiser on a mug, versus 32% of radio and 28% of TV.
  22. Adding a promotional product to the media mix increases the effectiveness of other media by up to 44%.
  23. Promotional products draw as many as 5 times more referrals from satisfied customers than an appeal letter alone.

Are you taking advantage of these facts? APTCO can help.

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Testing Lab Trade Show Promo Is a Hit

Medallion Labs planned to set meetings with qualified prospects during a trade show. Previous shows had been lackluster; no more than 10 prospects had signed up in the previous year. New strategies were clearly needed.

A trade show micro plan was developed that included pre-show, at show and post-show activity. It began by creating two campaign messages:

  • No. 1: Sometimes it only takes one piece to pull it all together.
  • No. 2: Medallion Labs is your missing piece.

The Missing Piece in Trade ShowsImplementation: About 80 prospects in the “A” group got a four-inch-tall canister fully branded on the outside with message No. 1. Sent as a self mailer, it got attention as very lumpy mail. Inside the canister was a puzzle with a magnetic back (which would be important later) with art and message No. 2. One piece of the puzzle was left out of the canister and the puzzle asked recipients to make an appointment to get their missing piece.

Prospects in the “B” and “C” lists (about 500) received a lenticular postcard with the same messages but with no missing piece. The message was also tailored a bit to account for this difference. The mailings were sent four weeks prior to the show. About 10 days later the client began a calling campaign, using a prepared script, to all prospects on the “A” list who had not responded and to as many “B” prospects as they could reach. About a week later the client sent an email blast to those they had not heard from with the same message.

Prospects who responded promptly received an email confirmation of their scheduled appointment and a reminder five days before the trade show started. At the show, the client’s booth displayed a magnetic whiteboard with the campaign art across the top. The puzzle pieces that were left out of the canister were on the white board. This did two things:

  1. It made the puzzle pieces available for those who made appointments.
  2. People on the trade-show floor stopped to learn more.

This very simple piece stood out in a trade show designed for geeky scientist folks.

Results: From this effort, 29 scheduled appointments were made before the trade show, and numerous prospects reached out to say they couldn’t meet at the show but did set up virtual conference meetings or physical meetings outside of the trade show.

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What? Trees can do THAT? Much more than paper.

Trees are the source for paper but so much more than that.
The much-maligned tree has been subject to a lot of abuse in recent years. All those email footnotes that plead to you to not print the email, the cry of “save a tree!” Meanwhile, the endless flood of electrons shows no signs of stopping. But the efforts to save paper can be misguided. Paper is one of the earth’s most renewable resources. The paper industry realizes that trees are not an endless resource, but rather one that can be replenished. And they’re not about to harvest their primary raw ingredient without planting new trees to replace them. That certainly would be a faulty business plan.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. But they can do so much more. Science is digging deeper and deeper into trees to find some amazing things.

Well now, did that stretch your thinking a bit? Go ahead, print that brochure and mail it next time. You can be sure it won’t be lost in the email clutter. And you might just be doing something good for the planet at the same time.

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Great Tool for Awareness Campaigns

Breast cancer awareness gets a lot of attention. And rightfully so. There are a lot of people working very hard to ensure that Breast Cancer is a “Top Of Mind” issue. However, there are a ton of other causes that don’t seem to get their fair share of the limelight: Autism, Downs Syndrome, Anti-Bullying to name a few. Lots of promotional items can grab attention, but not all of them easily lead to getting someone to take action.

raising-awareness-weepulThese cute little guys, Weepuls, can take that extra step. As a donation keepsake or event reminder, Awareness Weepuls are relevant, engaging — effective. A Weepul delivers a message in a positive, interesting & memorable way. The large imprint area, 3 3/4″ x 3/4″, can deliver a lot of information – up close and personal.

Weepuls make it easy to promote all kinds of causes. How? Because we can put ANY color Awareness Ribbon in a Weepul’s hand. Remember, every cause has its color. Match up the color of your little guy with the color of the cause and you just might have a winner. And where appropriate, we have ribbon options that can further facilitate how a Weepul is used. The orange Glitter Weepul below explains.






That’s right, make it into a contest that has people coming back. So much better than a raffle ticket. You don’t want people just walking away with your gift — you want them coming back to see you again. That’s when something good happens. Choose a cause that you care about, or that your customers care about. Not sure what it might be? There are causes every month of the year. Ask us for ideas. We’ve written on ways to incorporate them into your own marketing goals in this article. In fact, it’s been a popular topic for our monthly newsletter for many years. Check out the feature articles.

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10 Steps To Design An Effective Incentive Program

  1. Establish Objectives: Identify three to five goals or objectives that are a) measurable, b) attainable and c) simple to understand and communicate.

    The right rewards make incentive programs work.

  2. Analyze the Audience: The entire workforce is most likely not the intended audience. Determine which group has the ability to impact the desired change. Will you involve the audience individually or in teams?
  3. Fact Finding and Involvement: Be aware that external factors may also impact results. Involving representatives from the participant audience in this phase will help to identify actions necessary to achieve the desired results. This is also the step where you decide which elements you will measure.
  4. Rule Structure and Budget: There are a variety of effective structures for incentive programs. Open-ended (where all who qualify can win) have benefits that differ from closed-ended (where only the top performers win), and there are places where each make sense—or you may wish to structure a program that uses a combination of both. The rules must be fair to all participants. Setting the budget requires identifying fixed costs and getting the best estimate possible for the award budget based on program expectations. An incentive professional can help you with this process. The rule of thumb for program spending is: 80 percent rewards, 10 percent promotion, five percent administration and five percent training.
  5. Select Rewards: This is another step where it is beneficial to include participant representatives in the planning process. If the employee is not motivated by the rewards you choose, the program is not going to be effective. Likewise, the reward must be commensurate with what you’re asking of the audience (i.e. working overtime on a project for six months to earn a $10 gift card is probably not going to work). Like any promotional product, an effective incentive:
    1. Is appropriate for the goal (it’s “worth it” to the participant)
    2. Reinforces the brand values of your organization
    3. Offers “trophy value”: something they’ll remember
    4. Creates excitement among participants
  6. Communicate the Program: Decide how you will announce and launch the program. Will you use social media, email or other internal announcement? Is training necessary? How, and how often, will you communicate throughout the program? How will you announce results and reward achievers?
  7. Operate and Track Results: Results measure and track outcomes; process measures and tracks actions that lead to the results. Based on your rule structure, choose two or three outcomes or process measures that will allow you to gauge the success of your program.
  8. Fulfill Rewards: The more immediate, the better. A formal presentation with peers can be as meaningful as the reward itself. Make the redemption process as easy as possible for the recipient: what information is required? Will the recipient receive order confirmations and shipping notices? How will you handle customer service?
  9. Evaluate and Measure: Include quantitative (that which can be counted) and qualitative (opinion or perception) measures—both can be valuable in evaluating program success. Document outside factors that contributed to the outcome, as well as any unintended consequences of the program. Calculate return on investment based on your budgeting process, weighing fixed and variable costs against the performance improvement or other gains achieved as a result of the program.
  10. Celebrate Success! Celebrate publicly: often the recognition is as important as the reward. Publicize internally and in appropriate external channels. Will you plan a banquet or awards dinner? Do you have support from the highest level? Will your top executive be on hand to recognize achievers?

Thanks to the Incentive Marketing Association for this information. Contact APTCO to partner with you in developing your own incentive program.

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