Why the Best Branded Giveaways Are on Topic

What’s one of the trendiest giveaways? From my point of view, it’s the bottle opener. That’s a great promotional item – if you’re a brewer. The person takes it home, puts it in a drawer and pulls it out to open a bottle. When they’re out of beer, they’ll think of you! Does a bottle opener make sense, though, if your client needs to be reminded of you at work rather than at home, and needs to associate you with something other than drinking?

What I’m about to say could be either a “duh” or an “a-ha” moment – giving away something for free is not what promotes your business, it’s the strategically chosen promotional item itself.

Make Your Promotional Item Topical and Give It Legs

The Zika virus is a newsworthy subject, that has been in the media every day this past summer. This current event was predominant when we were looking for branded product ideas for our own marketing. So we branded small bottles of environmentally friendly insect repellent with our Marstudio information and handed them out at a tradeshow. Our marketing strategy was to test the idea before promoting it to Marstudio clients, many of whom are doctors or medical companies. The tradeshow response was extremely positive.

After the tradeshow, we sent out an email to clients and potential clients in the medical field, demonstrating our success with the Marstudio branded insect repellent. We also suggested the promotional item to them as an idea that would resonate with their clients.

That gave the idea legs (and it kept walking). We got a great response from that first outreach, and expect the next generation (our clients’ clients) to be interested in that particular marketing tool as well.

In fact, one of our clients MacArthur Medical Center used the insect repellent as a promotional giveaway, and it won a 2016 MarCom Platinum Award for “Marketing Specialty Item.”

Look at the Real Value and Don’t Cheap Out

Choose a promotional product that a customer uses over and over again, and you begin to see the value of promotional giveaways. Every time people use it, they’re reminded of you.

Let’s say you’re a CPA. You want to hand out branded ballpoint pens. According to the Bic® official website, their ballpoint pen can cover up to two miles of writing. A Reddit forum parsed that out to 78,000 words at an average of 5 letters a word. If your customer hand-writes one 500-word page a day, that pen will be around for 156 days. Using a media measurement, that’s 156 impressions (156 times that they’ve seen your name).

Now calculate ROI. With the cost of good quality imprinted pens in the $1.00 range per unit when bought in bulk, that’s $0.006 per impression (1.00/156). Pretty good deal!

Now, take it a step further. Imagine how many impressions you would get if you gave that pen to someone who has interactions with people on a regular basis – for example, a waiter, who has patrons signing receipts all day.

How do I know what promotional item to brand?

How about promotional lip balm if you’re a speakers’ bureau? Or branded sticky notes for any business that wants its name perpetually in front of the client while they work. For B2B promotional items, pick a product that stays at the office rather than one that will end up at home.

The holidays are just around the corner. If you’re contemplating branded promotional items for customers, make your giveaway specific and relevant to the nature of your business. A USB drive from a wine company doesn’t make much sense, but from an anti-virus software company it does. When branded promotional items are done right, they are a thoughtful and impactful part of your marketing strategy.

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