By some estimates, promotional products have been around for more than six hundred years, making them one of the oldest tools in the marketer's kit. For all that's changed—online marketing, pay-per-click, ad retargeting, billboards— promotional marketing is persistent. But are they still an effective part of marketing for the manufacturing industry?
The most important question first: does promotional marketing still work? The short answer is "yes." For the longer answer, let's look at the numbers. A study by the Advertising Specialty Institute* notes that promotional products are typically kept for about eight months, with some items lasting a bit less, and others—like umbrellas—sticking around for more than a year. And upward of 60% of those products are passed along once the recipient is done with them, spreading your brand awareness even further.
There's another consideration: unlike banner ads and many other forms of digital outreach, which we tend to view with annoyance when we bother to view them at all, promotional products are a tangible reminder of your business. They build goodwill and a positive brand impression.
When and why you send a promotional item is as important—perhaps even more important—as what you send, so before we discuss the best swag, let's talk about motivation. Traditionally, the sales model follows four steps: awareness, interest, desire, and action. You don't need to have products on hand for each stage, but what you offer should have a clear reason so that the product has a certain fitness for purpose.
So, the awareness stage, for instance, might mean having something on hand to give away at trade shows, which go together with promotional products like peanut butter and jelly. Estimates vary, but between 71 and 85 percent of attendees remember companies that give them a promotional product, and about 74 percent view the company positively as a result. If a prospect expresses interest, something tangible that gives them a nudge can be helpful. And because customer retention and relationships are just as important, sending a note with a tangible thank you gift reinforces business relationships and personal connections alike.
Once you know your "why," it's much easier to find products that get your message across. The criteria are simple: choose items that are genuinely useful, that fit your purposes as well as your customers', and that won't be easy to lose, throw out, or forget. They shouldn't be trendy (does anyone still use fidget spinners?), nor should they feel flimsy or cheap. However, some of our favorites convey quality and leave a positive impression without breaking the bank.
No matter what promotional products you choose to promote your manufacturing business, they should be on brand. That means not only explicitly expressing your logo and other brand elements, but also being consistent with your brand's values and ethos. If that means a less-traditional giveaway, Cain & Company will help you find the right fit. And if you decide that a brand experience would be better, more memorable, or more sustainable than "stuff," we can help there, too. Reach out today to get started!
*Cited in Forbes, "Branded Giveaways And Other Promotional Products: Do They Still Have An Impact?"