Sourcing OK

The Qualities of Promotional Products

The Qualities of Promotional Products

Qualities of Promotional Products

Promotional merchandise is usually well perceived; making the customer, regardless of being an end-user or business, feel appreciated. Companies use it for various reasons, e.g. for marketing, to increase brand awareness or deepen customer/client relationship. The British Promotional Merchandise Association (bpma) conducted a study on this and other PM related questions where they found out that 60.1 % of the participants feel positive reactions when exposed to promotional merchandise and 50.7 % have an actual incentive to take action.


bpma logo on white background


This is the reason why many companies have dived into the world of promotional merchandise. There are those however, which are not quite sure if there is any merit in promotional products and what to consider when going for them. To help companies, struggling with these questions, along with the BPMA, the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) also has conducted a study on different aspects regarding promotional merchandise. Both named certain qualities a promotional product should have, in order to be a successful marketing tool. The following four qualities, in our opinion, are the ones you should keep an eye on the most!

The first quality an item has to possess is usefulness. According to the bpma, the three most useful products are the mug, the classical branded pen and the USB stick, and the ones, which are actually being kept the longest, are the USB stick and the mug. This is understandable as these items are really handy and come into use everyday. The more useful a product is the more often it is taken out of its shelf. This in turn builds the road to increased brand exposure, which in turn elevates brand awareness. So if increased brand exposure is your goal, keep an eye on usefulness.


road signs with useless and useful write with clear blue sky background

The second quality should be perceived value. Many times a promotional product looks cheap, lacks perceived value and is just ignored by the recipient. In one of their studies the PPAI said that products, which were perceived to be of higher value, have been recognised as a ‘thank you’ gift from the companies to their customers rather than just an advertising gimmick, which was usually attributed to low value products. Relatively low value products also did not seem to generate much of a reaction from the recipients while high quality and high value products did. So, although promotional products cannot always be the best quality due to the cost factor, you should invest a little bit more, for the item to look more expensive than it actually is.


goldens scale with value on the left and cost on the right


The more unique your mug or pen is, the better! Customers do not only appreciate useful items but also very special and very well designed ones. According to the study of the PPAI, one of the very important factors is the attractiveness of the product, which basically translates to: the cooler the better! This should give you a reason to opt for the creative option rather than for the generic one.


blue mug made of legos


While the PPAI study suggests that many did not care if the product was branded, almost the same number of people asked (45 %), said that they prefer to receive branded products because it would give them an idea of the product’s value. So do brand your product visibly without any fear of it being perceived as pure marketing!

Judging from the findings made in both studies, customers value usefulness, value and attractiveness. This makes sense as people usually value things more if they are not just space wasters. Attractiveness makes the product kind to the eye while perceived value makes the consumer feel appreciated. Just by considering these small characteristics, you can improve brand awareness or exposure immensely. If this has convinced you to give out promotional merchandise on your next event, we will try our best to advise you. Regardless of bespoke or a simpler approach we will help you out!

Currently an intern at Sourcing OK, Olga has been studying International Business both in Germany at the Berlin School of Economics and Law in England at the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge for the past two years. Originally from Russia, she has been living in Germany most of her live and recently moved to England for studies.