Paying It Forward

yellow stripesThe cost of distributing a branded giveaway can only be justified if there is a measurable ROI.  Questions that should be asked and answered range from the cost-per-impression of the item to the length of time a recipient keeps the product, and even what happens to the gift once the customer discards it.  Fortunately, the Advertising Specialty Institute performs a lengthy study every year to give us the answers to these types of questions.

Branded merchandise remains less expensive per impression than most other forms of advertising.  In fact, the only form of advertising with a lower CPI (cost-per-impression) is internet advertising. But with advertising specialties, the investment is modest, more targeted and allows for much greater level of interaction with consumers than other forms of advertising, like TV, magazine and newspaper ads.

Another benefit of using promotional merchandise to market your brand is the staying power of those products.  Some items, such as calendars, can stay around for the entire year.  Other types of merchandise, especially health and safety products, last for 4 to 6 months.  Outerwear and USB drives hang around for over 8 months, and drinkware, bags, caps, office accessories and shirts last over 6 months. And if the recipient chooses not to keep the item, 63% give it to someone else.  So you get double-duty impressions from one item.  Compared to a 30-second commercial, that’s a lot of bang for your buck!

Finally, and I believe most importantly, promotional items sway consumer opinions.  The study shows half of the people who received a branded giveaway had a more favorable opinion of the advertiser who gave it to them.  And, even more impressive, 63% of the people who received a piece of outerwear with a logo had a more favorable opinion of the company.  If we can agree that consumers who have a positive opinion of a company will be more likely to buy that firm’s products or services, then promotional items have proven to be a good investment.

As always, the exact product selected for a marketing promotion or an incentive gift definitely matters and will affect the outcome of the program.  But with careful consideration of the audience, the right promotional item at the right price will provide a solid return on the corporate investment.

The Power Of Bags

ultimate2In a recent study, the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) conducted a national survey of end buyers to determine the effectiveness of promotional products versus other advertising media, and the results highlighted the effectiveness of bags as an advertising vehicle.   Besides what we see at the retail stores, eco alternatives are increasingly used to replace paper or plastic on our grocery runs; trade show attendees often receive a lightweight bag at registration to carry all the literature and giveaways; and even the humble brown paper lunch bag and upscale wine bottle totes have gotten bag makeovers.  How do all these bags give corporate marketing departments better brand power?   See below for the highlights of that ASI study:

  • Bags were reported to be one of the most frequently-used promotional products, nearly 6 times per month – even more than shirts or caps.
  • Bags made the highest number of marketing “impressions” during their use, approximately 1,084 per month. This was more than twice the number for caps or writing instruments, and 3 times number of impressions made by shirts.
  • Even more remarkable, bags were kept a long time, nearly 7 months. That’s more than 7,200 marketing impacts over the life of the bag!
  • 88% said their reason for keeping a bag was because it was considered “useful”. The second most cited reason was its “attractiveness”.
  • 82% of recipients said they could clearly identify the advertiser who gave them the bag and 45% said they now had a “more favorable” impression of the advertiser. Best of all, 59% reported doing business with the advertiser after receiving the bag!
  • The overall “cost-per-impression” for bags averages only $0.001. That’s less expensive than traditional media such as prime time TV ($0.018), cable TV ($0.005) or national magazines ($0.045). When measured against other promotional product categories, bags scored equally as well. Bags have a lower cost-per-impression than calendars ($0.003), drinkware ($0.004), shirts ($0.005) and business accessories ($0.008).

Bags are extremely effective marketing and branding vehicles, giving companies a better return on their investment.  Few promotional products are more powerful, so consider one of the thousands of different bag styles when looking at options for your next branded giveaway.

(Image and data courtesy of Bag Makers)