ROI of Promotional Products: Are They Worth It?

Promotional products have become some of the most popular forms of advertising for brands for the past few decades. From colorful convention tote bags to glossy calendars, mugs and other drinkware that you use in the home or the office. But promotional products are not just used by businesses. Politicians, non-government organisations, and sports teams have also jumped on the bandwagon and used such products to promote their causes or teams. Everybody seems to be doing it, but can businesses regain what they had invested in these items in the long run? Is there even such a thing as return on investment when you give something away for free?

Promotional Products: Cost-Effective Means to Get Your Message Across

Promotional products, even small items such as those pens, lanyards, or calendars given away during conventions or other such events, can become expensive. That’s why some businesses and organisations shy away from using them. Some advertising managers and business owners worry that the company’s efforts and money will only be wasted on things that people will only throw away shortly after receiving them.

Measuring the return on investment gained from promotional products can also be a challenge compared to other advertising campaigns on channels, such as magazines, newspaper, and television. Apart from ROI, the effectivity of promotional products can also be measured using a metric called return on impressions. With return on impressions, the impact of the promotional products given away are not measured financially but by how the consumers responded.  

One of the ways return on impression can be measured is by the number of months the consumers held on to the promotional products. According to a report published by Advertising Specialty Institute, recipients keep the giveaways an average of seven to eight months before throwing them away. Some items, such as expensive refillable pens, durable tote bags, and calendars, even last up to a year or more. In some cases, promotional products become collector’s items. Staying power, however, largely depend on the beauty and/or usefulness of the promotional product.

Promotional products can also increase brand awareness and enhance your reputation. Return on investment increases as the brand becomes more memorable and its reputation improves thanks to better promotional products. Here you’ll find some stats to show the power of promotional products.

Which Promotional Item is Perfect For your Brand?

According to the report published by Advertising Specialty Institute, writing instruments still remain the number one promotional item for brands. Pens, pencils, and other writing instruments made up more than half of the promo items given away in recent years. It was followed by shirts, bags, calendars, and other desk or office accessories. Caps and other headwear, drinkware, flash drives, health and safety products, and outerwear made it at the bottom of the list of most in-demand promo products. Although there are some variations for the United States and some countries in Europe where the study was conducted, the results are roughly the same.


But why are these items so popular, and should your company follow suit? Pens, pencils, and other writing instruments are, for the most part, cheap and easy to mass produce. Depending on the quality of the ink (in the case of pencils, the lead) and the frequency with which the writing instruments are used, they can last for many weeks or even months. Same goes for shirts, bags, calendars, office accessories, and flash drives.

If you want to reap the benefits of the great impact of promotional items and their return on impressions for your brand, then, by all means, go for it. Whether you own a small business or a multinational that has been around for many years, your brand will surely benefit from promotional items. But it is also important to plan your advertising strategy and collaborate with a dependable promotional items provider to ensure that you will reach your goal. Choose the best promotional items that will help you get your message across to consumers and ensure that your brand becomes memorable and leaves a positive impact. Although there’s nothing wrong with mass-produced promotional items, make sure that the quality is unparalleled so you can leave a positive impression on consumers.


Adam Hansen