Free merchandise makes happier, more loyal customers

Companies have noticed in recent years just how much benefit a targeted promotional giveaway can have for revenue and customer support.

Companies have noticed in recent years just how much benefit a targeted promotional giveaway can have for revenue and customer support. By giving away useful branded items, consumers are learning to associate positive outcomes and experiences with the logo and identity of the business, and are directing others to shop with them as well by increasing visibility of the company.

These facts are what has been driving more corporate investing in promotional merchandise over the last few years. With economic factors still struggling to make a full recovery, advertising specialists and marketing representatives from businesses of all sizes have been looking more into promotional items as a solution for low consumer spending, among other concerns.

Items like promotional notepads and custom logo pens are cheap to obtain and easy to distribute. This blanket approach to rewarding consumers with free items may just feel like inundation, but this method has been boosting sales and helping organizations make it through difficult financial times, making them a valuable asset that many companies want a bigger part of.

It's how you use it that counts

One of the big hurdles to promotional giveaways is the way in which companies utilize these tools. Simply obtaining promotional umbrellas and logo T-shirts is only the first step – advertising their presence is another thing completely.

Businesses such as banks and supermarkets get constant regular foot traffic, meaning smaller items with less of a visual splash are easier to give away. They can be innocuously passed from one employee to another, on to a consumer, and then allowed to travel out into the ether and be used by various and sundry third parties who will then gain interest about the business on a product. Promotional pens and notepads have been very popular with these institutions for that reason.

Getting the message across takes a little more effort for other businesses, and that's where some savvy marketers use free tools to buttress promotions. Email and social media networks are already in place and ready for use, meaning companies need only establish a presence there in order to start leveraging free advertising systems. Since these outlets don't cost any money to setup or utilize, it means companies have more to spend on other advertising ventures, while these tools provide some of the best visibility possible.

"When it comes to advertising, organizations have a greater variety of choices than ever before, from online to social, print, broadcast, billboards and promotional products," said Kevin Lyson-Tarr of 4imprint.

Why they do it

Marketing executives and advertising personnel recently indicated in a BPMA study that they intend to increase their promotional product investment strategies by about 50 percent this year. The reasoning behind this hefty spending bump is that passing free items to customers and clients increases goodwill and makes them more likely to shop with that organization in the future, according to Promotional Merchandise Online.

"Promotional merchandise is often highly effective for getting attention and driving sales," said Stephen Barker of the BPMA. "If we send items to [a client business] they pass them out to their customers who might also sign up. It builds relationships [and] targets customers effectively.""

Putting forth a bit of money for promotional products can represent a huge return on investment for businesses that choose to use this highly successful strategy as part of their customer loyalty plans. These items also work as gifts for current employees as well, making them as multifunctional as they are cost-effective.

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