Over the past several weeks, we’ve been exploring recent trends that are influencing how businesses are spending their marketing budgets these days, first introduced in a blog post on the PPAI Expo back in January. Those trends include an industry-wide move towards more conscious consumerism as well as a growing preference for buying promotional items based on well-known retail brands.
Today we are looking at the third and final trend: a distinct bias toward quality over quantity when it comes to promotional item giveaways.
At PPAI, the message was unmistakable: unless the goal is to get the greatest number of items for the lowest possible price, in the long run, it pays to buy high-quality promotional products as giveaways. It’s better for the customer, better for the brand, and better for the business.
The realities and economics of the current environment have played a significant role in this shift. While events are coming back in a big way after COVID-19, in-person attendance is actually down compared to pre-pandemic years. But overall participation is strong, thanks in large part to virtual events—a concept that was perfected out of necessity during the lockdown.
In order to maximize attendance, many companies now offer hybrid events that include both in-person and virtual components. Recent studies have found that those interested in networking with peers and seeking a more hands-on experience will attend in person while those interested more in keynote speeches and breakout sessions will choose to attend online.
Consequently, companies no longer have to provide promotional branded items for the masses—instead, they can produce fewer high-quality items without dramatically impacting the budget. That allows them to be a little more selective about what they produce and who receives them.
Quality Products Lead to a Quality Experience
The logic behind quality over quantity is clear. But are there any tangible benefits to this approach? Actually, there are a few.
First and foremost, high-quality products represent your brand well. Since the goal is to attract new business, a favorable impression is paramount. Cheap items that will quickly break or get tossed do your brand no good and could in fact do some damage if the recipient subconsciously associates that poor quality giveaway with the products you’re selling. High-quality products are actually a wise investment in your brand, and selectively sharing those items with better qualified prospects will theoretically lead to more business.
Quality = Value
Second, higher quality items have more perceived value and are used more, for much longer, than inexpensive giveaways. A 2016 survey of 100,000 consumers conducted by the Advertising Specialty Institute found that respondents kept promotional items, such as those collected at trade shows, an average of seven months. Higher quality and more useful items such as umbrellas (14 months), mobile power banks and calendars (12 months), and fleece outerwear (nine months) stuck around the longest, resulting in greater brand awareness for the sponsoring company. Items such as t-shirts, writing instruments, and health and safety products occupied the low end of the survey, lasting about six months.
In the same survey, 42% of respondents nationwide had a more favorable opinion of an advertiser if the branded product they received is environmentally friendly, while 53% had a more favorable opinion of the advertiser if the item was made in the U.S. While “environmentally friendly” and “made in the U.S.A” are not necessarily easy on the budget, they do suggest a superior level of quality, and your business benefits from that perception.
More Bang for your Buck
Finally—and this one is a little harder to track—higher-quality promotional items arguably deliver a greater return on investment when cost and quantities are factored in.
Say you have a $1,000 promotional budget for an event. That money could buy you 1,000 branded pens or 100 branded umbrellas. While the pens would increase the number of impressions at the event, they are unlikely to influence a big sale. By reserving the more expensive—and useful—umbrellas for qualified prospects, you increase the likelihood that those interactions will lead to a sale. And one deal more than covers the budget.
The Final Analysis
Simply put, while going with quantity will get more of your branded logo items in people’s hands, quality products will stay in their hands much longer. And because higher-quality products are perceived as more useful and valuable, spending your budget dollars on items that will actually be used rather than thrown away is a much wiser investment. The more a recipient uses the item, the more positive exposure the product will get—and that’s good for your brand.
To learn how OnFulfillment can help you maximize your promotional item budget, please visit click the button below and schedule a meeting. We’ll be happy to help.