This month, Promotional Products Association International hosted its annual Expo in Las Vegas. The event features more than 12,000 distributors of promotional products aimed at helping businesses advertise their products and services.
You’ve likely seen plenty of promotional products through the years, from logo t-shirts to pens and keychains. But the industry is adapting to offer more personalized items that you can use for corporate gifting, employee engagement, or unique visitor experiences.
Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI President and CEO said in an email interview with Small Business Trends, “For most, the first things that come to mind when they hear the term promotional product are generally a branded pen or keychain. However, in recent years the promotional products industry has expanded that train of thought to include a variety of new product offerings and uses.”
Coolest Promotional Products
Here are some of the most popular promotional product categories of the moment, from classic gift items to high tech assets you can use to really stand out.
Personalized Corporate Gifts
According to Bellantone, corporate gifting is one of the most popular categories for promotional products today. When creating items for specific clients, you might go beyond the basic logo goods and also include a monogram or some kind of personalization that’s specific to the recipient. This can include clothing, mugs, or basically any gifts you might buy for a client or partner.
Bellantone says that employee engagement is another major area where promotional products can help. A simple award or token that is personalized to specific members of your team can let them know that their work is appreciated and help to promote engagement company-wide.
Practical Desk Accessories
Practical items are also popular, especially B2B type items that could work for both employees or business clients. Desk accessories, calendars, USB drives or briefcases fall into this category. You could also opt for industry-specific items like medical bags or first aid kits.
Trade Show Bags
If you’re giving away items at trade shows, it doesn’t get more practical than a bag. This may not be the most innovative item, but its utility is fairly timeless. People need places to carry all of their other items. And a bag also ensures that more people will see your logo as you walk around the venue.
Not all promotional products need to be physical in nature. Promotional product providers are also finding ways to integrate NFC (near-field communication) technology into promotions. For example, you could design custom stickers or labels that customers can access on their devices when they’re in your store or at your trade show booth. They can then use those items on photos or social media posts to share their experience with others and spread the word about your brand.
According to Bellantone, some providers are also finding ways to work AR (augmented reality) technology into their promotions. With this, you could create a Pokemon Go-style trade show game or allow visitors to create branded augmented images using your technology. For example, if you’re at a home goods trade show, you could use the technology to create a virtual showroom that will create the illusion they’re not at a tiny trade show booth.
For me personally, I like to get promotional items that I can actually use in my daily life. And then I see their brand over and over again. So avoid the cheap gimmicky stuff.
Promotional products can actually give your business an extra income stream.
Great article and would agree with what Robert has said
For a small business owner like myself the MPO on most of the sites that I have checked out are just illogical for me to invest in at this time. I mean really, what am I supposed to do with 5,000 lanyards or 100,000 ink pens? I need to find an affordable and easy-to-use option for small batch runs or individual on demand printing, that doesn’t have a set-up fee. I am currently using Redbubble.com and moo.com but they are both on the expensive side I’m trying to deviate from. For example if a buyer purchased a pair of shoes for over $500 I will design a graphic personalised to their interests then create a drawstring backpack for men or tote bag for women, I put the shoes in the bag with a handwritten thank you note and ship it out. This costs $30 which is fine if I’m making a nice profit margin, but what about the buyers who just get a $10 necklace? I want to offer them something that surprises and delights as well. Even something as simple as a sticker will help with brand recollection when they thinking about purchasing again next time. So is there any place online or in store that has this kind of marketing tools at an affordable price or am I being unrealistic in my expectations?