Considering a new marketing campaign to push your brand out into the world? One method that we think is often overlooked and arguably underrated is the use of promotional products, which can be in the form of company-branded merchandise such as pens and reusable water bottles or one of the actual products that your company currently sells. These promotional products, though most people might not think much of them, are surprisingly effective at helping to attract new customers as well as secure brand loyalty among existing ones. On top of that, the general simplicity of the concept (give people products) makes promotional products a very flexible marketing method, working great either as a standalone program or as part of a broader campaign. For example, you can use promotional products to increase the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns.
Now, you may have already seen quite a few popular brands and companies using promotional products in their marketing campaigns before, and knowing this, you might wonder why the idea is, as we say, underrated. The fact of the matter is that, although large or otherwise well-known companies do these sorts of marketing campaigns often, the same cannot be said for smaller businesses. More often than not you might see these smaller businesses sticking to traditional print media for their advertising like flyers, posters, and the like, and tend to avoid promotional products as they may seem too expensive or too risky on the surface.
This, however, is not true. Compared to other methods like print, radio, and TV ads, marketing campaigns based around promotional products are surprisingly effective relative to its price, which is the main reason why we believe promotional products are underrated marketing tools. As the title of this article implies, this effectiveness can be quantified using what is known as ROI, which will be the focal point of our discussion today.
In the context of marketing campaigns, the ROI acronym can actually refer to two slightly different yet related terms: Return on Investment and Return on Impressions. These two terms are similar to each other in that they are both metrics for measuring the efficiency of a marketing campaign, or their effectiveness relative to their cost.
Return on Investment
When most people think of ROI, they are probably thinking of Return on Investment, as the term is used quite often throughout the areas of business and finance. Return on Investment on its own actually has two common definitions, with one of them being the time it takes for a business investment to earn back its starting capital and start earning true profit. In our case, however, Return on Investment refers to the amount of profit that a certain marketing campaign generates relative to how much money you spent launching that campaign. In other words, it shows you how much of your initial investment was made back as profit.
Now, let’s put this idea into perspective with an example. Let’s say we had a small business that started a marketing campaign based around promotional products. Putting together the costs of the materials, distribution, and other expenses, our total investment in this campaign turned out to be $500 dollars. After gathering data from the results of that campaign, we found that we generated about $550 in revenue from people who bought our products after seeing or participating in our campaign. To find the ROI of our campaign, then, we will find the profit gained from that campaign by subtracting the cost of investment from our revenue (which in our example is $50), then dividing that number by our cost of investment. This will result in a value of 0.1, which we can multiply by 100 to get 10 percent. To summarise, we gained 10 percent of our initial investment back as profit thanks to our advertising campaign.
Return on Impressions
As we’ve mentioned earlier, Return on Impressions is similar to Return on Investment in that they both measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, but Return on Impressions does not really prioritise monetary gain. Instead, this type of ROI measures the amount of “impressions” generated by your marketing campaign. These impressions can be in the form of likes, shares, mentions of your company, or any buzz in general that connects back to your brand because of the promotional products you gave away. With money out of the picture, then, one might be inclined to think that return on impressions is just a more optimistic way to look at money lost from a marketing campaign. However, that is not really the case most of the time.
Why Promotional Products?
We have stated earlier that promotional product giveaways are an underrated marketing method for smaller businesses because they tend to have a pretty solid ROI. The main reason for this is that promotional products in general are pretty cost-effective. Say for example, you want to use a reusable water bottle as your promotional item. These items, when purchased in bulk, will usually cost anywhere between 3 and 5 dollars a piece (or even lower if you order in larger quantities). Distribute these to 100, 500, or even a thousand people and you have all of these new potential customers who are now aware of your brand and its products or services. If you want to pinch a few more pennies, you can also lift a couple of units of your own products then set it up for a raffle-based giveaway. Either way, you won’t end up spending too much on your marketing campaign, which helps maximise your return on investment. On top of that, useful items like pens or reusable bottles tend to be, for lack of a better word, useful to new and existing customers. This makes it more likely for them to use your giveaway items in their day to day lives, maintaining their exposure to your brand. In addition, larger items like tote bags are a lot more visible to passersby, so people using them effectively become walking advertisements for your brand at no additional cost to you.