How to Get the Best Out of Promotional Gifts

Promotional gifts are those items including mugs or pens that are made with the logo or name of the company on them. These are also known in other names such as swag, merchandise, branded products, or promo goods. 

These gifts are used for promoting the company, as their name suggests, and these can given away in the form of promotional items to boost brand awareness or sold off to loyal consumers. Distributed for free or at very little cost and offering brands with numerous exciting benefits, promotional products are among the most budget-friendly strategies for marketing that a business can ever use.

Do Promotional Products Really Work?

A 2016 study looked into the effectiveness of using branded swag. It was discovered that many people tend to keep promotional items for an average of 8 months that can extend the lifespan of your gift far beyond other marketing tactics like email marketing or PPC ads.   

Having said this, the actual time that the product is retained will always depend on the specific product. For instance, consumers typically use umbrellas for up to 14 months while hats are often used for only 7 months.

Woman shirt
Woman shirt can be an promotional gifts

The same study also revealed that these consumers usually become the brand’s valuable ambassadors, with more than half of consumers turning over their merchandise to other people once they have finished using them.

To prove that promo goods extend brand awareness, the study revealed that majority of consumers remembered those brands that gave them a hat or shirt. On the other hand, another study found out that most of the recipients of promotional gifts recall the name of the product’s advertiser while others do business with the product’s advertiser, and some simply enjoy receiving these items, yet another proof that promotional items really work.

Short History of Promotional Items

Commemorative buttons were United States’ first ever known promotional items that date back to the 1789 election of George Washington. 

Although it was not until the later part of 19tht century when an organized industry was formed, there were many instances when wooden specialties, rulers, and calendars were used as promotional items during the early 19th century. 

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History of Promotional Products

Jasper Meek, a printer from Coshocton, Ohio, is regarded as the industry’s originator. He was the one who convinced a local shoe store to supply local schools with branded book bags with imprinted logo on the design. Jasper, together with Henry Beach, a local competitor, soon started to resell branded promotional items like calendars, fans, and marble bags. 

Popular Types of Promotional Items 

There is an almost infinite list of products that could be branded with the logo or name of the company for promotional purposes. Although there are more common and popular items like pens, mugs, mouse pads, and T-shirts, there is also room for creativity when deciding on the items to brand. Here are some other products that can be used for promoting your company or brand.

Promotional gifts - pen
Pens are popular promotional gifts


Ideal for indoor or outdoor use, tumblers, mugs, glassware, and cups are ideal handheld promotional tools. 

Sticky Notes and Journals 

Everyone loves to take notes so why not make sure that your customers have their notes with them while keeping your company on top of their mind?


Shades are a must-have when summer months arrive. See to it that your customers always look their best with a pair of branded sunglasses that provide a unique and fun avenue to promote your business. 

Tote Bags 

Totes are also affectionately referred to as swag bags and are the ideal branding channels since their spacious white space gives more than enough room to accommodate your logo. Their size also makes them the best storage for the rest of the branded promotional gifts you might have. 

Writing Instruments

Pens are items that you can never go wrong with if you are looking for something to add your logo to. Pens are used on a daily basis, whether at home or at work.

Best Ways to Use Your Promotional Products

Promotional products are used globally as the best giveaway tools. Even though brand awareness is considered as the most common use for these promotional goods, you can also use them as sales tool, to reward employees, or for promoting a cause for nonprofits. There are a lot of ways to effectively use your merchandise and some of them are the following:

Brand Store 

Most brands, particularly in the industry of brewing, sell their promo goods and merchandise through an ecommerce store or shop-front. This not only helps the brand in covering the costs of promotional  items as this also offers the double advantage of increasing brand awareness among the consumers using the goods. 

Corporate Gifts 

Are you running out of ideas what to give to your valued clients? Promotional items bear your identity and logo can be the ideal gift to reinforce brand awareness. In addition, these are also great competitor marketing tools. 

Employee Gifts 

Promotional items could also be used to on board new employees or as yearly corporate gifts for your employees. These marketing tools are not only cost effective since they can also help establish retention and loyalty among employees. 


High quality memorabilia can serve as the event’s tangible reminders for the participants. 


No one can say no to free gifts. If you give your customers with reward, they will also return you in return through sharing your brand with family and friends every time they use your mug, tote bag, sunglasses, or pen. Branded giveaways are ideal tools for public relations.   

Trade Shows and Conferences 

Promotional items can also be used at trade shows and conferences to drive more traffic to the booth or reward the attendees for their patronage. If there are thousands of attendees in an event, you can be sure that your merchandise packs will be a big hit.  

Choose your promotional gifts with care and use them to the fullest to your advantage!

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