What is Promotional Product Advertising? Here’s Your Answer…

November 29, 2018

If you’re a business owner or marketing professional, it’s likely that from time to time, you run into the stage where you’re brainstorming on:


  • How can I attract more new customers?
  • How can I keep the current customers excited to buy again?
  • How can I attract new talent to our organization?
  • or, how can we keep talented people within the organization?


When you’re in your brainstorm and research phases, you’ll probably see several advertising options that help to solve these issues: Facebook ads, Google Ads, Bing Ads, Billboards, PR, promotional products, and several other things.  If you’ve never used or heard the term “promotional product advertising”, it’s likely that when you see this solution, it could completely confuse you, and you’d be asking “What is promotional product advertising?”.


That’s where this article will help.


  • I’ll answer the question, “What is promotional product advertising?”
  • I’ll share some stats and facts so you’ll know how it compares to other forms of advertising
  • and, I’ll give you some examples of promotional product advertising campaigns


On a side note…If you’re interested in using promotional product advertising within your organization, give us a call at (210)564-7749 or leave your information here. We’d love to help you achieve your sales goals using custom promo products!

Now, let’s get onto the real meat and potatoes…


A Little History


Promotional product is said to date back to the Babylonian era, but I’d guess it might go further back than that.  Items like coins, shields, and weaponry were custom engraved to build awareness of the Babylonian empire.  Custom products grew to be well known ways to build awareness of a powerful empire, but it took centuries before it became a form of advertisement for businesses as well.


With the invention of printing technologies came many more opportunities to advertise and to print advertising messages on many different items.  Now, promotional products range from McDonald’s Happy Meal toys to the everyday business card, and many things in between.


What is Promotional Product Advertising?


According to MBASKool.com, a “Promotional Product” is:


Any product or item which is given for the promotion of a company or any event and the like is called a promotional product. They usually carry the name, logo, tagline or message of a company or an event. They are intended to promote that particular activity by means of advertising.

When a promotional product is used for advertising, it is strategically placed so that it gets:


  • Impressions
  • Engagement
  • and Sales for the Advertising Business


As a result, promotional products can be used as an alternative (or in conjunction) with other forms of advertising like Facebook, Google, PR, Billboards, or others.  Promotional product advertising is a very effective marketing tactic to add into a marketing plan.


Why Use Promotional Product Advertising vs. Other Forms of Advertising?


Each form of advertising has its pros and cons, but there are some mighty good reasons to consider promotional product advertising. Let me tell you a few…


  • Customers appreciate promo items in comparison to other forms of advertising
  • Promo items can give you a higher # of impressions for the cost in comparison to other forms of advertising
  • Recipients of promo items typically have a favorable view of advertisers


Some Stats to Show Trends of Promotional Product Advertising vs. Other Forms


According to studies done by the Promotional Product Association International (PPAI)


1. Promotional Products are ranked #3 for fastest growth behind internet ads and mobile ads.

what is promotional product advertising

(Image Source: PPAI)

In 2015, businesses spent $20.8 billion dollars on custom promo items, they held a 7% market share, and the sales increased by 4%.


2. Promotional Products are discarded much less than other forms of advertising. In fact, 81% of people keep promo products more than 1 year, and 40% keep them more than 6 years!


what is promotional product advertising

Sometimes, people don’t make a buying decision right away.  With some forms of advertising, it might be hard for a prospect to remember your company info if they don’t make an immediate buying decision, but promotional products can be kept for when the information is needed.


3. Promotional products are the most effective advertising medium to reach people of all ages.


what is promotional product advertising

Since promotional products are not contingent on any technology, you don’t have to worry about compatibility, or whether the target audience is smart phone users, magazine readers, or what type of computer they have.  You can give promotional products to all age ranges and people technology savvy or not.


4. Promotional Products increase the customer recall and reaction to your brand = MORE SALES!

promotional product advertising

People remember brands and buy from brands they trust. Promotional products help to build rapport, increase consumer brand recognition, and make them more prone to buy!


Final Words answering “What is Promotional Product Advertising?”


The goal of this article was to explain “What is promotional product advertising?”.  Hopefully the information here gives you a good explanation, and begins to answer your questions about this great form of advertising.  Here’s some other resources for you to read for more information…


Other Articles I’ve Written on Promotional Product Advertising:


Want a Free Consultation on Promotional Product Advertising?  Call (210)564-7749 Now.


If you’re trying to decide if promotional product advertising is a good fit for your campaign, give us a call and we’ll schedule a free consultation with a marketing specialist for you.


Now, it’s Your Turn…


Have you tried promotional product advertising? Have you seen it used before? What are your thoughts on it? Leave your comments and questions below.

12 Replies to “What is Promotional Product Advertising? Here’s Your Answer…”

  1. Hi Tiffany,

    As a student of Marketing Management I found your post very insightful. Your explanation on this marketing strategy was very easy to understand. 

    You’ve shared some cool data on Promotional Product Advertising that I was not aware of. 

    A question: Do you think promotional products is a viable marketing strategy for small businesses or is this a better strategy for bigger companies?

    Thanks in advance.



    1. Great question Miguel! I personally started using promotional product advertising early in my startup phase, and I find whenever I have them, people are eager to come and talk about business. I think it’s been a great method for exposing my business in a consumer-appealing way.  I started my business on a bootstrap budget; portioned from savings from a middle class household after caring for a young family of 4–a humble-size budget.  Using promotional product advertising has worked for two small budget startups I’ve been closely a part of: my husband’s business and my own.

      On the other hand, big companies spend tens of thousands on promotional product advertising. Look at universities for example…they buy hoodies, jerseys, mugs, cups, flags, banners, and so much more. Promotional product advertising can be scaled to work for small budgets and up to very large budgets.

  2. This was a good article on something I knew nothing about before I read the article, but come to think about it when I was in my farther’s medical practice there were notebooks and sticky notes with the name of pharmaceuticals printed on it. So now I know what it is and it makes sense, when someone is in the possession of an item that has the name of a company that probably makes the product, then the person will probably call or visit that business if the need to buy something from the person. 

    1. You’re absolutely right, David! Can you imagine how much ROI the pharmaceutical companies could get from a promo item campaign like that? By way of psychological theories on the law of reciprocity, people feel indebted and a sense of loyalty to givers. The pharmaceutical companies who have flyers and giveaways to hand out to prospective consumers will subliminally earn loyalty. On the other hand, those who hand out promo items can also ensure that the patients are more informed about their medication options which can lead to them making a better long term decision. It works. Great example!

  3. Tiffany, I’ve seen all types of promotional products, but never put a name to the technique.  And of course I have a LOT of promotional products from companies that I hang onto.  It seems like this is an excellent form of advertising, being as I personally hang on to the products.  Now, if a person wanted to start out small and work up, what types of products would you recommend to get your feet wet?  I have a website client who has a charity organization, would this type of advertising work for them?  Thanks for the enlightening article, keep up the good work!


    1. The stats show that most people hang onto promotional products especially if they’re useful. If someone wanted to “get their feet wet” or if they have a low lifetime customer value, they can start with items like writing utensils, business cards, flyers, postcards, and work up to doing presentations with retractable banners, table throws, and getting more creative as sales go up and the budget stretches.

      Many charities use lots of promotional products to inform the public of their causes: stress balls, handbags, wristbands, and so many other things are common promo products used. Maybe you should let your client know about the possibilities. Give me a call or shoot me a message if you need help.

      Some people like to be very creative and unique, those people should set up a free consultation and we’ll chat outside of “general” conversations.

  4. Hello there. This is actually a comprehensive article explaining what Promotional Product Advertising is… I actually needed this. I’ll launch my website on December and I will probably do paid promotion some few months from now when I make my first ebook or I could give it out for free.

    Giving discount is the best way to make more sales just like in Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays.

  5. Tiffany, Hi! Your advertising product topic has put my ideas on advertising in order. I suddenly realized the advantages of using advertising products as a substitute for advertising. 

    Advertising is usually quickly replaced by the next, and the next one replaces it.

    I looked around and saw that I had about 20 gifts in the garage – these are all advertising products-tools. And they serve for years. And countless in the kitchen, in the hallway, among the means of repair and care of the garden. 

    As follows from your article, advertising products attract the buyer with its usefulness and long-term use. Generally speaking, they complements advertising. 

    I am grateful to your article and the opportunity to express my understanding. Mark

    1. Thanks so much Mark for chiming in on this! There are quite a few great products advertisers can use that serve as double duty: they deliver the advertising message and they are useful for customers. Great points!

  6. Beautiful post. I have actually tried one of those medium to promote my YouTube channel. It was Facebook then. It was like a total waste them tho maybe because I don’t know the techniques that is involved in doing paid advertisement.

    I’ve seen promotional products advertisement before now. They are sometimes irresistible. Lol.

    1. Sorry to hear Facebook ads didn’t work well for you. Let us know if you’d like help with them in the future. Promo products can be a lot of fun and there’s some very nice ones out there.

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