HubSpot Elite Solutions Partner Program
Blue Frog Awarded 2023 Platform Migration Excellence HubSpot Impact Award

Business Promotional Products: How to get the most bang for your buck

Whether you call them Promotional products, advertising specialty items, swag, tschotskies (my personal favorite), or something else altogether you know what I'm talking about. The technicial definition according to the Advertising Specialties Institute is, "Items that include pens, T-shirts, mugs, calendars, or any items that have a logo or message from an advertiser on them. They are usually given away for free to consumers in hopes of positively influencing their purchasing preferences or their attitudes toward the advertiser."

It's the stuff that fills our desks, drawers, closets, and often trashcans. As business owners and marketers we might wonder why would I waste precious (and scarce) marketing dollars on something that will inevitably end up in the trash? The answer: Don't. Promotional products should be a part of your overall marketing plan. And like your other marketing efforts they should engage your audience and advance your brand. 

I've put together a short list of promotional products that have made the biggest impact on me as a client, prospect, and marketer in Des Moines.  I've also included some notable statistics from a recent study of global advertising specialties study. First and foremost, my top picks:

1) Post-It Notes - Full disclosure: I'm a Post-It guy. Notes everywhere. Desk, walls, car, the computer I'm typing on. If your contact information is on a Post-It note, you will always be in front of me. 

2) Drinkware - Quality and functionality are key here. I have three pieces I use everyday.      2a) Stainless steel travel mug with plastic top - (metal tops are no good), fits perfectly in my car's cupholder, and looks cool.

2b) Coffee mug - Nothing fancy here, just standard 11oz ceramic mug. Always on my desk, rarely without coffee.

2c) 16oz Tervis Tumbler - For the rare occasion I'm not drinking coffee, but wheter in use or not, it's always sitting in the same spot on my desk.

3) Drink Coaster - I have two cork coasters on my desk (one for item 2b, one for item 2c). They are absorbant, eco-friendly, and in my opinion, look cool.

4) Pens - To clarify, good pens. One of the most common give aways, the plastic click pen, which only works for two to three sentences at best. I'm not talking about those. I'm talking about a something with some weight to it, a metal body, grip, and refilable ink cartridge. These will often cost more than $1 or $2 per, but your clients are worth it. . . . Aren't they?

5) Flash Drives - 'The Cloud' is great and all but I like to have important files backed up other places as well. These are something that people keep with them at all times. My favorite feature is the ability to pre-load data onto the drives. That means your new product brochure is at your clients' fingertips every time they plug in the drive. Pretty cool.

And now, a few highlights from the Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study:

  • Cost Per Impression. In the U.S., the cost per impression of a promotional product is 0.6 cents, compared to prime-time TV and national magazines at 1.8 cents each and 0.7 cents for newspapers.

  • Worldwide Wow. Over one-half (52%) of the time, products give consumers a more favorable impression of the advertiser, a trend seen in every country surveyed.

  • Generating New Business. One-third of U.S. consumers say they are more likely to do business with an advertiser after getting their logoed product.

  • Latino Market Magnet. At 54%, Latino consumers own the most promotional T-shirts.

  • Safe, Healthy Cities. In Dallas and Montreal, 11% of consumers own promotional health and safety items, versus the U.S. average of 8%.

  • Top 3 Products. Writing instruments (50%), shirts (43%) and bags (29%) were the most popular products by category in the U.S.

  • Superior Pass-Along Value. Sixty-six percent of U.S. respondents give away unwanted items to someone else, up 15 percentage points from 2008.

  • Bags are Big. In the U.S., 29% of consumers who own promo products own a promotional bag, with Asian consumers owning the most of any racial demographic.

  • Golden Oldie. As consumers age, they're more likely to own a promotional calendar.

  • In the Office. Women are more likely to own a promo desk accessory in their offices than men, by a margin of 20% to 14%.

  • Cap-Tastic. White men are the most likely demographic group to own branded caps, versus 15% of African Americans and 12% of women.

  • Cheers. Gen-Xers and older own more promotional drinkware than those under 35. Of 12 cities surveyed, Philadelphians love logoed mugs and glasses the most, with 21% of Philly consumers owning promotional drinkware.


Promotional Products are an inexpensive way to keep your brand in front of clients and prospects on a daily basis. You provide high quality products and services for your clients, why give them a $0.12 pen that doesn't work? Useful, high quality products will stay in front of your clients and not in the trash.

If you're looking for quality productis, check out, we'd love to help! 

Blue Frog

Stay Up to date with our blog

Subscribe Here!

Subscribe Here!