The Pros of Giving Promotional Products as Gifts

Promotional gifts have become more and more popular in the last couple decades. In a 1991 study sponsored by PPAI, less than half of the participating businesses had given corporate gifts. Compare that to 2007, when about 84% percent of the surveyed companies gave business gifts. Clearly, this is a trend that has caught on. But why?

Business gifts take advantage of perhaps the most powerful word in the English language: free. Offer someone something for free, and you’ve immediately got their attention. This makes it an excellent way of building relationships and boosting business.

Here are just a few ways that promotional gift-giving benefits your business.

  1. Raise brand awareness

    One of the best ways to “get your name out there” is to do it quite literally; a promotional gift with your company’s logo and name is a great way to raise awareness about your business.

    Brand awareness is all about building associations. A gift helps potential customers to associate your brand with something positive, whether it’s something useful or just an attractive decoration. It makes a solid impression in your prospect’s mind, which also makes your brand easier to remember.

    In a 2003 study of trade show attendees, for example, 62.6% of attendees said they had received a promotional product, and 71.6% of those responders remembered the name of the company that gave it to them.

  2. Save money

    Not only is a business gift a thoughtful token; it can help to advertise your company at a lower price than many other methods. Corporate gifts are among the most cost-effective means of promotion. A 2008 study revealed that the average cost per impression for promotional products was $0.004.

    For comparison, prime time TV and newspaper ads both cost $0.019 per impression. That means that business gifts give you almost 5 times more bang for your buck.

    Advertising Cost Per Impression, Source: Advertising Specialty Institute

  3. Improve image and perception

    A promotional gift helps to enhance a prospect’s opinion of you and your company. This was shown in a Georgia State University study where people who had received a promotional product were more likely to have a positive perception of the company.

    Even outside of the business world, a gift is an iconic symbol of goodwill. It only makes sense that corporate gifts would increase customer goodwill and improve the overall attitude of prospects.

  4. Generate leads

    Promotional products can help to inspire curiosity and interest in your company. It’s not unusual for customers to be more receptive to a business that gives them a free gift. These gifts might even be used as an incentive to sign up for a newsletter or visit a website.

    A 1998 study at Wayne State University showed that intent to buy was 10 to 20% higher for customers who received a promotional product. It definitely appears that corporate gifts are an effective way to attract new leads.

  5. Increase sales

    Naturally, with greater customer goodwill and brand awareness comes more sales. A study conducted by Southern Methodist University suggests that customers who receive a promotional product tend to spend more on products or services from the company that gave it.

    Think of business gifts as a form of added value. Customers who feel that a company is giving them greater value for their money are ultimately likely to spend more.

  6. Maintain customer loyalty

    That same Southern Methodist University study suggests that when you give customers business gifts, they’re more likely to reorder faster and more often.

    Giving someone a promotional product helps to encourage repeat business; it’s a great way to remind them that their patronage is important to you.

  7. Generate referrals

    Sometimes your own customers can be a great source of new leads. Promotional products are a great way of encouraging lead generation, but rather than just including a free gift with your referral request, consider offering it as an incentive.

    In one case study, a letter that offered a promotional gift as an incentive for referrals was 500% more likely to receive a response than a simple letter asking for referrals. Comparatively, the letters that included a free gift in the actual mailing didn’t receive a single response.

    Promotional Product Responses, Source: PPAI Research

  8. Develop employee relations

    Corporate gifts can improve the attitude of employees as well as customers. Awards, plaques and other corporate gifts are an effective way to reward good work and thank employees for their dedication.

    One survey by Baylor University showed that employees are motivated to work hard to win awards and incentives, as well as encourage their co-workers to do the same.

    You might also use promotional products to remind employees of a particular concept or aspect of your business. For example, a pen imprinted with the phrase “Buy two, get one free” or something similar might remind employees to always mention this discount to clients.

  9. Build B2B relationships

    Much like average people, companies are very likely to take notice of free business gifts. If the promotional product you give to a business is something that’s frequently used in an office environment, it’s bound to serve as a reminder of your company’s goodwill.

    Thus, when forming and maintaining partnerships with distributors, vendors or other organizations, a gift can go a long way.


Promotional gifts are a cost-effective and dependable way to give your company advantages in the business world. No matter what industry you’re in, it’s a good idea to incorporate a business gift into your marketing strategy.

Posted in Marketing, Promotional Marketing

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Printwand Staff
Author: Printwand Staff

Our marketing, design and printing experts are passionate about sharing their knowledge. We're eager to help make your vision a reality in print. Be sure to explore the rest of the Printwand blog for more reliable, easy-to-understand information.

8 Responses to “The Pros of Giving Promotional Products as Gifts”

  • 1
    Maggie Allen says:

    Thanks so much for sharing all of this advice on giving promotional products as gifts! I had no idea that you could actually save money by getting them. However, it also makes sense that giving out a bunch of pens and T-shirts could be cheaper than affording ad space. It sounds like the best way to make a good first impression as a new company is to give out tons of promotional products!

  • 2
    Sheikh Hermain says:

    I loved your post. It was very informative. When I started my business I was focused on Quality of my jackets + sending a gift to the customers. It really worked. However I wasn’t aware at that time about the pro’s of gifts in such great detail. Thank you.

  • 3
    John says:

    I thought it was interesting how the article mentions that using promotional business items as gifts can actually save you money. It mentions that promo products cost less than other traditional advertising methods and can therefore help save money. I’ve also heard that the positive association of free gifts that car your logo and represent your business actually generate a stronger connection than all other forms of advertisement. Is that true?

  • 4
    Kourtney Jensen says:

    When I have received a gift or promotional product from a company whether after a purchase or randomly, I’ve felt great and end up going to shop at that business again. It benefits the receiver as well as the company, as you said in your article, it makes the customer feel valued which in turn makes them want to continue shopping with you. Corporate/ promotional gifts are a great way to increase a businesses customer relationship and is something that any company would benefit from doing.

  • 5
    David says:

    All items you listed are really beneficial, but I think the most important ones are customer loyalty and generating leads, but only if you give out a useful promotional product that the customer can use on a daily basis.

  • 6
    Sariah Meagle says:

    The team is thinking of giving away custom promotional letter openers as gifts to some loyal customers, and if it can raise brand awareness as you mentioned, then it should help us create a solid foundation with our customers to promote our company for us. I do like the idea that it saves money as you said because we’ll end up getting more free advertisements from them. The point of the gift is to improve image and perception as you pointed out, and if we hire the right company to create these little gifts, we should be able to satisfy them with these free items.

  • 7
    Derek McDoogle says:

    I totally agree with you when you said that a gift helps potential customers to associate your brand with something positive, whether it’s something useful or just attractive decoration. My boss is looking to promote the brand of his company and this sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the information about how a promotional gift helps to enhance a prospect’s opinion of you and your company.

  • 8
    Sabrina Addams says:

    You made such a great point about how promotional gifts can help to spread brand awareness and leave a good and lasting impression about your brand. My brother-in-law is tabling for his company at a local event in the summer and is trying to figure out what promotional products he wants to hand out. Since it’ll be the summertime, I think that he could benefit from finding a private label bottled water service to help put his brand name on waters to give out.

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