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Promotional Product Marketing: The Basics

Promotional products are items of practical use, or of a decorative nature, imprinted and branded with a logo, message, or organizational name. Custom promotionals are great for expanding marketing campaigns, employee or customer incentives, increasing branding visibility, and most of all fostering goodwill and appreciation between organizations and their employees, customers, or supporters.

Promotional items have long been utilized by corporate marketing programs, but nowadays promotional items are widely used by organizations from all sectors of civilian life such as universities, nonprofit organizations, government sectors, sport teams and small business owners and artists.

 marketing meeting members and custom drinkware

Top Industries using Promotional Products

  • Education
  • Financial
  • Healthcare
  • Not-For-Profit
  • Construction
  • Government
  • Trade & Professional Associations
  • Real Estate
  • Automotive
  • Professionals: Doctors, Lawyers, CPAs

custom tervis cup on summer night

Promotional Campaigns

Promotional campaigns may be used in order to promote and communicate to select audiences the services, programs, or products of a business or independent marketer. They are used to thank supporters, retain support, and bring back important clientele to name a few.

How to market these successfully is specific to individual needs and to those you are communicating with. It requires a specific plan before proceeding, starting with “what is our campaign goal, budget, and audience?”. Begin your research and if necessary, consult a professional to assist you with your goals.

To give you an idea of how promotional items may be utilized, here is a sampling of conventional ways organizations campaign their objectives:


Premiums are free promotional items given as an incentive, or token of appreciation for actions taken. A prime example of premium campaigns is in the nonprofit sector. Often times an organization, such as wildlife conservations, will offer a free promotional for supporting a program in need. Although these items are free, they are not advertising specialties due to the non-corporate nature of nonprofits.

Advertising Specialties

Promotional products that are distributed for free are known as advertising specialties—proven to build a positive connection with customers and employees. Many studies state that personalized gifts from organizational campaigns are highly appreciated versus a thank you letter.

One of the traditional methods many businesses have used are smaller personalized items such as pens or stationary. Customers tend to remember these small gestures and end up becoming a repeat client or great referral.

Of course, companies can create various types of campaigns, coming up with unique advertising specialties which distinguish a company from the fold. After all, the object in advertising is to be remembered and hopefully retain your loyal fan base.

Gifts, Awards and Prizes

Another way to campaign for your business is to offer promotional items as gifts, awards, and prizes—helping boost sales performance and general employee morale.

Offering free drinkware like custom travel mugs serve as great mementos for universities or business settings. Maybe an engraved mug for recent graduates or an employee who achieved a major milestone. There are so many creative ideas! Start by evaluating what makes your business unique, and ask your staff or customers what they would like to receive as a gift or prize.