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Promotional Products History

Promotional Products - A Brief History

Beginning with commemorative buttons used in George Washington's inauguration back in 1789, promotional products have had a long history as effective means to advertise and/or promote a message, logo, image and/or event. When businesses realized early on that promotional products, then called "novelty and specialty goods", could be used to advertise and promote, the promotional products Industry began to grow by leaps and bounds, giving way to new and exciting products and providing businesses with new tools for growth.

The promotional products industry as we know it began in earnest in the late 1800's, and it was nurtured by an unexpected group of individuals: newspaper owners. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense that those with access to printing presses and technology related to printing should be the pioneers in the use of promotional products. During sluggish economic periods for the newspapers, promotional item imprinting provided much-needed additional revenue and filled an advertising void that few realized existed.

The first promotional business products were everyday, practical objects that companies knew their customers needed: bags, calendars, horse blankets, fans, and aprons. The simplicity of filling a need and expanding one's business through name recognition proved a stroke of marketing genius for imprinters and advertisers alike. In this pre-television and radio time, companies were able to spread their message and business farther than ever thought possible, their logo and information traveling with customers to be seen by other potential customers.

Aside from being practical, promotional products have also come to be recognized for their historic and artistic value as each company tried to put its own individual identity forward in increasingly unique and attractive ways. As a result, the promotional products of yesteryear may be worth a tidy sum to collectors and historians today. In other words, dust off those elaborately decorated metal Coca-Cola trays and get them on Ebay!

Promotional Products - How They're Used Today

These days, promotional products are used by businesses or organizations to successfully fulfill a stated mission or goal and get their message delivered. To that end, virtually any business or organization can utilize promotional products in some form or another to achieve its objectives.

Business promotional products, when used creatively, can do more than simply advertise or promote. They can also function as tools to increase performance or sales output, or they can build morale or company spirit. In fact, here are a few ways in which your organization can start using promotional products today.

Awards and Premiums
Give an award or a high-end premium to important persons for outstanding achievement or contributions.

Build a Brand Culture
Create a loyal customer following with promotional products that reflect your image, mission, style or products, and you will have succeeded in turning your customers into promoters of your business.

Build Brand Recognition
Ensure that the business or organization that you have worked so hard to build gets the recognition and exposure it deserves with promotional products that carry your logo.

Contest or Premium Prizes
Increase sales while getting your customers excited about their purchase with promotional product premiums and prizes used in combination with a contest or prize giveaway.

Events and Corporate Outings
Make your next business event and/or corporate outing one to remember with promotional products to make the occasion memorable and fun for all.

Learning and Education
Get your customers or employees involved in learning about your product or service with fun and exciting promotional products used to reinforce educational material and presentations.

Marketing and Advertising Mix
Make business promotional products part of your marketing mix and/or advertising campaign, and discover a more effective method of reaching your target audience.

Product Launch
Promote a new product or business with an innovative, attention-grabbing promotional giveaway and press kit. From grand openings to a product launch, promotional products are the best way to get noticed.

Retention and Appreciation
Thank your customers and clients with promotional products for their loyalty and continued patronage and they will reciprocate your efforts with more business. In addition, gain new customers through effective use of incentives and gifts for major purchases.

Rewards and Incentives
Give promotional products to employees and reward them for their hard work and dedication. You can also use incentives to motivate employees to generate sales, improve performance and increase customer service satisfaction.

Unity and Pride
Use promotional products to build school spirit amongst students or create a sense of unity and teamwork among employees.

Factoids (from PPAI.org)

Research Shows...

Recipients of promotional business products remember the advertiser's name.
A study by Schreiber & Associates (Peoria, IL) showed that 39% of promotional item recipients could remember the name of the advertiser as long as six months after receiving it.

Promotional products are ideal for creating awareness among a selective audience.
Southern Methodist University conducted a study to measure attendee awareness of product demonstrations in three university communities. They found that distribution of promotional products to selected audiences increased awareness twice as effectively as school newspaper advertising.

Promotional business products in direct mail solicitation can boost response rates by up to 75%, according to a study by Baylor University.

Customers reorder more frequently and in less time when promotional products are used instead of coupons. In a study by Southern Methodist University, customers receiving promotional products reordered up to 18% sooner than those who received coupons and up to 13% sooner than those who received no promotion.

Promotional products effectively reinforce employee sales contests.
A Baylor University study of month-long sales contests in retail establishments indicates that contests reinforced by periodic distribution of promotional products were cost-effective and outperformed non-stimulated contests by up to 50%.

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