The pen is mightier than the swordDespite living in a digital age it seems that we just can’t get enough of a free pen. New research from the British Promotional Merchandise Association (bpma) shows that the number one product people in the UK like to take home as a freebie is a promotional pen. However, promotional products are often seen as an afterthought rather than an integral part of a marketing campaign.

In order to encourage companies to recognise the value of promotional products and understand the many ways of improving brand awareness, the bpma is running Promotional Products Week (PPW) from 12-16 September. Now in its fourth year, PPW aims to raise the profile of promotional products and encourage their use within the marketing mix.

According to the bpma’s research, 76% of marketers surveyed will keep a promotional item given to them while 73% of those will go on to purchase from that company. A staggering 83% will even be able to recall a branded product on their desk without having to refer to it. Also, it appears that the best gifts are considered useful in everyday life – such as a branded bag or USB stick – or indeed edible – such as branded sweets, mints or marshmallows.

Promotional Products Week - Eventsforce pensIf you want your brand to be remembered then you might need to think outside the box. Last year, almost £1bn was spent by companies on promotional merchandise with an average spend of £5 per item. Gordon Glenister, Director General of the bmpa, told Eventsforce: “Promotional products are one the most powerful advertising mediums in existence. When a branded giveaway is relevant to the organisation and is useful, recipients will keep it on average for almost three years.” The more unusual items people have received includes plants, ice creams and shoe polish while the more praised items mentioned in the research were retractable phone chargers, desktop fans and travel adapters.

A branded gift is one of the most effective stop mechanisms at exhibitions.

“IT and phone-related gifts are some of the fastest growing premiums, yet the pen and bag still remain the most popular particularly at events. A branded gift is one of the most effective stop mechanisms at exhibitions. The team all wearing colourful shirts with a call to action message creates impact and huge awareness,” Glenister continued.

What promotional products will you be using for your next event? Will you go with a branded reusable silicone tea bag, a pocket mini hangover kit, a light-up pet waste bag dispenser (all of which are surprisingly available online!) or will you be sticking with the tried-and-tested old favourite – a branded pen?

Promotional Products Week Infographic

Click to view larger image

Click to get in touchThis year, the bpma has teamed up with Pancreatic Cancer UK to raise £10,000 by encouraging companies to promote themselves using a promotional product or garment in a photograph or video, and at the same time. To find out more about PPW visit promotionalproductsweek.co.uk and to donate £3 or more, please visit justgiving.com/bpmapromoteyourselfday

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