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Branded Promotional Products: How to Measure Your ROI

Posted on March 02, 2020 6:31 PM Resources



Branded promotional products include items such as water bottles, pens, mugs, calendars, and much more that carry the name, logo, and contact details of a business. They are usually provided as free giveaways to customers and potential customers at the business’s locations, events they attend and/or sponsor, or via representatives of the company who visit customers and prospects. There are thousands of promotional products to choose from, ranging from the cost-effective and always-needed branded pens and key chains to t-shirts and other apparel, picnic sets, thermal mugs – the list goes on and on.

As marketing professionals, we strive to create solid advertising campaigns that result in increased brand awareness and sales for our businesses. The challenge is in measuring the return on investment (ROI) from a promotional products campaign as opposed to measuring the results from a digital marketing campaign, which is typically much easier to quantify. We have gathered some information that should help you properly measure your ROI on branded promotional products. 

According to the Advertising Specialty Institute’s (ASI) 2019 Global Ad Impressions Study, when asked what types of advertising they like best, consumers under the age of 55 overwhelmingly chose promotional products over other forms of advertising including newspaper, radio, magazine, television, Internet, and mobile advertising. And in all age groups, promotional products were the most highly regarded form of advertising. 

These products have a big job to do. 

They are used to boost sales through the increased visibility of the brand they represent. They also are long-lasting reminders of the brand to the customers and potential customers who receive them and/or see them used. Often, businesses select specific promotional products to associate their brands with positive attributes, such as responsibility, quality, and innovation. Businesses also use branded promotional products to stand out in a crowded marketplace – especially from their competition. These products can be customized in many different and creative ways – from the use of materials and colors to unexpected shapes and special features.

When marketing professionals use them as part of their advertising campaigns, they need to know if and how they are delivering a return on investment (ROI). ROI is the percentage used to gauge profitability. 

ROI in a campaign using promotional products can either be considered within the context of dollars delivered in sales or in making positive, lasting impressions on customers and potential customers. 

There are two basic ways to obtain this critical knowledge:

  • Conduct the tests that marketing professionals typically use to determine ROI on branded promotional products.
  • Obtain data on the effectiveness of certain branded promotional products that have been used as effective marketing tools. 

Once these test results and data are collected, marketing professionals must determine which promotional products would likely deliver the best ROI for specific marketing campaigns. 

How to use data to best understand ROI

  • Testing
    Several tests can be used to determine the ROI of branded promotional products. To apply tests that show ROI in terms of sales directly related to consumers having received promotional products, you must first plan how to track the products you intend to give away so they can be traced throughout the testing process. It is important to note that each item used in the campaign must have a trackability component if you are using the items to deliver sales.
  • Trackability
    Decide how best to track the products in your test; it could be done via URL, QR Code or Discount Code. Then, choose a promotional product that works with your choice of tracking method, purchase it, give it away, and track the number of people who contacted your business as a result of receiving the item. Next, measure how many people who received the item bought your products or services and calculate the ROI from that number.
  • Basic Metrics Test
    The most simplistic way to calculate ROI is based on two metrics: the cost of the campaign and the outcome it generated (typically this is the revenue it has generated). Subtract the amount spent on the campaign from the profit it generated. Next, divide this total by the total amount spent, multiplied by 100. 
  • Benchmarking ROI in Testing 
    After you conduct these tests, apply a marketing industry-standard to the results to determine ROI. You should have a ratio of 5:1 or better. This means that for every marketing dollar spent you yielded $5 in revenue.
  • Return on Impressions
    This method is important to use when the marketing goal is focused on brand awareness and engagement. In advertising, an impression is an estimate of the number of people a specific advertisement is reaching. Each time a person sees the advertisement or brand on a promotional product is considered one impression. 

Research has found that promotional products have one of the lowest costs per impression ratios – about .6 cents per impression, according to the Ad Specialty Institute (ASI), the promotional product industry’s largest membership organization. Compare this to the cost per impression of television and magazine ads, which is about 1.8 cents per impression.

One reason why promotional products have an edge over other types of advertising in terms of impressions is that 81% of consumers keep promotional products for about 1 to 5 years. The longer a product is kept, the more impressions it will make – both from those who keep the product and others around them who see it.

To calculate an approximate return on impressions, marketers use Cost Per Thousand (CPM) as a benchmark. Divide the total cost of the item by the number of estimated impressions, and then divide by 1,000.

Choosing the Right Promotional Products 

All successful promotional products have these components and attributes:

  • They are Branded – Include your logo, colors, contact details, and social media information on each one.
  • They are Good Quality – Select durable products. You do not want to associate your business with something cheap or that easily falls apart.
  • They Communicate Your Brand’s Messages – Consider what your brand stands for and how you want to be perceived in the marketplace. For example, you may want to highlight that your brand is responsible and current by selecting an eco-friendly product as a giveaway. If you want to associate your brand with innovation, choose especially creative products. 
  • Customers and Potential Customers Want Them – Think about who they are and what they like. Then match these preferences with promotional products they will see as useful reminders of your business and how to contact you.
  • They Set Your Brand Apart from the Competition – Make sure that there is always something different about the branded products you give away. Maybe it is a color combination, a special feature, or shape. Be unique.

Branded Promotional Products Considered to be Most Influential 

Research recently conducted by ASI found that there are five products that most often influence consumers’ brand engagement: 

  1. USB Drives – ASI found that 91% of consumers keep these because they consider them useful.
  2. Outerwear – An impressive 86% of consumers think more positively about a company after receiving branded outerwear, such as jackets.
  3. Drinkware – This favorite, which comes in hundreds of choices, packs an impactful punch because 50% of US consumers use the logo cups, they have been given two to three times per week.
  4. Pens, Pencils, and Other Writing Instruments – Budget-friendly and long-lasting, these are always appreciated. 50% of US consumers own promotional writing utensils.
  5. Performance Wear – These go beyond a uniform to get noticed.

Understanding the ROI of promotional products using testing and research allows marketers to demonstrate their effectiveness both in driving sales and creating brand awareness and engagement. Selecting the right products for these campaigns is critical and choosing the right professionals to provide the products is vital. 

Your Local Fully Promoted is Ready to Partner with You to Create Effective Promotional Products. 

Consider these reasons why Fully Promoted is the right choice for your promotional product needs:

  • You receive personal attention from our experts who provide recommendations based on your wants, needs, timetable, and budget.
  • Our local experts can put your logo on just about anything; think outside the box.
  • We work with clients in the US and around the world and can provide samples for your review as well as personalized service to assist with product selection and design to best represent your brand.
  • We have worked with a wide array of industries including non-profits, automotive, manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, finance, insurance, education, real estate, construction, and religious organizations. 

Contact your local Fully Promoted team to discuss your promotional product and marketing solution needs.