Corporate Swag: Choosing the Right Promotional Product for Your Company

by Carter Toni

With both traditional, commercial, and digital markets saturated with the ads of a thousand of your competitors, all arguing to become the number one provider of your specific service in customers’ lives, it’s no secret that it can be challenging to differentiate yourself from the pack. Even the savviest marketers can find themselves up against a wall as they experiment with various methods, attempting to go viral either through extensive digital marketing campaigns or the traditional way, by getting a jingle or a funny commercial stuck in our collective cultural craw.

Unfortunately, marketing is a bit of a mad science, where your strategists tend to throw things against the wall to see if they stick and run through various combinations of potential ingredients, looking for the mixture that will curate just the right kind of explosion. It can be hard to find a reliable, consistently successful marketing strategy that genuinely marks your company as unique or different.

Fortunately, there’s a traditionally embraced complement to any marketing strategy that tends to leave customers with a positive impression of your company overall. Promotional product marketing (try saying that five times fast) leaves would-be customers with something tangible in exchange for listening to your message, and if the correct product is chosen, it will leave something that emblematizes how valuable your company can be to them. The key is to try and find that product, a product that makes manifest your corporate mission, provides a service to the intended recipient, and gets your brand name out there as much as possible.

But how can you find that perfect product, and what are some of the factors you should consider when getting ready to launch your own promotional product marketing campaign?

Throw Out Cheap Swag

While it may be tempting to slap your brand onto a bunch of cheap goods, wrap them in a nice little bundle, and distribute them at your next company event in little plastic paper bags, handing out swag bags is a massive waste of time and money. It’s a common mistake on the part of promotional product marketers, and while swag bags do make an impression on the customer at the moment, that impression is often fleeting as your swag bag goes straight into the dark depths of their junk drawer, or worse, their dumpster. Handing out cheap swag gives off the impression that your company is cheap, gimmicky, or doesn’t properly value its customers. Avoid the temptation to hand out cheaply made knick-knacks as thoroughly as possible.

Choose a Product With Some Utility

As a general rule, the more often your product is used, the more value you get out of your promotional product campaign. Having your product be used repeatedly and easily integrated into your recipient’s life has two primary benefits: the first, they will come to associate your company with the utility they get from their promotional product, frequently tending to favor you over your competitors. Second, others will see that the recipient is using your product, take it as a tacit endorsement of your company, and resultantly have a higher chance of developing knowledge of or a favorable opinion of your brand as well.

With that in mind, you should seek to provide a branded product that your audience will find useful. If you’re planning to set up a booth at a golf club, for example, consider branding golf towels and distributing them to country club attendees and guests. You may also want to consider branding products that come in handy no matter what situation the recipient finds themselves in: branded USB products, like charging cables and USB ports, tend to come in handy and warrant immediate incorporation into the recipient’s life.

Swag Bags Be Gone

Promotional product marketing should be less of a scattering of shots in the dark and more of a precise, calculated singular move. Taking the time to consider all of the factors that may drive others to use your products and choosing the correct one to brand will make all the difference in public opinion and the future relevance of your company.

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