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If you’re looking for the secret to unlocking more brand awareness and potentially even increase your sales, look no further. One of the easiest solutions is at your disposal, and you’ll probably be shocked at just how effective this strategy really is. So what is this magical elixir? The power of promotional products.

That’s right: giving things away for free can make you more money. Crazy, right? As the old cliché goes, you have to spend money to make money. In this case, we’re highlighting one strategic way to spend that money that can lead to a higher return on investment.

In breaking down this power of promotional products, we’re citing two main surveys. Here’s a look at what they tell us.

Building a Brand

The first is a study conducted by that polled 500 random people in a New York airport.

Of those 500, 7 in 10 could recall receiving a promotional product in the previous 12 months – a number the researchers expected based on a previous study. And of that 70% who remembered receiving one promotional item, 70% of them recalled getting additional promotional items in the same time frame.

It’s important to keep in mind what these promotional items act as while reviewing these statistics: advertisements that are handed directly to potential customers.

With that in mind, while it might seem obvious that people would remember getting something for free, consider this: 88% of people who received a promotional product in the last 12 months could remember the name of the company that gave it to them. But of that same group, only 71% could remember a specific advertisement they had seen in the previous week. That’s a massive drop-off, and astounding considering the significant difference in recency periods of time compared.

Of the products that surveyed customers remembered receiving, 41% of them were wearable items, with T-shirts being the most popular wearable.

In a similar study conducted by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA), 87% of people kept the promotional item for over a year, and over half (56%) said their impression of the company improved after receiving a branded promotional gift.

More Than Brand Awareness

It’s not just brand awareness you’re building by giving things away, though; you’re increasing your potential for sales in the process.

Before their exposure to the free promotional products, approximately half (55%) of the consumers had purchases something from the advertiser previously. But after getting a free promotional product, a whopping 85% reported that they did business with that company. Similarly in the BPMA’s study, 79% of customers said they would likely do business with the company again after receiving their free promotional gift.

We don’t need to underscore how incredible a leap those numbers are, or how much increased revenue it would provide. The bottom line: It’s a lot, all thanks to one simple trick.

But there’s more! Of the remaining 45% who had never purchased anything from the advertiser, 11% followed up their free gift by spending money with the company.

Let’s do some simple math. Based on the above numbers, if you gave 100 people a free t-shirt that cost you $5 each to make (which, according to a quick Google search, weighs in a bit on the expensive end), you’d have about 51-52 customers buying something from you. If they each spent a modest $10, you’re already making a profit from your promotional products ad campaign.

The BPMA’s results favor this marketing tactic as well, as the return on investment for a promotional giveaway was better than using radio or outdoor advertising and had just as good a return as TV and print marketing.


So what do these insights tell us?

In short, that people love free stuff, they remember you better and for longer periods of time when you give it to them, it’s as good of a marketing tactic (if not better) than anything else out there, and that more people will spend more money on your products.

If that’s not exactly how you want your next advertising campaign returns to look like, you’re lying. Now get out there and give something away!