Promotional items and give-aways for customer acquisition

In the context of business start-ups, advertising, in particular, is an important means of drawing the attention of potential new customers to one’s own start-up. At first, you may think of flyers, posters or TV and radio advertising, but it may also be relevant to give away promotional items to win customers.

In the following, it goes around the sense and purpose of B2B gifts, the variety of advertising novelties, as well as worth knowing in relation to costs and taxes for advertising novelties.

Some founders may turn up their noses at the idea of spending money on promotional items but have certainly not yet considered that they could already own promotional items from other companies themselves.

Whether conspicuously placed or inconspicuously hidden – many people have promotional gifts at home. This refers to ballpoint pens, notepads, USB sticks, lighters or money boxes. Often you don’t even know when you got them and yet we own them – promotional items, giveaways.

There are two important aspects of promotional items. On the one hand, tax regulations must be observed when purchasing and passing on promotional items. On the other hand, the advertising novelty must fit the enterprise. Because some useless or consumable advertising novelties throw customers away and/or are eaten, other advertising novelties linger mostly for years.

Before it concerns the fiscal aspect in handling an advertising novelty, a view is thrown on the variety, the organization possibility and the Potential of the advertising novelty. Because holidays and celebrations are great for the distribution of giveaways.

Why promotional items?
A promotional item is a commodity of little value to be given away by companies in order to attract attention. Thus, a promotional item is a haptic sales aid. Haptics refers to what the customer feels, i.e. takes into his hands, and can understand.

Especially if it is a web-based business model or a service, it is especially important to use haptic sales aids. This is how you can symbolically transfer an idea to a promotional item and make it comprehensible for the customer.

The sense and purpose of an advertising article are, therefore, to arouse a need in the customer or to explain the business idea of the company. A classic example of this is the piggy bank as a promotional gift from a bank.

The freestyle in dealing with a promotional item is to select and design the promotional item in such a way that the customer perceives it as a (promotional) gift and not as a giveaway. A good promotional item is therefore perceived as a gift that conveys an idea or the company logo.

Variety of promotional items: classic, practical, Christmassy
Depending on the target group, price range and occasion, there is a large selection of promotional items. We have collected a few classic, creative and unusual promotional items. Of course, the promotional items vary in terms of price, but one thing is certain – there is nothing you can’t give away as a promotional item.

Classic promotional items
USB flash drive
piggy bank
key fob
Cups and mugs
Confectionery and beverages

Promotional items as practical household aids
smoke detectors
motion detector
knife block
spirit level
tape measure
folding rule
ice scraper

Technical promotional products
mobile phone pocket
Touch Pen
pocket calculators

Summer promotional items
ice cube tray
drinking bottle
flip flops
First aid kit
folding chair
bicycle light

Promotional items for children
lunch boxes
spinning top
colouring book
soap bubbles
wax crayon

Christmas Promotional Items
baking mould
bottle opener
Advent calendar
Christmas hat
stuffed animal
cookie cutter

Statistics show that 94% of respondents said they owned one or more promotional items. 57% of them, i.e. slightly more than half of the respondents, could remember the brand or company name. Particularly interesting is the information that three-quarters of these advertising novelties are longer than 6 months in the possession of the receivers. 37% have even been at home for more than two years.

More relevant than the whereabouts of the promotional items is the effect on the purchase decisions of the recipients. 37% of the respondents stated that the promotional item had a positive influence on the customer’s decision to buy.

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Giveaways in online marketing?

Online marketing consists of a large extent of numbers.

What role can the human factor play? Can you increase traffic with small giveaways? How can you possibly increase conversions with classical instruments?

Below are some examples and suggestions on how giveaways can support an online marketing strategy.

Without traffic, nothing goes on
Every online project is first and foremost about traffic. Generating traffic is the primary goal of any online marketing.

The possibilities are manifold. About SEO, SEM & Co. you can find many fantastic sources on the net.

But how can small giveaways increase traffic?

Giveaways can be a good option for link bait promotions. The gift as an incentive for a link. This is not about buying links, bribes or the like. The legal limits for the deductibility of promotional items are precisely regulated. It is important that the value and originality correspond to the “have-will factor” of the target group.

Examples of promotional gifts in Linkbait action:

  • A coffee mug in which the motif only becomes visible when filled hot. Here one can tell wonderful stories with two states. These coffee cups are always an eye-catcher.
  • A really personal giveaway for the link provider is personalised advertising gifts. The USB stick with your own blog address or a calendar with any “desired name”.
  • One idea where topic relevance is automatically generated is tested products. There are many bloggers who like to test products, write an article about them and link to them. As a reward, the tested products may be kept.
  • With raffles in which e.g. mobile phone bags are raffled, some “fans” can be won (more fans, more signals from social networks, more visibility).

Recently, much has been said about future parameters of search engine algorithms. The importance of being well linked in a topic-relevant (also social) network comes up again and again. For sustainable online marketing, it is therefore essential to identify the best link sources and to design a strategy for acquisition and retention.

There are always people behind these link sources. Therefore, as in “real” life, one can also make use of the customs of our culture here. Small promotional gifts receive the friendship as has been proven.

But what can this look like in practice? We recommend a range of different, creative giveaways in different qualities. An Excel list is always helpful.

Now identified persons are divided into importance for the success of the strategy. For each group, a plan is now created for when and in what period different contacts (e.g. emails, personalized direct mails with giveaways, networking appointments, etc.) are sent out.

So if you have built up a broad network of contacts over a longer period of time, many online tasks become easier.

Existing customers are cheaper than new customers
If visitors are now on the site or in the shop and have been persuaded to buy by a fantastic online experience, it is important to ensure that this is not a one-time experience.

Depending on the industry, the costs for acquiring new customers vary considerably – they all have one thing in common: it is much more expensive to acquire new customers than to continue doing business with existing customers. A major focus should, therefore, be placed on the after-sales strategy. Of course, newsletters are the number one instrument here, but the more individual and creative the address, the more loyalty can be expected.

Whether small giveaways or high-quality advertising materials are specifically transported to the customer’s environment naturally depends on the customer lifetime value. In principle, it doesn’t matter which promotional item you choose, it only has to meet a few requirements to be able to exert its advertising power:

The giveaway should definitely be integrated into a story. There must be a reference to the statement that is to be made. Example: “You certainly have the best online retailer for XYZ…”->Safety Vest
The advertising material should meet certain quality requirements, otherwise, the well-intentioned shot can backfire.
Depending on the intention, the lifetime of the giveaway should be considered. A creative coffee mug lives longer than a bag of fruit jelly bears.
The environment in which the promotional item is used plays an important role in whether it is actually used. To visualize the average workplace once is certainly not harmful.

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Promotional items as a marketing instrument

No modern startup can do without advertising. The right marketing strategy paves the way to awareness and economic success. Advertising novelties are a popular and economical entrance into the completely personal marketing plan. However, it depends on the selection of a good feeling for the respective target group.

If you want to establish your startup on the market in the long term, you can’t avoid some central preliminary work. This includes the analysis of the market and target groups and the development of an optimally coordinated marketing mix. But advertising is expensive. Especially for start-ups in the initial phase, it can be difficult to provide an advertising budget that can exploit all marketing instruments. Above all advertising in radio and television is connected with high costs and thus in the starting phase often simply not realizable.

However, the high costs that some marketing strategies entail are no reason for young entrepreneurs to do without advertising. It can even turn out to be a big mistake not to actively promote your own business idea on the market. In the first few months, even a limited budget can achieve a lot. Advertising novelties are an economical alternative and bring along nevertheless a large success potential.

Advertising novelty as a customer magnet
They may look inconspicuous, but they can prove to be a real magnet for potential customers: We are talking about promotional items, the so-called give-aways. Advertising through give-aways is as old as the marketing idea itself and has always been very successful.

The promotional items used for the survey included typical give-aways such as

  • office supplies
  • tools
  • Textiles, especially clothing
  • Household objects and small aids that can be used in the household
  • Food (especially sweets)

The sustainability of promotional items was also confirmed by the current study. About half of the giveaways received were kept and used in the household for more than 12 months. About a quarter was even two years and longer in use. The memory value of advertising novelties is thereby enormously high and stands opposite relatively small costs.

Especially for start-ups with a tight advertising budget, promotional items are the perfect introduction to their own marketing campaign. When it comes to choosing the right products, however, entrepreneurs should be sensitive to their target groups and have a high level of market knowledge.

Selecting promotional items according to requirements
Promotional items convince by a high memory value and manageable costs. The cost-benefit factor can be optimised by a targeted selection and a combination of products oriented to target groups and their needs.

But how do promotional items have to be designed so that they do not disappear in the large conglomeration of giveaways but actually unfold a lasting memory value with the customer?

The most important characteristics of a promotional item:

  • useful, functional and of high quality,
  • easy to handle,
  • original and unique,
  • Relevant to the target group
  • establish the connection to the company – also through the corporate design.

This has already given entrepreneurs the most important criteria for putting together the right promotional items for their marketing strategy. However, this still does not make it a simple undertaking. It applies to weigh numerous possibilities and to include aspects into the selection. These factors should find with the selection and composition of advertising novelties consideration:

1. The topicality of advertising novelties
It seems quite logical: Up-to-dateness makes promotional items interesting and useful and at the same time shows that the company keeps up with the times and constantly strives to attract new customers. And indeed, promotional items that are oriented towards modern trends show a high success rate. Originality and innovation have always been a real magnet, especially for young people.

However, promotional items with a trend factor are not only advantageous. Such products can release a true Hype or follow one already developed. The success is however in most cases only of short duration. Current advertising media are by no means as long-lived as tried and tested ones and this is exactly where the risk lies of swimming along on the wave of trends. Particularly innovative products are usually an only short time of interest and are used after the ebbing away of the first euphoria rarely further.

Who would not like to do without nevertheless current advertising novelties, should weigh the employment exactly and set on small numbers of items for selected clients. Thus it is possible to profit from new trends in advertising without already achieving a negative cost-benefit balance after a short time.

2. Weigh mass products and exclusives carefully
When it comes to promotional items, the question always arises as to whether cheap mass-produced goods or expensive exclusive items are better received. There is no blanket answer to this question. Advertising experts know that several factors play a role here. However, all promotional items should have one thing in common: Functionality and quality must be right so that the customer does not get the impression of cheap junk goods.

Mass goods are ideal for large events or seasonal occasions, for example, to reach a large clientele at low cost. Ballpoint pens, lighters, torches or baseball caps are among the most popular promotional items that can be mass-produced and distributed. Due to their everyday use, such products often remain with the owner for a very long time and thus strengthen the connection to the company.

Exclusives are an excellent way to celebrate special occasions or promising business relationships. For example, companies should allow their promotional items to cost a little on holidays, anniversaries or other major occasions, but rather for a selected clientele. In this case, an expensive gift can convey appreciation and leave a positive impression in the long run.

3. Advertising novelty seasonally use
It has been confirmed many times in practice: Companies that use their promotional products on a seasonal basis often accompany their customers and those who are yet to become customers throughout the year. Marketing experts know that consumers’ purchasing decisions are also determined by situational factors such as the time of year. Companies should take advantage of this fact and give their giveaways a seasonal touch.

In spring, small sachets of plant seeds are a lot of fun. In summer, beach games or sun protection are guaranteed to be a big hit. In autumn an umbrella is a practical companion through everyday life and in winter baking utensils and recipes can awaken the anticipation of Christmas. The possibilities of seasonal advertising are as varied as they are promising. If the customer feels understood and picked up in his current life situation, a lasting positive connection is created.


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In the digital age, online marketing seems to be the only way for many companies to reach customers and attract their attention. Other marketing channels seem superfluous at first because the reach offered by the World Wide Web is incomparably large. Advertisements can be placed for specific target groups and small reminders of the last shop visit can be sent by e-mail to numerous customers. Why do more companies still rely on promotional items? What do they have that online advertising & CO. do not have?

For half a century, promotional items have been a popular marketing tool. They have proven themselves and apparently survived the hype about other advertising media. Because now studies show that 47% of enterprises use advertising novelties. At first, this does not appear to be a top value, but in a media comparison lanyards, bags and ballpoint pens are brilliant. Mass media, such as radio or television, have to admit defeat with values in the single digits. Even online advertising is only used by 31% of companies.

Why do companies use promotional items as a marketing tool?
The reasons for the use are versatile:

Promotional items are used regularly because of their utility value and thus have a very lasting advertising effect: 78% of the products given away are remembered by the addressees of the name of the advertising company.

In addition, companies indicated that the use of promotional items has a positive effect on the company image and noticeably increases the level of awareness.

Unlike other advertising methods, customers pay attention to promotional items. Due to its haptic character, the advertising experience in such situations is completely different.

Another plus point in favour of promotional items is their adaptability to the company, the industry or the products. Thus there are ideally adapted promotional items for the most different enterprises: Travel agencies give away USB sticks with an aeroplane look, doctors’ surgeries individualize plasters and restaurants use napkins with logo printing.


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5 reasons why you should not underestimate promotional items

Image Logo UK Ltd has specialised in personalised promotional products & service since 1997. Promotional B2B gifts have been established marketing instruments for decades.
What can haptic advertising media do?
Why are they so widespread even in times of online media?


1st Range
Studies show: On an average day, promotional items reach more people than the classic mass media TV, daily newspapers or posters. They can be used for various purposes, such as trade fairs, company events or seasonal holidays and reach not only the addressee but also his environment. It was shown that a ballpoint pen alone can generate around 5,615 eye contacts with the advertising brand.

2. Reminder value
Not only the reach of the giveaways is convincing, but also the memorable value is impressive. In 78% of the distributed advertising media, the owners remember the brand or company name of the advertising company. So you stay in the memory of your customers for a long time.

3. Utility value
Usability is one of the most important criteria in the selection of promotional products. 93% of promotional product owners use them regularly. They find a fixed place in everyday office life, at home or on the road.

4. Popularity
Many advertising channels have a disturbing effect on your target group. For example, 66% say they feel disturbed by TV commercials. Advertising novelties have however an opposite effect: 73% are the opinion, much too rarely advertising novelties to get. In contrast to other advertising measures, promotional items have no promotional character. They are much more likely to be regarded as gifts by customers, employees or business partners.

5. Versatility
Virtually any article can be used as an advertising medium. The Image Logo UK online shop offers around 50,000 customisable products… and that’s just the beginning! Whether classics, such as ballpoint pens, bags or USB sticks, or creative advertising trends, such as power banks and sunglasses – promotional items can be perfectly adapted to your corporate design through this versatility and be original supporters of advertising campaigns.

So don’t underestimate promotional items! In many respects, they outperform typical advertising channels at comparatively low cost. Use tailor-made promotional items as unique messengers of your message. We at Image Logo UK Ltd are at your disposal.

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