Bring your brand to (real) life.

Promotional Products with Tactive branding laid out.
What Are Promotional Products?
March 7, 2024

What Are Promotional Products?

Whatever you call them: giveaways, freebies, merch, tchotchkes, gifts, swag… The fact is that promotional products are an incredibly powerful way to promote your brand—but it’s not as simple as slapping your logo on some coffee mugs and calling it a day. At Tactive, we help clients shape strategic promo programs that get results.  

So what are promotional products? In short, any tangible items branded with a company’s logo or message, distributed (often for free) to customers, employees, or prospects as part of a marketing strategy. From stress balls to employee uniforms to premium tech to t-shirt cannons, promo products can vary in type, cost, and intended use. In fact, there’s probably one on your desk or in your closet right now.  

Often intended to increase brand awareness, foster customer loyalty, and drive engagement, promo products are a key element of your tactile marketing strategy. Don’t believe us? Take it from the experts: the Advertising Specialty Institute’s (ASI) 2023 global ad impressions study showed that consumers consistently rank promotional products as their favorite form of advertising!  

Industry Insights

There are two main types of players in the promotional products industry: suppliers and distributors. Suppliers create or process the products (like adding your logo to whichever water bottle is currently trending.) Distributors, on the other hand, are the link between supplier and brand manager, developing original ideas, placing orders, and communicating with suppliers to ensure brand standards and in-hands dates are all seamlessly communicated. 

Tactive is a distributor, and our relationship with the best suppliers the industry has to offer means our clients can enjoy the benefits of connecting with the best vendors in the business (like passing on discounts, troubleshooting production issues, and getting the scoop on the hottest trends.) We also offer some in-house promo product finishing options like pad printing, screen print, and embroidery. And Tactive’s decades of experience means we’ll always bring creative and unique ideas to the table when you ask us to help plan your campaign.  

Put the Pro in Promo

Selecting the right promo products is essential for the success of your marketing campaign. Start by defining the purpose of your promotional items: whether you’re looking to boost brand awareness, reward loyal customers, or attract new prospects, it’s crucial to align your choices with your goals. Think about your target audience’s preferences and demographics to ensure your promo products resonate with them. And don’t forget to keep your budget in mind—while quality is key, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your resources and not break the bank effectively representing your brand.  

Promotional products offer endless opportunities to connect with your audience in memorable ways. Some swag-worthy uses: 

Whatever your reason for slinging swag, these tangible items are powerful tools for reinforcing brand awareness and fostering loyalty. No matter what the use is, all promo products have a common goal: they must be somehow useful to the recipients to make an impact – otherwise they’re just thrown away.  

The Swaggiest Swag 

Looking for inspiration of what items to incorporate into your promo products plan? Take inspiration from these favorites, per ASI’s 2023 ad impressions study.  

Group of 4 Terminus team members smiling at camera with Terminus gear on the table in front of them.

Branded apparel is the most popular promo option – think t-shirts, fleece quarter zips, baseball hats, and embroidered polo shirts. But even among all apparel options, the most influential promotional product by impressions is outerwear, like fleece or coats. It’s also the most beloved promo item among Hoosiers in Tactive’s home state of Indiana.  

  • Outerwear generates 7,856 impressions over its lifetime. 
  • 41% of consumers who receive outerwear say they are more likely to do business with the advertiser that gave it to them. 
  • 61% of consumers would keep and wear promo outerwear for two years or longer. 
White Salesforce branded Corkcicle mug

A toast to drinkware including ASI’s 2023 product of the year, the Stanley Quencherwhich has nearly doubled its share of the promotional products category since 2008. Water bottles, mugs, glassware, and insulated travel cups make up this buzzy swag category.  

  • Drinkware generates 3,162 impressions over its lifetime. 
  • 30% of consumers who receive drinkware are more likely to do business with  
  • 63% of consumers would keep and use promo drinkware for one year or longer.
Infinity pencil being used to draw on a notebook.

Writing instruments are mainstays in the promo industry due to their low cost and high impressions impact: a metal pen that costs $1 will have a cost per impression of less than 1/10 of a cent.  

  • Writing instruments generate 2,436 impressions over their lifetime. 
  • 30% of consumers who receive writing instruments say they are more likely to do business with the advertiser that gave it to them. 
  • 52% of consumers would keep and use promo writing instruments for one year or longer.  

    Ready to sprinkle in some swag spice into your next marketing campaign? Talk to Tactive about how to bring your promo dreams to (real) life.