To answer this question, I am going to use an excerpt from wikipedia.org
Products and uses
Promotional merchandise is used globally to promote brands, products, and corporate identity. They are also used as giveaways at events, such as exhibitions and product launches. Promotional products can be used for non-profit organizations to promote their cause, as well as promote certain events that they hold, such as walks or any other event that raises money for a cause.
Almost anything can be branded with a company’s name or logo and used for promotion. Common items include t-shirts, caps, keychains, posters, bumper stickers, pens, mugs, koozies, toys or mouse pads. The largest product category for promotional products is wearable items, which make up more than 30% of the total. Eco-friendly promotional products such as those created from recycled materials and renewable resources have been experiencing a significant surge in popularity.
Most promotional items are relatively small and inexpensive, but can range to higher-end items; for example celebrities at film festivals and award shows are often given expensive promotional items such as expensive perfumes, leather goods, and electronics items. Companies that provide expensive gifts for celebrity attendees often ask that the celebrities allow a photo to be taken of them with the gift item, which can be used by the company for promotional purposes. Other companies provide luxury gifts such as handbags or scarves to celebrity attendees in the hopes that the celebrities will wear these items in public, thus garnering publicity for the company’s brand name and product.
Brand awareness is the most common use for promotional items. Other objectives that marketers use promotional items to facilitate include employee relations and events, tradeshow traffic-building, public relations, new customer generation, dealer and distributor programs, new product introductions, employee service awards, not-for-profit programs, internal incentive programs, safety education, customer referrals, and marketing research.
Promotional items are also used in politics to promote candidates and causes. Promotional items as a tool for non-commercial organizations, such as schools and charities are often used as a part of fund raising and awareness-raising campaigns. A prominent example was the livestrong wristband, used to promote cancer awareness and raise funds to support cancer survivorship programs and research.
Using promotional merchandise in Guerrilla Marketing involves branding in such a way as to create a specific visual effect, attracting more attention.
The giving of corporate gifts vary across international borders and cultures, with the type of product given often varying from country to country.
Promotional merchandise is rarely bought directly by corporate companies from the actual manufacturers of the promotional products. A manufacturer’s expertise lies in the physical production of the products, but getting a product in front of potential customers is a completely different skill set and a complex process. Within the UK & Ireland promotional merchandise industry a comprehensive network of promotional merchandise distributor companies exist. A promotional merchandise distributor is defined as a company who “has a dedicated focus to the sale of promotional merchandise to end users”. (An ‘end user’ is a corporate company or organisation that purchases promotional merchandise for their own use.) These distributor companies have the expertise to not only take the product to market, but are also to provide the expert support required. The unique aspect of promotional merchandise is that on most occasions the product is printed with the logo, or brand, of a corporate organisation. The actual manufacturers rarely have the set up to actually print the item. Promotional merchandise distributor companies are expert in artwork and printing processes. In addition to this the promotional merchandise distributors also provide full support in processing orders, artwork, proofing, progress chasing & delivery of promotional products from multiple manufacturing sources.
- “schwag”. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
- “The bpma Resource Centre”. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
- “Distributor Sales Reach Record $22.9 Billion”. ASI. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- “Industry Stats”. Australasian Promotional Products Association. n.d. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
- Maria Carlton and David Blaise, 2004 (2013). “The Exceptional Marketing Power of Promotional Products, excerpt from the book The Power of Promotional Products” (PDF). Australia: Promotion Products Pty Ltd. p. 13. Retrieved 1 May 2014.