Are promo products worth the investment?
The scene is familiar. The event was intended to be spent representing the brand, the business, and getting some new leads, but it feels like the pens at the booth — shiny and new and emblazoned with the company logo — are just going to be drowned out by everyone else’s promotional items. The booth next door is giving out flash drives. Attendees are sporting new marked bags.
Maybe the pens should just be hidden under the booth — maybe they’ll be used at another event where they’ll be more appreciated.
We’re here to tell you that’s just the anxiety talking. Let’s get out of that headspace and into the real world. That’s right, let’s look at some good ol’ fashioned research!
The answer lies in understanding a few facets of the B2B sale — what you have to overcome, how business decisions are made, and who you’re selling to.
(Spoiler: Yes, promo products are still worth it.)
What are we up against?
B2B sales are hard. The decision-making unit of a business is oftentimes nebulous, comprised of more than just a few people, and the risk of a business purchase is almost always higher than a consumer purchase. Imagine if buying an apple at the store carried the same risk as buying a car — that’s the majority of B2B purchase decisions.
Furthermore, decision makers are busy! Because of this, they’ve become unconsciously selective of the emails they receive, the copy they read, and the ads they view.
The real problem, then, is how to acquire and retain the attention of our prospects.
We’ve all become very good at ignoring ads and letting our inboxes fill up. Digital and print advertising mediums are largely one-and-done channels; their attention and recollection abilities are relatively small. Promotional products, however, stick around.
A 2016 study by ASI interviewed over 100,000 consumers in the U.S. alone, as well as interviews in Canada, Europe, and Australia. The study showed that the usefulness of the item is a major deciding factor in whether or not to keep it. Items like bags, calendars, desk accessories, and drinkware rank top among items kept due to usefulness. Promotional items are also kept for a long time, 8 months on average — that’s a lot of time for your brand to sit in front of a prospect!
How are decisions made in B2B sales?
There are a lot of factors that affect B2B decision-making. One factor, not surprisingly, is emotion. B2B International claims that the question is not if these decisions are affected by emotion, but rather to what extent. They conclude that the majority of decisions are influenced by emotion. This works in the favor of anyone using promotional products to help close deals.
The 2016 ASI study also revealed that positive emotions are most often associated with promotional products. If you’re looking to delight your prospects during the sales cycle, a branded gift is the way to go.
Who are you selling to?
An important factor when trying to close a deal is knowing who you’re talking to. Currently, millennials are the largest generation in the workforce, and more and more of them are becoming decision makers.
When it comes to promotional products, a PPAI study revealed that 88% of millennials have a more favorable impression of a brand after receiving a promotional item. Furthermore, most millennials will research a brand after receiving an item, meaning the pen you give out isn’t being lost among a sea of other branded items.
To a generation that by and large ignores or rejects advertisements, promotional products have the unique ability to break through the noise and present a consistent, pleasant brand awareness that can help you close business.
Millennials aside, similar data has been found in other generations. Promotional products tend to evoke favorable impressions of a business, emotions that can serve as the perfect foundation for further sales discussions.
Why Promo Products Work
In an environment where we’re competing for attention, it becomes increasingly more important to claim a space for your business if you want to close deals.
Promotional items serve many purposes. They can break through the noise of advertisements, emails, calls, texts, and blogs to consistently and reliably display your brand for months on end. They are excellent tools to delight a prospect during the sales cycle, leading to a more favorable impression of your brand and a more willing participant in sales discussions. They also more easily break through the generation that has traditionally shunned all other forms of self-promotion.
We know promotional items work, which is why we’ve recently opened our promotional store. You’re sure to find the perfect item to showcase your brand at your next event or sales meeting! Happy selling!