Corporate Eye

Invest in Bags – Not Ads

If you rely on new data from a study by Advertising Specialty Institute that was released this week, then you’ll shift much of your advertising budget into promotional items like bags, coffee cups and magnets. 

According to the study which surveyed 600 consumers (primarily businesspeople), promotional items are better at getting the attention of consumers and doing so at a lower cost-per-impression of just $0.004 on average vs. $0.33 for national magazine ads and $0.019 for prime time television ads.

Following are some of the survey findings (via Brandweek):

  • 84% recall the advertiser after receiving a promotional item
  • 42% report a favorable impression of the advertiser after receiving a promotional item
  • 24% are more likely to do business with the advertiser after receiving a promotional item
  • 62% have done business with an advertiser after receiving a promotional item
  • 81% keep promotional items that they consider to be useful
  • 75%+ keep promotional items for over 7 months

Clearly among this audience of businesspeople, promotional items boost recognition, recall, and business.  Additionally, promotional items deliver a great ROI based on their longevity.

What’s the best promotional item to invest in?  Bags.  According to the study:

  • Bags deliver the most impressions – 1,038 per month on average.
  • Respondents use bags the most (out of all wearables) – 9 times per month on average.
  • Pens and other writing instruments are the most common promotional giveaway followed by shirt, hats and bags.

It could be argued that shifting your marketing budget from advertising to promotional items might be the way to go, particularly in the midst of a weak economy.  I’d be very interested to see the results of this survey among average consumers (i.e., not an audience made up 100% of business people) to see how the results differ in terms of brand perception and sales.  However, it certainly can be argued that B2B marketers should not cut (or skimp on) their promotional item budgets.

What do you think?

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Give aways are great especially during our economic times when everyone is looking for something FREE. What about a next generation promotional product that delivers measurable ROI, the ability to track the promotions’ performance, and the opportunity to generate sales, leads, and survey results? Interested in learning more?


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