Promotional merchandise for events: your questions answered

Everyone loves a free gift! Not only is promotional merchandise popular with customers, but it can also be a powerful and cost-effective marketing tool for your brand. Particularly when combined with a live event scenario, promotional merchandise promotes brand recognition and ensures potential new customers remember your brand long after your event is over.

What is promotional merchandise?

Promotional merchandise can be almost anything! In general promotional merchandise usually takes the form of small, cheap-to-produce items;such as pens, pencils, notebooks, mouse mats or bottles of water. Essentially, anything that you attach your brand to and give away for free is promotional merchandise!

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Promotional Merchandise

The importance of promotional merchandise for events

Research by the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) highlights the success of promotional products in improving brand recognition and increasing sales. 87% of people who received a free promotional product still had it after a year, and 66% could still recall the brand on that product without looking. 79% of recipients of free promotional gifts said they would be likely to do business with that company again. Around half of those who received a promotional gift said that it improved their impression of the company.

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Promotional Merchandise

Creating promotional merchandise for events

When you are thinking about creating promotional merchandise for your event, the most important thing to consider is your target audience. Think about who your customers are and what they do. If they tend to be office-based you may want to consider giving away items that they will keep on their desk and use or look at frequently, such as pens, post-its and USB sticks, for example. However if they are likely to be on the road a lot you may want to consider a car air freshener, water bottle or keyring, for example.

Promotional Merchandise

Type of products

Depending on the type of products or services you offer there may be a particular genre of products that particularly makes sense – for example a leisure centre chain may want to give away a sports bottle, towel or kit bag. The type of event may also dictate the sort of item you think will be successful – in the summertime, for example, a portable fan or pair of flip flops might make more sense than a scarf or umbrella (although giving away umbrellas in summer may turn out to be an inspired choice if there is a sudden unexpected downpour – you’ll have people flocking to your stand and displaying your brand for all to see)!

Promotional merchandise can be an effective partner in event marketing. You can entice visitors to your stand with a tempting free giveaway, or it can act as an effective ice-breaker for starting a conversation with a potential new lead. A suitable giveaway will sustain the campaign experience and remind people of the event further down the line.

There are a number of factors to consider when making your choice of promotional product:

  • Cost – how much are you prepared to spend per item?
  • Quantity – how many items do you need to get?
  • Brand identity – what is the image you want to portray?
  • Impact – do you want to give away a high value item?
  • Distinctiveness – do you want your giveaway to be completely unique?

Consider you main objective

It is important to consider your main objective when prioritising the above factors. You will want to think about the quantity of items that you require – buying in bulk usually brings cost savings – and the impact you want to make. Pens are a popular choice, but they might not stand out from the jumble of merchandise littering your customers’ desks quite like a remote controlled car, for example!

Promotional Merchandise


Promotional merchandise is a really great way to ensure your brand remains at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Giving away a free item also helps to generate a positive impression of your brand. Why not consider using promotional merchandise in conjunction with your next event marketing campaign to maximise recognition of your brand? Contact us to find out how!

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