By Mark Ditteaux

The world of B2B marketing is complex and diverse. From using SEO for lead generation to direct mail to help with branding, a company has a lot of options when deciding how to spend their marketing dollars. However, one marketing tactic that should never be overlooked is the use of promotional items.

Why Should B2B Marketing Include Imprinted Items?

In short, promotional items are some of the most affordable types of B2B marketing available, and they often yield the best results. It puts the name of the company in front of the desired end user time and time again. This repetitive visualization is what is often required for a company to finally decide to do business with another company.

Additionally, promotional items are much more effective than standard direct mail advertising because they usually do not just get thrown in the trash. Not only that, but the ROI is hard to compete with. The cost of most imprinted items is minimal compared to other lead generation techniques, and the amount of customers it can garner is quite dramatic.

Which Promotional Items to Choose?

While imprinted items can be ideal for B2B marketing, not all of them are created equal. A successful marketing campaign using promotional items focuses on quality over quantity. A company with a limited budget should invest in nicer items for fewer people instead of cheaper items for the masses. Generic, run-of-the-mill, cheap items will just end up in the trash, while nicer items will be used for many months to come. In fact, it is believed that some of them (like T-shirts and tote bags) are used for years after they are received.

A recent study by Promotional Products Association International (PDF) backs up the belief that it is really all about quality. They surveyed over 700 recipients of promotional items to get an idea of their views of the items they received. When it comes to perceived value, those costing $25 or more definitely made the biggest impression on the recipient. When they were given an item that they believed cost more than $25, 71 percent of them said their opinion of the company improved — or made them more receptive to what the company had to offer. As the price of the item went down, so did the percentage of people who said it altered their opinion of that company. At a price range of $5 or less, only 33 percent of recipients said that the item improved their view of the company.

How Should Imprinted Items Be Used?

OK, so it is clear that promotional items are a necessary part of any B2B marketing campaign — but how exactly should these items be used? According to Marketing Made Simple, there are three main ways to effectively use imprinted items:

  1. Gifts: Promotional items can also be a great way to thank a new client for a recent purchase, congratulate them on a big accomplishment or even spread some holiday cheer.
  2. Advertising: When handed out at trade shows, sent in the mail or given away at the place of business, promotional items serve as an excellent branding tool.
  3. Incentives: Offering useful, high-quality imprinted items with a certain dollar amount spent can also be a very successful way to encourage clients to place bigger orders.

When promotional items are incorporated into a B2B marketing campaign thoughtfully, a company will see large returns. As long as the company chooses unique items that are practical and well made, the ROI will be one of the most impressive in their marketing portfolio.