ASI Survey: Promotional Products More Cost Effective

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With the economy uncertain, it’s comforting to see that promotional products, also known as ad specialties, outperform other types of business advertising… by a lot. In times like these, when you might only have limited resources, getting your business noticed and remembered with promotional products is a good investment.
Adweek has the story on a just released new study conducted by theAdvertising Specialty Institute that found promotional products beat out all other forms of advertising — powerhouses like TV, radio and print — as the most cost effective way to promote a business. The research was conducted by a team of interviewers who talked with 600 travelers in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. The majority of respondents were businesspeople over the age of 21.
ASI figures have advertising specialties (i.e promotional products) accounting for 13% of the advertising market. In 2007 these products generated $19.6 billion in sales. 
“During a time when we’re facing turbulent economic conditions, this research advises marketers and business owners to invest in advertising specialties now more than ever,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of the Advertising Specialty Institute.  “Advertising specialties provide measurable results for a very reasonable investment.” 

Of those surveyed…
  • 84% remember the advertiser on a product they’d received.
  • 42% have a more favorable impression of an advertiser after receiving a promotional product.
  • 24% are more likely to do business with an advertiser based on the items they receive. 
  • 62% have already done business with the advertiser on a product after receiving it.
  • 81% of promotional products were kept because they were useful.
  • More than three-quarters of respondents have had their items for about 7 months.
  • Bags were reported to be used most often, an average of 9 times a month.

And if these numbers aren’t enough, consider the cost of promotional products as compared to other advertising choices you might make…

The average cost-per-impression of a promotional product is $0.004, compared to Nielsen Media data that quote a national magazine ad at $0.033; a newspaper ad at $0.0129; a prime time TV ad at $0.019; a cable TV ad at $0.007; a syndicated TV ad at $0.006; and a spot radio ad at $0.005.

When it comes to which products the respondents mentioned most often, writing instruments are the most common, with 54% having them, followed by shirtscaps and bags

So…as a business owner, promotional products appear to give you a better return on your investment, you don’t have to spend a lot per unit, and people really remember who gave them that neat pen or handyflashlight. More than this, you’re working to build loyalty that shows up in repeat patronage and lasting business relationships.
Maybe the effectiveness of promotional products lies in the fact that they are able to break through the glut of information… touch a customer (or employee) in a very personal way. Maybe these survey results show us that being able to hold an item in your hand… to look at something every single day… has a value no one expected. And the best part is that promotional products offer you so many affordable, creative ways to get your business noticed… and remembered.
To see the full results of the Advertising Specialties Effectiveness Study from ASI, visit If you need additional information, you can get in touch with Larry Basinait, executive director of research for ASI directly at

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