7 Promotional Product Mistakes Your Company Should Avoid

Industry Insights August 07, 2023

Learn about the promotional mistakes that your company should avoid. We break down the top five reasons why promotional items might not be as successful as you might hope.

Promotional Product Mistakes

With more than a decade of experience in the promotional marketing sector, we want to make sure your company is getting the most value for your money when ordering promotional swag items. Whether you are using these promotional items as employee gifts, handing them out to clients, or trade show attendees, your business should take into account a few things. This can include what competitors are offering and what the best approach is to give your target audience a promotional item that they will enjoy. Then through this and the use of promotional giveaways, learn more about your business, therefore giving your company more brand awareness and loyalty. Since we consider ourselves to be experts in the field, we have gathered the seven most common mistakes made and how you’ll want to avoid them in the future.

1. No Clear Objective

Are you trying to thank employees for their dedication to the business or showing your appreciation for their hard work? Are you looking to drive traffic to your website, get email addresses or leads? Maybe you are simply trying to provide easy contact information to new clients rather than giving a business card away. Whatever you might be doing, you need to define the objective for your promotional product. For example, if you are looking for a product that is practical so your recipients will use it every day because your objective is to increase brand awareness, it might make sense to hand out a classic promotional water bottle. On the other hand, if you want to drive traffic to your site through more unconventional means to help you stand out from your competitors, something more specific like a duck shaped rubber duckie or another type of unique promotional product might help you achieve that goal. Be sure to put some thought into it for how much you want custom printed and the print space each item will provide you to gain what you want with your promotional giveaway.

2. Choosing Poor Quality Products

If you are on a tight budget, it might make sense to order cheap promotional items, but that does not mean you should buy cheaply made or low-quality promotional products. If the promotional giveaways are perceived by your target audience as cheap or flimsy, it can reflect poorly on your brand. The point of promotional products is to promote and represent your business, so it's important to select items of good quality that reflect positively on your brand's image. Without taking this into consideration, it can negatively affect your overall brand image in the long run. While we do offer a wide selection of cheap promotional items under $1, it does not mean that they are poorly made products. Be sure to check the material of a product before you buy. We also recommend you consider ordering a sample of the product to ensure high quality products.

3. Ignoring the Target Audience

Not considering the preferences and needs of your target audience is a critical mistake. The point of offline marketing like this is to connect with your audience and that cannot be done with products they might disconnect from. Promotional products should resonate with the recipients and be relevant to their interests and lifestyle. Failing to do so might lead to the products being discarded right away after someone receives them, defeating the purpose of using them as marketing tools. This is why we have curated a list of some of the most popular industries that take advantage of branded merchandise to get their message across.

4. Insufficient Distribution Planning

Even the most awesome promotional products won't have the desired impact if they don't reach the right people. Much like the mistake above, if you don’t consider the best means to hand out the product, your overall objective and promotional product purpose might fail to have a lasting impact on the recipient. Having a well-thought-out distribution plan is crucial because this also has an effect on how people will perceive your company or brand. Consider how you'll get the products to your target audience, whether it's through events, direct mail, in-store giveaways, or other channels. The presentation of the product is also important to consider. If you are handing out some corporate gifts, it might make sense to take the promotional item out of its original packaging then put the item in a more traditional gift bag. Whereas at a business conference, it might make more sense to hand out a promotional goodie bag that can include a variety of products. How you hand out your materials is just as important as what the product itself is.

5. Overcomplicating Design and Messaging

Keep the design and messaging of your promotional products simple and clear. Too much information or a cluttered design can confuse recipients and dilute your message. If the audience cannot read your brand logo on the promotional pen, then it doesn’t really make sense to use those pens as promotional products. The goal is to create a memorable and impactful product that communicates your brand's essence effectively. This can also relate to the correct printing method depending on the material and product type you are ordering. If the wrong branding method is chosen, your messaging might not last as long on the product and therefore, leading to an ineffective product. Read more about the printing methods in our Printing Methods Guide or more in depth in our Glossary on the method-specific pages.

6. Bulk Order Versus Low Minimum Promotional Items

Since printing a product has some upfront costs that include the printing methods, it makes sense to reduce those by ordering in bulk one time instead of smaller quantities more often. If possible, ordering larger quantities to use throughout the year can provide many benefits including:

  • Being able to customize the product more to reflect your company’s or brand’s unique personality by allowing us to source directly from the manufacturer
  • Lowering your cost per unit with our all-inclusive pricing
  • Making sure you’re always prepared for last-minute promotional swag giveaways that always pop up

If you cannot or do not want to order such large quantities of products at once, for whatever reason, we do offer products with low minimum promotional items.

7. Waiting Until the Last Minute

Since in most cases, many products need to be ordered and printed, it is important to order as soon as possible and not wait until the last minute. Since in many cases you will need to order large amounts, it is always best to give the process some wiggle room. However, if you are pressed for time, we offer rush production with our express products. That means your products can be produced within 48 hours of approving your artwork. Then you still have the option, on top of the express production, to choose express shipping, which will get your products to you even faster than regular ships. In many cases, this can become expensive, so be sure to consider this in advance if you are on a tight budget. Of course these situations do come up and allbranded will always be here to help with expedited production and or shipping needs for any client but it is always best to order ahead of time to guarantee a budget friendly price and enough time to receive your promotional swag. If you have any questions, simply reach out to us using our contact form.

If you are able to avoid these common mistakes when shopping for promotional swag, then you’re off to the right start. Browse our online store today to begin customizing your promotional items and save the most when you order in bulk.