Giving away the House

Basic knowledge of social structures or people in general dictates that people love free stuff. You can call it a promotion, a product sample or whatever you would like, but when it comes down to it, you are giving something away for free. The hope obviously is that the item will either have enough of an effect on the recipient to convert them into a customer, or that the item will be passed along or somehow publicly displayed so that many people will be reminded of your brand. If implemented correctly, giving away your product or a branded product can be a great way to increase brand awareness or even promote a specific product.


  • Make the product pertinent to your brand or the recipient: If you are giving away samples of your products, you obviously have this covered. If not, try to find something that meshes with your brand. If you are a handyman, then maybe a branded screwdriver or tape measure is appropriate. You can also cater to your audience. If you are trying to get IT people to recommend your software to their boss, give away thumb drives or tastefully logoed laptop skins. Otherwise you might find yourself picking up a bunch of your branded pens off of the seats of people who prefer to type.
  • Make it useful: Keychains are easy–and cheap–to have branded, but who really wants your keychain? Don’t take it personally, but unless it has some other useful feature, the answer is “Nobody!” It will end up in a drawer or a trash can. Is that where you would store your marketing budget? Choose items that people want and can/will actually use.
  • Be different- Ever been to a trade show and walked out with 18 pens, 11 branded notepads, 5 stress balls and 2 hats? So has everyone else. The point of marketing is to stick out, not to blend in with the pack. Look at what trends are going on right now and jump on the train. (Just jump off before the trend dies!) Silly Bands are in the exit stage, but how much attention would a bunch of Silly Bands in the shape of your logo have gotten two months ago? A lot more attention than a box of pens, you can guarantee that.


  • Expect people to be walking billboards- Obviously you want people to spread the word for you, but don’t expect them to want to walk around advertising you. If you put your logo on a t-shirt, then make sure something else is on there as well. You can go in on the promotion with another company that people don’t mind advertising. Ever been to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game? People wear those shirts and hats around after the fact, not because they have the sponsor’s logo–yet the sponsor still reaps the benefits.
  • Give away trinkets- This might sound a lot like the advice about making your promotional giveaway a useful item and have you wondering why we are being redundant. We are reinforcing the point because you are drawing from a finite budget, and giving away useless objects that no one wants is like burning cash. If you really feel that you should give away mouse pads and really believe that people will be thrilled to change out the mouse pad that they already own, then you better make sure that you have an extremely unique design or maybe you should look into another marketing outlet.

Promotional giveaways are a great, and often cost effective, way to help promote yourself. Just don’t get caught up in the pitfalls that can ruin your promotion. Take the time to plan and think about your brand, your audience and the item that bridges the gap between the two. If you would like to learn more or have an opportunity to share ideas with other professionals in the field, visit us online for more information.


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