What the Heck Is a Promotional Product?

Well, a lot depends on whom you ask. The Fortune 50 Executive would consider a debossed leather writing portfolio as a suitable imprinted executive gift, while the outreach director at the local church would go for the $.40 refrigerator magnet listing the service times.  The college recruitment director will say it refers to imprinted highlighters, while the safety director at the plant see an imprinted first aid kit as the ideal personalized promotional product.

At last count, the trade association for custom logo merchandise (PPAI) lists over 750,000 different promotional logo   products in its database. And the number is still rising. 2007 sales for this dynamic advertising medium topped $18 billion dollars, up 14% over the previous year. In fact, according to PPAI, the industry is growing at a faster rate that newspaper, internet, or radio advertising.

It all started back in 1904, when the first custom imprinted promotional products appeared on the scene. Back then, cutting edge marketers used imprinted match books, rain gauges, buggy whip covers, paper fans, imprinted marble bags, playing cards, and wooden yardsticks as a means of putting their advertising message in front of customers.  In the 1920’s, calendar advertising accounted for over 70% of all custom printed promotional products, and writing instruments were over 15%.  Imprinted bottle openers, combs, key fobs, rulers and canvas bags made up the rest.

Today, corporate logo apparel is the largest product category by dollar amount spent, followed by writing instruments, coffee cups, computer accessories, and health care promotional merchandise.

So the answer?  There really is no one definition of a promotional product.  It could be any imaginable item branded with a corporate or organization’s message, used in marketing, or communication programs.  To make your search for the perfect promotional product easier, Identity-Links has categorized and then sub-categorized the most popular 10,000 advertising logo gifts in a user – friendly system.  We might not know the exact definition of a custom promotional product, but we sure know what will work best for your target audience.

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