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The Power of the Promotional Pen

promotional penIn today’s challenging economic climate it may be difficult to allocate resources for promotional items, however, it may be one line item to consider keeping in the budget. First of all, the item doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as a pen with your information on it, which you give out (at tradeshows or even with direct mail) to promote your business.

The truth of the matter is that everyone uses a pen. How many times do you clean out your junk drawer to find a pen from your bank or from a retail store that you shop at? When you pull it out you automatically think of that particular place, and you have a pen to jot down that note.

According to a 2010 study by The Advertising Speciality Institute (ASI), a single pen is used on average 18.2 times per month, making it the most frequently used promotional product category.

Even in today’s digital world, many of us use our smart phones to keep track of our schedules, notes, and more, but sometimes a pen and paper (yes, the old-fashioned way!) is the only solution to gather your thoughts or diagram the situation.

Second of all, that pen may travel further then you expect because pens are often like money in that they move from hand-to-hand so that pen, which started with an original customer, may end up with someone else. Anyone that doesn’t believe in the power of suggestion and impressions is living in a marketing-free world.

ASI research listed the pen as the third highest promotional product delivering 437 impressions per month. The first two highest impressions per products are bags (1,078 impressions) and caps & hat (443 impressions). For many organizations, however, a pen is the most cost-efficient method to reach a much larger cross section of customers.

If you’ve ever been to a conference or tradeshow, you know the booths that get the most traffic. In many cases, it’s the booths that have a free fun item that people want…and then the people at the booth are able to engage this person in conversation and potentially make a new contact, secure a new customer, or at the least give a positive impression of the organization’s brand.

According to the book, “Shift, How to Reinvent Your Business, Your Career, and Your Personal Brand,” by Peter Arnell: “Branding is primarily about creating emotion.” Emotions are linked to relationships, and each time you engage with a customer you are developing a relationship.

Maybe a pen isn’t the solution for your specific business, but other promotional items may be right to tell your story. Either way, don’t cut corners on this particular budget line item. Something as simple and useful as a pen may be your key to “writing” your way to positive marketing ROI. 

Contact us for more information.

Image Source: © Kalani –

The Effectiveness of Promotional Items Proven by ASI’s 2012 Study

Promotional giveaways remain one of the most popular, effective and long-lasting forms of advertising available today. The Advertising Specialty Institute’s 2012 Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study V. 3 (A Cost Analysis of Promotional Products versus Other Advertising Media) delivers some impressive results for promotional products. Following are the key findings of the study.

The most popular products by categories are writing instruments, shirts, bags, calendars, desk/office accessories, caps/headwear, drinkware, USB/flash drives, health & safety products, and outerwear.

Consider these statistics:

  • 50% of U.S. consumers own writing instruments with a logo.
  • 43% of U.S. consumers own a promotional shirt.
  • 29% of U.S. consumers own a promotional bag.
  • 21% of U.S. consumers own a promotional calendar.
  • 17 % of U.S. consumers own a desk accessory with a logo.
  • 16% of U.S. consumers own a promotional hat.
  • 14 % of U.S. consumers own branded drinkware.
  • 9% of U.S. consumers own a USB drive with a logo.
  • 8% of U.S. consumers own promotional health and safety products.
  • 5% of U.S. consumers own promotional outerwear.

All combined, that’s a lot of people!

Respondents were asked how long they kept the promotional items they had received in the past year. The study found that awards were kept longest, for 7.6 months, and writing instruments were kept for the shortest amount of time, 5.1 months. The average was 5.8 months for all promotional products, which indicates far longer staying power than any other form of advertising.

What happens to promotional items that are not kept? The study found that 66% of recipients gave the item away to someone else, thus taking the advertising to a new audience.

Another crucial finding was that consumers are far more likely to keep a promotional item that is useful: 81% keep an item for its practicality. Awards are kept by 61% of recipients simply because they enjoy them.

Perhaps the most compelling part of the findings is that owners of ad specialties recall the advertiser’s name 87% of the time, while 97% of outerwear recipients remember the advertiser.

Over half of the time, specialties create a more favorable impression of the advertiser, and 31% of recipients indicated that they were more likely to do business with the advertiser in the future.

Finally, the study found that “promotional products deliver the same or a better ROI than other forms of media.” However, considering the costs of television or radio advertising, promotional products have the potential of offering more value.

Looking for an effective one-two punch? Combine promotional items with direct mail like we discussed in this video.

Need help with personalized promotional items? No job is too small or too large, so contact us today.

How the Sports Marketing Industry Uses Promotional Items to Fuel their Campaigns

Closeup of American Football on FieldAlthough athletes have to take a day or two off after a big game to recover, their dedicated fans don’t let up on non-game days. Marketers understand that every fan matters and, as a result, they try to keep the fire burning bright 365 days a year.

There is some talk that Robert Griffin, the long shot Heisman trophy winner in 2012 had promotional items to thank for his victory. Specifically, Baylor College mailed trading cards to voters and sports reporters that featured Griffin.

Baylor assistant athletic director Heath Nielsen commented on this promotional campaign and Griffin’s ultimate success. “Robert won the Heisman through his play and his teammates’ play, but I credit these mailings as being key to keeping his name on the forefront of voters’ and media members’ minds.”

Northwestern University supported Dan Persa’s quest for the Heisman by sending two seven pound purple dumbbells and a pitch letter to 80 big time college sports reporters. The purple represented one of the school’s colors, and the 7 pound weight was chosen to represent Persa’s jersey number.

Here’s what assistant athletic director for communications at Northwestern, Michael J. Wolf had to say about this innovative attempt to get the media’s attention: “We wanted to create a gimmick that would get people talking, and the mailings definitely did that.”

Top executives in the sports marketing industry know that their fans bring the energy, excitement and passion needed for a successful season. Getting the media’s attention in creative ways, and putting together a campaign that creates buzz amongst fans and gets the word out is the ultimate goal of any top sports executive.

Speaking of Sports Marketing: We’d love to meet you in person in Orlando at the National Sports Forum between January 27th and 29th. We’ll be at booth 138. Please stop by!

Image Source: © Danny Hooks –

New Promotional Item Idea – Custom Twinkies

Update: as you probably know, the company that makes Twinkies went out of business. So unless another company buys the brand, this promotional item will be unavailable.

Custom Twinkies? Yes!

This promotional item might not stick around for as long as a pen, mug or hat would, but it would definitely be a big hit at a tradeshow or company event.

It’s both different and delicious.

The Twinkies are wrapped in clear cellophane and then placed in a white cellophane wrapper that you can customize with a one color imprint. You also have the option of wrapping the Twinkies up in gold or silver foil instead of white cellophane.

The minimum is 250 Twinkies and pricing goes as low as $1.10 per piece plus shipping. If you’re interested in additional pricing, or you want more premium ideas, please contact us.


New Promotional Item Idea – Slap Wristband USB Drive

Here’s a new promotional item idea that is convenient and has many uses – slap wristband USB drive! This product is especially applicable to education, software and tradeshow companies, but don’t forget about company or sales presentations.

Some quick facts:

  • USB Interface – USB 2.0 Full/High
  • Material – Soft silicone with metal inside
  • Color Options – Black, Green, Orange, Red, Blue, White & Yellow
  • Capacity Options – 512MB, 1GB, 2GB & 4GB
  • Imprint – Up to 5 colors

To give you an idea of pricing, the minimum is 100 pieces and the price is $7.20 to $8.70 each depending on the drive capacity chosen. Turnaround time is 7 days plus shipping.

Please contact us with any questions or to inquire about discount pricing on larger quantities.

Slap Wristband USB Drive