This is a picture of my real junk drawer. *Notice the plastic baggie full of flash lights, key chains and pens–all from the same company, hoping I’ll call them someday. And the can koozies hiding among the phone charger and batteries.* Admit it, you have a junk drawer, too: the one filled with odds and ends of promotional pens, stress balls, and notepads. Maybe you picked up these items at a business expo or local event. Maybe you even used it. Or maybe it just got tossed into the junk drawer. As business owners, we understand these items all have a place in marketing, but the important question is this: do you have a complete, comprehensive marketing strategy in place for your promotional products?

junk drawer

One of the most effective uses of promotional products I have seen is a simple fly swatter. But what takes this fly swatter from ordinary to extraordinary is that it is branded by an exterminating company and given to new homeowners who are making that all important decision: who do I call for “fill-in-the-blank.” This is marketing branded promotional products with a clear purpose!

Some other smart uses of smart uses of promotional products I’ve seen include:

  • The sponsor of a beer garden at an outdoor festival uses branded stadium cups. Each time a consumer purchases a new beer, a new cup is offered. I actually saw some event attendees collecting their cups like it was a trophy!
  • A home security company provides key fobs to new homeowners in a welcome basket provided by the Real Estate agent. This is a double benefit, as the homeowner has his keys in his hand every day, and the home security company is being endorsed by the Realtor®, someone the homeowner has come to trust explicitly.
  • For B2B companies, a local printer offers mints in a branded tin. Every time the business owner heads into a meeting, she pops a breath mint, and sees the printers logo.

In a nutshell, consider these thoughts when creating a promotional product marketing campaign, just as you would any other marketing campaign. Understand the objective. Is the goal of your promotional campaign to build brand awareness? Boost sales? Show customer appreciation? Knowing the answer at the start will help you to proceed in the right direction with your promo campaign. Your item could: spark a conversation, be useful, make people smile, create trust, or solve a problem.

So, even if it’s just a fun new twist on your promotional can koozie or water bottle label, can you think of ways to use these ideas in your next promotional product marketing campaign, that won’t end up in someone else’s junk drawer?