When does a promotional item become a corporate gift?

When you hear the words 'promotional item' and 'corporate gift', chances are they almost ring as identical in your mind. Indeed, they are both used as marketing tools. However, they work in very different ways by companies of all different sizes.

Corporate gifts

Corporate gifts are a great way for companies to reach out to clients or potential customers and nurture these valuable working relationships. In a time when there is a great deal of economic uncertainty, they offer an affordable and creative way of marketing your business to employees, suppliers, customers and business associates.

Although this target market is smaller than you'd see in some of your wider marketing, in many cases they can hold greater importance to you. Not only can they be more influential in your business, but the gesture of a corporate gift can have more of an impact on them. It can help to strengthen relationships, and convey appreciation or thanks. This can hold huge value when growing your business, and can also boost staff morale and help your team to become more passionate and motivated.

Corporate gifts are often more expensive than promotional items, and are high-quality. This is important in order for it to be effective. For example, instead of your typical promotional pens, you might consider gifting a solid engraved silver fountain pen. Or instead of a branded notebook you may consider a moleskin notepad. Other standard gifts include activity days, sports accessories and golf kits.

Promotional gifts

Promotional products are equally as valuable as corporate gifts, although they offer themselves as a different marketing strategy. Typically promotional merchandise is intended for a wider audience - often one that will be passing by your business at an event, conference or receiving your items in a goody bag, and won't necessarily have heard of your business before.

The goal is less about cost or quality, and more about aiming to reach as many people as possible. It's about boosting brand awareness and increasing customer loyalty. Often promotional gifts will be used to help new and existing customers learn more about who you are and what you do, and also to keep your name in their mind long after they have met you.

They can act as ongoing adverts - this includes pens, t-shirts, hats, bags, notebooks, magnets, desk jotters, and so forth. Ultimately the item needs to be practical - something that can be used on a daily basis, easily integrated into the recipient's every day life. It also needs to be quite general, in order to serve a wide and diverse audience. This will help you to keep your brand name visible.

Which to opt for?

Ultimately, the two types of products serve different purposes. Think about what you want to achieve and why? Who is it that you want to reach and what do you hope their response will be? Knowing which to use and when can significantly impact how successful and effective you are, the bottom line on your budget, and the results you see through adopting these marketing strategies. The key is for them to benefit your company, not hinder it.

Tagged under: gifts, corporate

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