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My coworker and I were having a conversation this summer about a brand awareness marketing campaign. Our budget was really tight, so we were trying to come up with a list of possible communications mediums that would be cost effective.



We made at a list of possible ideas for spreading brand awareness that is cost effective for a small business:


  • Networking and community events
  • Give free class/presentation
  • News articles in a newspaper or magazine
  • Host networking event
  • Blog/Vlog/Social Media
  • Newsletters
  • Website
  • Direct Mail
  • Direct Email
  • Newspaper/Magazine/Online Advertising
  • Telemarketing
  • Promotional Branded Material

We were trying to come up with innovative ideas for a new campaign. As we pooled our heads together, we came up with something involving the last item on the list: promotional branded material. How could we use this in a novel way that would create an impact on our target market?

Some of you are probably thinking, “Why on earth would you choose promotional branded material for a cost effective marketing campaign while you could do something with greater reach like direct mail or social media?”

The Research

I was looking at research done with promotional material, and found some pretty impressive stats. Here’s a quote from an article in Marketing by Mark Freed called Trinkets to Treasure (2006). “A recent study conducted by the Promotional Products Association International of 800 business travellers in the Dallas/tort Worth International Airport, found that 71% had a promotional product with them when interviewed; 100% could recall the item; and 86% could recall the name of the advertiser.”

That last part really struck a light bulb with us. In another article, they said that: “…the average coffee mug is used more than 2000 times, offering over 2000 promotional opportunities, this is sure to be a cost-effective and successful trend.”

So we thought of a few ways we could use branded material in our marketing communication mix.

  • Since we already sponsor business golf tournaments, we could bring a table at our hole and give away branded tees and golf markers with our logo and website on them.
  • We thought about sending a direct mail campaign to potential clients. Since our brochures would be placed in envelopes (to minimize trash mail), we could include a branded pen in it so they could have our logo in front of them all day in the office.
  • We thought about taking branded mugs with us when we go to business meetings and leave them with our clients.
  • We also thought of sending engraved wine kits to our most loyal clients, in order to thank them for their business, and possibly keep them as a retainer.

These were only a few of the ideas that came up during our brainstorming. It is hard to come up with novel ideas in a traditional B2B environment (Management Consulting industry). What do you think? Do you use promotional material in your marketing mix? Do you use it in an innovative way? What do you think works or doesn’t work?