4 Reasons Why Recycled Promotional Products Create Repeated Exposure

Promoting your company with recycled promotional products is one of the best ways to impact your bottom line without compromising your core values.

Consider this: In the not too distant future, more and more start-ups will be introducing iPhone apps that deliver environmental ratings and information on thousands of everyday products. This information will also be attached to items in your local grocery store. Undoubtedly, consumer’s purchasing decisions will be influenced on a multitude of levels – and those brands that weren’t prepared will be forced to play catch up.

Since our business decisions have global consequences, it makes sense to take the time to understand how recycled promotional products can start benefiting your company right now.

Q: What are the benefits of putting my company logo on a recycled promotional items?

A: First and foremost, if the item is made from virgin material the amount of energy it takes to produce it is magnified many times versus those made from recyclable material. From recycled glass to aluminum, the amount of energy and water saved – not to mention CO2 emissions cut – is substantially higher. More and more consumers are buying products from companies that exhibit environmentally conscious decisions. Slowly switching from petroleum-based promotional products to recycled promotional products is a good first step for any company to take.

Q: What are some sticking points associated with environmentally friendly promotional items?

A: You just came across a photo of your favorite celebrity shopping with a recycled plastic tote bag, and you think to yourself, ‘If she is doing it, why not me?’ It is true that the overall quality of the material can become compromised during the recycling process. Chances are it isn’t as durable as its petroleum-based opposite and won’t be able to be recycled again. It is important to know if that recycled tote bag can be repurposed into something else just in case the question arises.

Q: How will green promotional items help my brand grow in a responsible manner?

A: Perception is nine-tenths of the law. How your customers perceive your brand can make or break your bottom line. If a passerby comes across your logo for the first time and it is attached to a recycled promotional product such as a bag or pen, chances are you will be looked at in a favorable manner. Prioritize with high impressionable items.

Q: Should I tie in an incentive-based sales strategy with recycled promotional products?

A: Yes. Linking a recycled promotional item with your target product will benefit your company in two ways. First, you can sell more of your higher priced items or services if you offer a desirable recycled promotional item as an incentive. Second, since the item bears everyday utility your customer will be a walking billboard, showcasing your company logo to the marketplace. With respects to price points, recycled promotional items are comparable to standard promotional products.

Choosing to promote your company with green promotional items will reinforce your brand’s message in an environmentally responsible manner. The question is not whether you can afford to, but if you can afford not to.

Win New Customers With Innovative Promotional Products

An advertising campaign is similar to playing a game, there are strategies, rules and tactics to be taken into consideration in order to win, in this case you want to win new customers and please your old ones. Marketing strategies have been tried and tested for years before the experts came up with the winning recipes. One of the most valuable techniques in any promotion is to incorporate the use of promotional products.

When you decide to give away promotional items to win new customers and keep your loyal ones is entirely up to you and can be done at any point. But what you should be looking at is what you are aiming at achieving, the money you spend on promotional products has to be money well spent, so will it gain you anything?

A quality promotional product should be one that attracts the attention of the client, a gift that is original and modern is going to be admired and talked about. To attract potential new customers then look for items that fit into this category, you want to be talked about and in order to accomplish this you need something that is a little showy-off and will get tongues wagging, about your product and brand.

Once your brand awareness has been raised then any promotional gifts should be chosen specifically to enhance the image of your company and popularity of your product. With loyal customers, gifts should be chosen with attention to detail and is dependent on the kind of relationship you have with them.

Who is your target audience? Vital research should always be carried out by your marketing team before any money is spent on a campaign. Decide on the type of clientele you want to attract and who to aim your campaign at, these are two important aspects of any promotion if you want it to succeed. Consider the area you want to cover, and the message you want to send out.

Getting your message across should be given a lot of thought, as you don’t want to waste your promotional product impact. It is this that will have an effect on your clientele and attract them to your brand. Keep it nice and simple and this will make it more effective.

Quality is always very important when choosing items. Even if the items you choose are low-cost, such as key tags, pens, mouse mats or printed balloons, the quality of each item should still be of a high standard. Quality made products displaying your company name is a promotional strategy that can only be successful.

How long your promotion will last will depend on the type of promotion product you decide to purchase. Is it going to be a one-off event, such as a trade fair or exhibition, or will it be a longer running campaign that could go on for a month or even a year?

Once you have made all the necessary decisions then re-check through all the details to ensure you haven’t missed anything. Evaluate every aspect and see if it could be improved, and after every promotion always assess it to see if it could have been run any better so that you know for the next time and can subsequently make improvements.

There are all kinds of promotional items available on the market today. Printed balloons are one low-cost but effective promotional product, especially at open days and trade shows. Blown up for full impact kids will just love the bright colors and demand to have one to take home. With your logo or company message printed on them they are the perfect way to advertise as they will be carried around the event for all to see.

Lapel pins are also an innovative idea, use them to support your chosen charity or to raise awareness of a particular project. Maximize the use of your logo by designing your own lapel pins, earrings, refrigerator magnets, car badges, computer pins and even zipper pulls. Check online for original and new promotional product ideas if you want to stay ahead of the competition.

Selling Promotional Products – Ad Specialties

There are marketing and distribution firms that sell promotional products, or ad specialties, everywhere. These include anything you might get as a giveaway, from bobble head dolls to pens to very high tech and innovative products. Since companies will buy quite expensive items to give to customers, and cereal companies, non-profit charities and major credit card companies often give a promotional item away in a mailing, or as an incentive to purchase a specific product, the promotional products market can be quite lucrative for manufacturers that have an in-demand product. If you look into your local phone book for ad specialties or promotional products you will find dozens of companies in most towns. There are also dozens of companies selling promotional products through distributors and manufacturers’ representatives. Small one line companies with innovative products can be very successful in the promotional products market.

Four Sales Approaches

There are four common sales strategies for promotional products, and most companies use all four strategies to maximize their sales.

Trade show attendance

The promotional products industry has several big trade shows where you can set up a booth and potentially meet manufacturers’ representatives and distributors who might sell your product. You can attend one of these first to see what booths are like and what type of promotional materials companies have. You can also look for booths with just a few products that look like they are run by an inventor or small company. Talk to them regarding their experiences and the steps to market they took that were successful. Also discuss whether or not they might want to share a booth at the next show so you can cut costs. Some of the big shows in the industry include:

  • The Motivation Show, Chicago, IL
  • The Promotional Products Expo, every January in Las Vegas

You can learn more about additional trade shows and other industry news by checking out two organizations, the Incentive Marketing Representatives Association, and the Promotional Products Association International.

Trade magazine publicity and advertising

The industry has two major associations: the Promotional Products Association and the Advertising Specialty Association. Both have major trade magazines and both have products listings on their web sites. You can send new promotional product announcements to the magazines (typically no charge), run ads in the magazines, and you can also take out listing in their products directory. The two magazines are listed below:

Using the trade magazines is not as expensive as attending shows, but it also not as effective. You are counting on a small ad or press release getting attention. I do recommend you send out press releases to the magazines but you can’t count on releases and ads alone to generate enough business for you.

Manufacturers’ sales reps

Manufacturers’ representatives carry products from a variety of manufacturers and they sell your product to distributors and large major accounts. You can meet manufactures’ representatives at trade shows, or through magazine publicity, but probably the most cost effective way of reaching reps is through a direct mailing campaign. You may be able find lists of representatives at both the ASI and PPAI web sites. You can also try a Google search for manufacturers’ sales representatives for both Advertising Specialties and Promotional Products.

Once you get a list, you should send out at least a flyer, and possibly a sample to all the representatives on the list. But if you can, you should try to make you rep mailing package as thorough as possible, including

  • Pictures of the product being used
  • Any big sales you may have heard
  • Testimonials or other feedback from satisfied users
  • Materials that the reps and distributors can use for selling the product
  • Price schedules

Reps sell to the distributors which are covered in the next section. There are many, many distributors of promotional products but they all have slightly different sales mixes, one might do embroidered shirts, while others specialize in incentive gifts for employees and another gifts that companies can give to their customers. Manufacturers’ sales representatives are the best way to cut through the clutter and reach the right distributors and customers for your product.


There are many distributors of promotional products and ad specialties in every town. A mid-size city might have 10 distributors and a big city over 100. I feel it is always a good idea for an inventor or small producer to start their marketing campaign by calling on distributors in their town. This helps the inventor learn what features are highlights for the distributor, learn what are the best type of distributors for their product, and also learn how to best promote their product to distributors. Often this type of preliminary work will help the inventor save a considerable amount of money – by focusing the inventor’s efforts and projects and customers where they can have the biggest impact.

You can approach distributors nationwide with a mailing program just like you did above with manufacturers’ sales representatives. You can find a list of distributors or promotional products marketing companies through the ASI and PPAI web sites (see addresses earlier in the article). You can also find the distributors and marketing companies by doing Yellow Page searches both locally and nationally for promotional products, incentive products and advertising specialties.


There are many distributors and manufacturers reps’ – a fact that helps you sell your product – but it also means that there are many levels of commissions are pricing discount that you face. Manufacturers’ sales agents normally take a 10 to 15% commission and distributors often receive a 40% discount.

If you believe you should sell your product for $10.00 to the final consumer, you will receive only $5.10 to $5.40 cents.

Price to end user $10.00

Price to distributor $6.00

Commission to sales rep. $0.60 to $0.90

Money to inventor /manufacturer $5.10 to $5.40

If you want a 50% profit, you need to be able to make your product for $2.55 to $2.70. Be sure to have your pricing in line before starting or you won’t make any money.

10 Tips For Promoting Your Business With Eco-friendly Promotional Products

Eco-friendly promotional products are a powerful marketing tool to promote your business. In fact, recent studies on eco-friendly promotional products have revealed that companies committed to green sustainability practices have showed greater performance over their competition.

10 tips for promoting your business with eco-friendly promotional products

  1. Offer a free gift. A biodegradable pen made from corn plastic can be given to anyone from a prospect at trade show or a conference to a potential customer or loyal account holder. Make sure this eco-friendly pen has your company contact information imprinted on it. Above all else, think utility. The free gift can be anything from a solar-powered calculator to a biodegradable mug. You do not have to use an expensive item to make a lasting impact.
  2. Say ‘thank you’. Has a customer registered for your free online newsletter or told you how much actionable information your blog provides? Show them how much you value their business with a 100% post-consumer recycled ‘thank you’ card. On the back, list helpful money and time saving tips like going paperless with electronic invoices. A nice gesture cleverly combined with useful information will position your business above the competition when your particular service or product is needed again.
  3. Network with purpose. Everyone knows that trade shows, conventions and conferences are great venues to network. Don’t just hand over a business card or catalog to your prospects. Make an impression with eco-friendly promotional products. After introducing yourself, hand over a seeded business card. Tell your new contact how a seeded business card can be planted in the ground and sprout vegetables or wildflowers within days. A green business card is a great conversation starter and can lead to a spontaneous sale. Hand out free eco-friendly promotional products to anyone who signs up for your free online newsletter at your booth.
  4. Send organic cookies. One of the most time-tested marketing tactics is to send cookies to select customers and prospects you are interested in courting. Organic cookies (think carob chip) are a forward-thinking gesture on many levels. Send a note on post-consumer recycled paper thanking the prospect for their time and offer her to spread the joy to other members of the marketing team or upper management.
  5. Everyone loves incentives. Did a customer just purchase a big ticket item, meet a certain quantity or participate in an online survey? Reward your customers who consistently purchase from you with an incentive to buy again. Think of eco-friendly promotional products that will be used daily, such as an ‘Ecobutton’, which keeps your computer from wasting kilowatts.
  6. Get everyone involved. Say you are having your yearly company picnic and employees bring their family and friends. Organize a game of friendly flag football. Teams are separated according to T-shirt color. Of course, you brought along some eco-friendly T-shirts for all players to take home with them.
  7. Remember important occasions. Who isn’t impressed when you remember their birthday or anniversary? Green birthday cards attached to an eco-friendly gift can go a long way in further securing customers over the long run.
  8. Start a redeemable points program. Entice your customers to purchase enough of a particular product and in return allow them to redeem those points for free eco-friendly promotional items. These redeemable programs allow you to widen your profit margin by moving dated or unpopular products and by pushing more of your best-sellers as well. For lower point totals you can give away a 100% post-consumer recycled notepad; higher point totals can qualify for a recycled laptop carrying case.
  9. Reward top sales reps. Reward your top-performing sales reps with eco-friendly promotional products that offer high impression rates. Sometimes reinforcement can do wonders for someone’s self-esteem – and actually make them work harder. An organic cotton or hemp dress shirt with your embroidered company logo will do just fine.
  10. Holidays are your wildcard. Holidays are the best time of the year to use eco-friendly promotional products to promote your brand. Recyclable calendars and green Christmas tree ornaments are examples of highly relevant, eco-friendly promotional products.

When it comes to promoting your business, eco-friendly promotional products can become a valuable marketing tool that drives results.