Did you know that adding promotional products to your marketing plan can increase brand effectiveness by up to 44%? The combination of promo product, print, and online marketing is a powerful tool for any business. Like all forms of marketing, promo products require planning ahead of time. However, they are also more personal than other forms of marketing, which means they create a deeper connection with your customers and clients.

Target Audience

The first step of your plan should be defining your target audience. If you don’t have a sufficiently narrow target audience, your promo goods could be wasted on people who were never going to convert in the first place. Who is your audience? What is their age, gender, socio-economic status, education, geographic region, interest, family status, etc.? What challenges do they face which you can solve with your promo product? For example, someone who travels and uses their phone a lot could benefit from a portable charger. As we’ll get to later, functionality is a key aspect of choosing the right promo product.

If you’re having trouble defining your audience, consider looking at your competitors. It’s often a good idea to distinguish yourself from your competitors by finding your own niche. Who seems to be the target audience for your competitors? Can you identify a gap in your competitors’ audiences which you can fill? The more specific you can get your target audience, the less competition you will have and the more loyal your customers will be.

Promotional Goal

Promo marketing strategy

Now that you know your audience, you can begin thinking about your promotional goal. What do you hope to accomplish with your promo product? Is your goal to increase awareness, sales, followers, recommendations, site visits, etc.? Once your goal has been decided upon, it’s time to consider how your product is going to help achieve this goal. An example might be a tourism board using t-shirts with a map of the local destination spots on  the back. Tourists like commemorative shirts, the shirts spread awareness about local destinations, and it may fit into the overall marketing strategy based around maps of the area.

Combined with events at specific destinations, printed event flyers which double as maps, and an online marketing campaign, these shirts would help further your promotional goal.

Product Distribution

Product distribution is often overlooked during the planning process. When are you going to distribute your product? How are you doing to distribute it? And where are you going to distribute it?

The time of year and duration of your distribution period can have a massive impact on how you choose to distribute your product. For example, if it’s the middle of winter, you may choose to distribute via mail rather than in-person. Other factors, such as how easy it is to distribute your product via each medium should also play a role in your decision. Is your promo product large or perishable? If so, mail may not be the best delivery medium. And in some cases, your distribution may be altered if you plan to have recipients do something first, such as fill out a contact form. Finally, the location at which you plan to hand out your product should also be considered. If it’s in person, will it be at a tradeshow, another event, or in your store? If you need to transport the products somewhere, keep that in mind.

Quality and Functionality

Promotional product plan

The final two things to consider when selecting a promo product are the quality and functionality. But just because these are last on the list doesn’t mean they’re any less important than the other parts of the planning process. Your product should be both high quality and functional, and if either of these two is missing, you jeopardize the rest of the planning you’ve done up to this point.

Higher quality products are appreciated more by recipients, and leads to the item having a longer lifetime, which in turn leads to more impressions. Also keep in mind that high quality doesn’t necessarily mean a high price tag. There’s a balance to reach between quality and price, and where exactly this balance falls will depend on the product. On the functional side, gimmicky products can work, but the best products will have lasting value and use. Consider the fact that an umbrella is a more functional promo product than a stuffed animal holding a toy umbrella. Both could be used to promote the same business or cause, but the real umbrella is far more functional and likely to be kept by the recipient.


The four major steps for planning a promotional product strategy are defining your target audience, establishing your goal, determining your avenue of distribution, and selecting for high quality and functionality. By following these steps, your promo product strategy will be one step ahead of the competition. And now’s a great time to begin planning while all the major promo events of the year are postponed. That way your business will be able to hit the ground running once everything returns to normal.

Safeguard Premier Branding Solutions

If you need help with your promo product strategy, we can help! Our sales representatives are knowledgeable about all things promo marketing and can even help tie your promo product plan into your overall marketing strategy. Contact your local Safeguard Premier representative today for more information.