Why Promotional Advertising – Jumbo or Regular, is still effective in the digital age.


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Daniela Hartmann via Compfight

With all the buzz about social media, many businesses are forgetting some of the more traditional promotional advertising media: print, radio, TV, direct response (mail and email) and the tried and tested printed promotional products.

Because promotional advertising using products printed with a logo, contact details and a sales message or call to action can be a cost-effective form of promotion for small and large businesses, it is one of the most simple and effective to implement. With modern production methods, it is no longer necessary to order huge quantities of printed products. Almost anything can have a logo printed on it, from elephants and hot air balloons to golf tees. Giving away printed elephants or hot air balloons could get expensive, but the idea certainly stimulates the imagination. Think of all the fast food outlets that offer “Jumbo” servings.

The major advantages of promotional advertising using printed products are:

  • Cost effective.
  • Repeat exposures over long periods are possible.
  • Can be narrowly or broadly targeted.
  • A way of providing value to prospects and customers.
  • Can be combined with other advertising.
  • Can be distributed at relevant events.


Although many of the popular printed products familiar to older generations, caps, t-shirts, pens, golf balls for example are still available and effective, there is a huge range of new items. The internet age has provided opportunities for new products, mouse pads, smart phone holsters, tablet cases and memory sticks are a few.

To get the most leverage out of promotional advertising, the printed product should be relevant to the business’s product or service and the customer. I do not play golf, if I am given golf balls or tees, I will pass them on to someone else. That promotion will be wasted on me, it may or may not work with the person I give the golf stuff to.

A recent promotional item that I did find well targeted was when I collected a supply of business cards and the printer gave me a printed card storage case to fit in my pocket. Cards quickly get scruffy if kept in a wallet, loose cards fall out of pockets. This way, my cards are always in perfect condition and every time I take the case out of my pocket to hand out a card, the recipient sees the logo and contact details of my printer.

A second example I saw was a furniture fastener manufacturer printing its logo and contact details on big flat carpenters pencils. Who makes furniture using fasteners? Carpenters, and they use carpenters pencils, they will see that logo every time they use their pencils.

For service industries, it is not always possible to tie the promotional product to the service. But with a bit of imagination, some creative promotions can be put together. I remember a bank giving away golf umbrella (also useful to non-golfers) printed with the logo and a slogan that linked to the bank’s other advertising with an “umbrella of financial protection” theme.

Promotional advertising can be a great way to promote a new retail business’s grand opening day, a sale or a special discount. It can be coordinated with on-line promotions and competitions. A carefully selected printed promotional item could also be used as an incentive for website visitors to subscribe to a newsletter.

That gives you some ideas of  how “old” types of promotions can still be very effective in the digital age and can dovetail very well with “new” methods.

Share your thoughts on promotional advertising in a comment.

Wishing you success.

Peter Wright


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