Branding ROI: 39 Ways to Put Your Brand to Work

Businesses have all kinds of operating costs.  Bookkeeping, taxes, cleaning, payroll and – yes – marketing.  But unlike most other costs of doing business, marketing is just about the only one that produces a direct return on its investment. And not only should it produce a return, but that return should almost always be expected to be more than the cost.

Even though that’s true, many business owners don’t do very much marketing on purpose, instead, you often hear them say things like “When I have the extra money…”  then they’ll do some “marketing.”

But since it’s true that marketing activities are needed to produce “the money” to begin with, then marketing msut be a priority when it comes to budgeting and the cost of your doing business, every day, every week, every month, every year.

One of the types of marketing tactics I suggest relative to many of the 365+ marketing themes in 365 Days of Marketing are the use of branded products or promotional products.

using promotional products to build businessMany of them are very inexpensive, on par with money you would spend to purchased printed collateral. Plus, branded promotional products will be kept a lot longer than will most flyers, brochures or other printed collateral – mainly because most of the branded products or promotional items a business would purchase to help promote sales, referrals and customer acquisition have at least some kind of functionality.

Promotional products do more than just promote your business; they provide branding ROI in that they help people remember and think positively about your brand.

Most branded products are useful, enjoyable, entertaining and referential (meaning, one of the reasons people keep them is so they can refer to them for your business name, phone number, website or other contact information) This is why some promotional products are kept for years and years, thus also producing a return on your marketing investment time after time.


T-shirts with your business logo cover bodies. Branded jackets keep people warm. Lip balm soothes dry, chapped lips. Branded pens write. Promotional stadium cushions provide you with a soft, warmer seat and branded umbrellas keep the rain off while you’re spending the day in Seattle’s “liquid sunshine” watching your  kids play la crosse.  And so on, and so forth.

A postcard or flyer received in the mail? It might sit on the counter for a couple of days and then get tossed or filed away.  But promotional calendars?  They’ll be kept for a year (or even longer, depending on the type of content you put in it and when it’s distributed).  T-shirts are kept for years.  And the same thing goes for promotional glasses, branded beverage cushies, Frisbees, branded stadium seats, and the list goes on. In fact, studies show that the number one reason people keep branded products around is usefulness.

marketing goals and branding roi

Getting branding ROI using branded promotional items are especially helpful at helping your business achieve:

Brand Awareness

  1. Within your prospect and customer base
  2. Within the community at large (fund raisers, education booster, supporting civic projects, etc.)
  3. To build your social media following (as prizes for online contests and drawings)

Customer Appreciation and Engagement

  1. Sale amount thank you gift (purchase a specific product or purchase of a specific dollar amount)
  2. Holiday gifts
  3. Annual calendar or academic year calendar
  4. Top 10 (25, 50 or 100) Customer acknowledgment
  5. Thank you for a referral gift
  6. New customer thank you gift
  7. Apology gift (if you messed something up!)
  8. Loyalty incentive (purchasing a series of services or regular purchasing throughout a year)
  9. Thank you for providing feedback, offering a suggestion for improvement, participating in a focus group
  10. As contest and drawing prizes
  11. As event attendance “swag”
  12. For use at Trade Shows

Customer Acquisition

  1. Gift with purchase
  2. A benefit of increased brand awareness
  3. Referral rewards which stimulate word of mouth referrals
  4. Giving branded products as gifts to “influencers” (people who have the ability to reach out to many other people in their daily lives or on social media and influence those people to do business with you)

Relationship Building (promotional products can be “door openers” when used effectively)

  1. Create intrigue with clever tie-ins
  2. As conversation starters, symbols or to provoke questions and feedback
  3. As a incentive to let you in the door to make the presentation (or thank you for having done so)
  4. Set expectations that “there’s more good things where that came from” as a result of choosing to do business with you

Fund Raising and Community Goodwill; not all marketing ROI comes in the form of direct sales!

  1. Support your favorite charity
  2. Benefit someone in the community
  3. Support schools and libraries
  4. Support other non-profits
  5. Use proceeds of sales to establish a scholarship for a local student

Employee Recognition and Appreciation

  1. For achieving sales goals
  2. For achieving productivity goals
  3. To mark milestones along a long range project
  4. To mark company anniversaries or employee anniversary dates
  5. To celebrate achieving a major corporate goal
  6. Perfect attendance and on-time arrivals
  7. For referring friends and family to do business with you
  8. To say thank you to over-achievers and loyal employees
  9. To recognize an employee who went out of their way to help a customer
  10. To “make someone’s day” during a tough time
  11. As a reward for suggesting (or making) an improvement to your business

As I mentioned before, 365 Days of Marketing details hundreds of ways that you can put branded promotional products to work to build your business, engage customers, stimulate referrals or any other number of other business benefits.  This is what branding ROI (return on investment) is all about. As with any other marketing tactic, it should be done strategically, with the goal, target market and desired outcomes at the center of your plan.  And once executed, it should be measured in sales, referrals, website visits, social media followers, customer surveys, funds raised, brand awareness among prospects or by some other means.

And yes (in case you were wondering,) I can help.  I can provide you with a competitive quote for promotional products or help you determine which would be the best choice to help you achieve your marketing goals.  Please contact me with your questions or inquiry about branded promotional products.

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