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Why You Need A Promotional Products Partner

A promotional products distributor is a creative partner whose experience can lead you to secure unique, branded items to advance your company’s mission and goals. In this piece, we’ll explain what these consultants offer and why you need one.

Promotional products are an effective way to get eyes on your brand. And unlike a digital or print advertising, a product lasts. Anyone who has watched an episode of “American Pickers” has seen the show’s collectors wax poetic about an old Coca-Cola collectible or bar room neon sign from Pabst or Budweiser. Those companies have staying power, thanks in no small part to clever promotional products (also known as branded merchandise or advertising specialties) that advances their brands.


But how do you make your brand stand out? The American Marketing Association advises that promotional products should be useful, attractive, enjoyable, and relevant. You can use promotional products with prospects, clients and even your own employees, but it’s often challenging to know which items would be most effective and how to brand them in the most creative way.


To help you find the right promo products to support your goals, you’ll want to look for a distributor consultant who can provide creative suggestions, sage marketing expertise and helpful strategies for how to make the most of your items.


So what are promotional products distributors, and why do you need one?


Why Promotional Products Work

Research shows that promotional products effectively increase brand awareness. When you invest in a marketing tool that engages your audience, you’ll remain front of mind when they need your product or service.


Here are some facts and figures to know:

  • Promotional products are the most highly viewed form of advertising among consumers.
  • 76% of people recall the name of a brand on a promotional item.
  • Offering promotional merchandise within a bundle at checkout, as a gift with purchase, sells more of the product than if it were discounted alone.
  • American businesses spend $20 billion each year on promotional products. The world’s biggest companies use these tools to build customer loyalty, spread their advertising messages and more. They use them to connect with customers, tell the brand’s unique stories, say thank you and motivate specific actions, all while increasing the brand’s awareness, recognition and equity.

What Is A Promotional Products Distributor?

Above all, a promotional products distributor is a creative partner who can help you select and design unique, branded items to advance your company’s mission and goals. These marketing experts work with you to develop ideas for promotional products and how to use them most effectively.


Working with a distributor consultant will give you confidence about what products and strategies will work best for your brand, your audience, and specific events. In fact, the right partner will simplify the entire process, from ideation to your customers’ hands.

5 Reasons To Partner With A Promotional Products Distributor

When you work with a promotional products distributor, you get more than a physical product—you also gain a relationship and a tailored experience. Yes, they can access unique and quality promo items, but more importantly, they’re an excellent resource to help you develop your promotional marketing plan.

A strong partnership with one of these promo industry pros will make your promotional product campaigns much more likely to succeed. Here’s why:


1. They Understand the Big Picture.

Distributors are creatives with a wealth of marketing knowledge, which they’re eager to share. They’ll work with you to define your marketing objectives and integrate promotional products and merchandise into your campaigns. With a strong distributor relationship, you gain an imaginative and strategic team member.


2. They Have Inside Product Knowledge.

By working with a promotional products distributor, you gain their exclusive industry expertise and knowledge of emerging trends to help your campaign stand out. Through professional connections, they have access to millions of products, from simple options like stickers, key chains or pens, to high-end solutions like gourmet food baskets, fashionable apparel or deluxe drinkware—especially popular within the last year. During the pandemic, distributors even became experts in securing PPE that doubled as promo marketing. Bottom line: Distributors can locate new and unique items not available to you otherwise.


3. They Have Experience.

Promotional products distributors take part in continuing education and networking, which keeps them up to date on the latest products, regulations that ensure product safety, new industry innovations, and trends. They can save your marketing team precious time by recommending products that best represent your organization and its message.

Distributors with top-level credentials have an MAS (Master Advertising Specialist) or CAS (Certified Advertising Specialist) designation. These certifications are based on measures of professional competency, including industry experience, continuing education, and a comprehensive examination. Maintaining an MAS or CAS requires recertification every three years and adherence to Promotional Product Association International’s professional code of conduct, which ensures safe, responsibly sourced products.


4. They Understand Printing Technology.

All this expertise means they know what works—and what doesn’t. To customize products with your company logo and message, you’ll need to consider the materials and features of the products themselves, as well as different imprinting methods, which have greatly expanded in recent years. These elements will affect the quality of your finished items, so you definitely want the expertise of a distributor who knows what method works best on what material. Distributors can also guide you through artwork specifications to make sure your logo and messaging look great.


5. They Can Help You With Your Distribution Plan.

Purchasing products won’t help your marketing campaign if you don’t deliver them in a timely and interesting way. Promotional products distributors have worked with many companies and have a bank full of ideas to inspire you.

When you work with distributors, they’ll often help you develop marketing strategies to make sure your efforts result in success. They can help you create and execute a timely distribution plan that’s designed to surprise and delight your customers—from strategies as simple as handing out the goods at trade shows, to as complex as full-fledged company stores like Taco Bell or Netflix.


Questions To Ask A Promotional Products Distributor

Because you want to build a relationship with your distributor, it’s important to choose one who understands you, your business, and your needs. With the right promotional products partner, you’ll receive high-quality products and exceptional service.

Distributors’ websites may offer photos of sample campaigns they’ve produced and testimonials from satisfied clients, but a quality online presence isn’t the final test of a great distributor.


Important questions when choosing a promotional products partner:

  • Ask about their experience.
  • Ask about their creative team or process.
  • Ask what services they provide (marketing strategy, distribution advice, etc.).
  • Ask about the breadth of their product selection. Do they have access to a wide assortment of items? How do they curate the products they believe in and trust?
  • Ask about product safety, especially if you are seeking products for children.
  • Ask about sustainability.
  • Ask how flexible they are when it comes to fulfillment and delivery schedules.
  • Ask for testimonials, case studies, or referrals.

A great distributor will make certain that you receive quality promotional marketing products that effectively do their job of spreading your brand message—products that recipients will want to show off, use and keep.