Choosing Promotional Products People Will Actually Keep

Couple walking beneath an umbrella in the rain.

Promotional products can help you increase your brand recognition and reach potential customers, but the line between ineffective and effective promotional products can get muddled. Pens, notepads, stress balls—with so many options, choosing the right promotional item for your company can be difficult. How do you choose an item your customers will actually keep? How do you ensure your promotional products will boost your brand awareness in the long term?

Promotional Products Life Span

The first consideration when choosing a promotional item should be its lifespan—how long you expect your customer to use the item. It should be noted, there’s a difference between keeping your item and actually using it.

This point holds significance due to the rational of promotional items. The point of the promotional item is to create brand awareness by offering a useful product. When your customers use that products, the hope is that it keeps your brand first in their mind.

Plastic cups and pens might seem like great promotional products, but they’re relatively ordinary. How often do you get a free pen at the bank or accidentally take one from a restaurant? This means pens will typically be disregarded without a second thought. Rather than choosing the least expensive option for your promotional product, choose a product that has a definitive use case for your potential customer.

Promotional Product Quality

Items like plastic cups or pens are easily disregarded because of how common they are. Most people have too many pens to count or already have a full set of plastic cups. The fix? Increase the quality of your promotional item.

While people have plenty of ordinary pens, they likely have few extraordinary pens. Increasing the price point to budget for slightly more expensive promotional products can make all the difference. Look for unique features to promote your brand and increase customer retention, like pens equipped with multitools or flashlights.

Promotional Products with a Long Lifespan

 It takes a pen of substantial quality to make an impact, so don’t be afraid to branch into other types of promotional products. The following are examples of promotional items that customers typically keep for a long period of time.


Calendars average a year of retention, giving them some of the longest customer retention among promotional products. Feature a new product or picture of your business every month.

Mobile Power Banks

Mobile power banks also average about a year of retention, but they also feature the drawback of consumer expectations. External power supplies have become increasing common, so utilizing them in swag bags means you will have to increase their quality to keep the relevance.


Umbrellas average the longest retention among branded items and are typically kept for 14 months. While this may seem like an extended retention cycle, consider where umbrellas are kept when not in use and how infrequently they’re used. It can be tough to discern whether their long retention in the hands of potential customers means increased visibility for your brand.

Promotional Product Retention

In the end, the decision comes down to a personal choice. Do you want your promotional items to float through as many hands as possible? Or, do you want your promotional items to make an immediate impact, allowing your brand to be first-in-mind for a long time to come?

Whatever you’re looking for, Facetime Business Resources can help you find the perfect promotional product for your business. Shop at our online store, or check out our blog for more advice on choosing the right promotional products.

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