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Promotional Pens & Products Revisited - I Was Wrong

by Yvonne Russell on September 14th, 2008

When I wrote Have Promotional Pens Had Their Day?, I lumped all promotional pens in together and mused whether promotional pens were so common that they were no longer effective as a marketing tool. I also asked what makes the “perfect” promotional product.

Phil Gerbyshak weighed in and provided some balance by discussing the effectiveness of a favorite promotional pen that came his way. He says

I would agree that a crappy promotional pen is no longer of any value. A nicer promotional pen, one that writes well and feels good in my hands, is a great pen indeed. I actually LOVE my promo pens from Bomgar, because it’s bright orange and is a slick rollerball pen. I love it, and I use it all the time.

The fact that he explicitly associates the pen with the brand name says a lot for the effectiveness of that particular promotional pen and the potential spread and reach of the brand.

I responded

Some promotional pens do take it up a notch, so if you have one you love, I guess that’s a flag to business owners looking for promotional products to think about point of difference.

However, on reflection, I neglected the big picture required for any promotional campaign. I did some research and found that the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) recommends

Don’t pick an item based solely on uniqueness, price or perceived value.

Don’t fall prey to the latest trends or fads. The most effective promotional products are used in a cohesive, well-planned campaign.

In a follow up post we’ll share 7 tips for a successful promotional campaign straight from PPAI.


A co-ordinated promotional campaign is key. We’d love to hear about your promotional products experiences as a consumer or as a business person.


POSTED IN: Promotion

5 opinions for Promotional Pens & Products Revisited - I Was Wrong

  • Mary Emma Allen
    Sep 14, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    As a writer, I have a fondness for pens. I collect them, not necessarily to save them, but to use them. Some simply feel better in my hands. Some have unique coloring and designs. Some designate special places or events. Some write really well. Then there others that have none of these characteristics, so I toss them, or put them in the jar holding odds and ends of pens the family uses.

    Some people collect antique pens or promotional pens from other eras. A gentleman stopping by our recent yard sale inquired whether we had any old pens. He said he collected them.

  • Phil Gerbyshak
    Sep 15, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Interesting idea: make the pen part of a bigger campaign. Perhaps starting with a pen, then a pad of paper, then a padfolio, a nice coffee cup, and then some nicely branded coffee. I know I’d appreciate that getting thrown my way if I were in the business for something, plus it would keep their company top of mind.

    Send me a little coffee each month, with a nice handwritten personal note, and I’m all yours…if I’m in the market for what you’re selling. Knowing your customer and what they need wins everytime!

  • 7 Tips For A Successful Promotional Products Campaign
    Sep 16, 2008 at 7:26 am

    […] As a business owner aiming to promote your business, where do you start in navigating the promotional product maze? […]

  • Yvonne Russell
    Sep 16, 2008 at 9:02 am

    There is something special about a pen that feels “just right”.

    Collecting antique pens also sounds like a great idea. I guess the message is that “one size does not fit all” even with pens. :)

  • Yvonne Russell
    Sep 16, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Hey Phil
    I think you’re onto something here… the beginnings of a great co-ordinated promotional campaign. |

    Well said!

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