As an international promotional products manufacturer, I work with distributors in over 24 countries. The 2017 outlook for one country may not be the same for another country, so I’m just going to focus on the outlook for the US.
In a bad economy companies tend to order more low end promotional products and they order fewer of them. That’s definitely been my experience over the past few years. Smaller orders means higher prices for end users. This is especially a problem for small businesses, who want to buy promotional products, but are dealing with a limited budget.
The good news is that small business optimism hit a 12 year high in December, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. According to Insureon, the leading insurance agency for small business, 82% of small businesses are planning growth for 2017. This includes hiring more employees and selling more products.
A well planned promotional product campaign is one of the most effective ways to get the word out about your company. A clever, unique, and visible promotional product does more than just advertise your company. They draw attention to your booth at trade shows and keep your brand at the top of customer’s minds.
According to a recent article at ASI Central, “tax breaks could well lead to greater at-hand cash flow for companies across a swath of industries. At minimum, some firms will be keen to invest in marketing and advertising initiatives that help them grow.” As more companies have cash flow, the trend to use the lowest priced products will change. It’s already starting to change.
As a manufacturer, I’m not sure where things will go as far as trade policy. I do know that costs are going up dramatically at my factories in China and Argentina. Manufacturing in the US may actually be an option in the near future and would be much easier than importing and chasing the lowest prices around the world.
Eco-friendly products were a hot item in 2016, and will continue into 2017. According to ASI “42% of people had a more favorable opinion of an advertiser if the promotional product they received was environmentally friendly”.
Tech products, like USB sticks, were also a hot item. They have a high perceived value, and is a product that will be used over and over again. Which means your company logo will be seen over and over again.
If you’ve never used promotional products in your business, now is a good time to start. Integrating them into your marketing plan is one of the best ways to promote your business and get a great return on investment.