By Bob Salvas
This is one of 3 articles on some underlying reasons why promotional products work. There are more than three reasons,
but these are some of the main drivers of success for businesses who utilize promotional products. The three reasons are
REPETITION, TACTILE and WORD OF MOUTH.
Reason number two is TACTILE. A promotional product is, after all, a PRODUCT. That means it is a physical thing and humans
respond to THINGS! Holding a tangible thing in our hands affects our brain in a completely different way.
In recent years, many marketers have shifted their focus to the digital world. And certainly, digital marketing is effective, and
it is here to stay. But in this shift to digital, we may have forgotten that we have FIVE senses that send messages to our brain
about the world around us. The largest organ in the human body is on the human body- the skin. The skin is full of receptors
that transmit information to the brain. In fact, the fingertips have about 2000 of these receptors in them, making the sense
of touch one of the most important things.
“Of our five senses, touch is one of the most important. It dictates how we perceive the world around us, influencing emotion
and decision making. Incorporating this underutilized sense into your marketing strategy just makes, well, sense. Here’s why:
Touch triggers a reaction.”
-sappi paper and the work of Dr David Eagleman (neuroscientist)
In a famous 2009 case study by Millward Brown, they measured the brain activity of their subjects who engaged with reading
a digital message and then again while they were engaged with the same message in a physical form. The two major insights
from this study were:
• Tangible materials leave a deeper footprint in the brain
• Physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater “internalization”
of the ads
In other words, the physical form message had a stronger effect on memory and emotions. And memory and emotions are
two of the most powerful influencers on buying decisions.
Not only does touch alone influence your decisions but holding a promotional product in your hands can also trigger the
phenomenon known as the ‘endowment effect’:
“Studies have shown repeatedly that people will value something that they already own more than a similar item they do not
own. According to the old adage, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” It does not matter if the object in question was
purchased or received as a gift, the effect still holds.”
So, if a person is given a promotional product, the physical properties through touch cause a more pronounced affect on the
receiver of the gift in terms of emotion and memory. Additionally, the person holding the object will value that more than
something they do not have (the endowment effect). And lastly being given something of value can also trigger the reciprocity
principle, the idea that as humans, we want to give something back when something is received.
The evidence is clear. Giving a high quality, useful and relevant promotional product gift to a person can have a big influence on
how that person views and remembers your company or products and it will, in all likelihood, affect their buying decision.
“Touch has a memory.”