The Demographics Of Promo Items Know your audience to provide the highest possible value

The topic of demographics has always been fertile ground for clichéd jokes. Surely you've heard the old chestnut that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. How about the more recent one that while older generations are using walking sticks, Millennials are using selfie sticks? But all kidding aside, demographic differences have always been a serious consideration for marketers—even for something as simple as promotional items.

Statistics reinforce that promo items are highly effective marketing tools, particularly in the healthcare space—a key factor being that people often hang on to them for long periods of time. This is especially true when the item has actual utility, as bags or USB drives do.

However, a promo item that has significant value for an older man might be useless for a younger woman. The trick is to understand the demographics behind what different genders, age groups and geographic locations find valuable in order to maximize the impact of healthcare marketing strategies—including member acquisition campaigns, employee engagement programs and trade show sponsorships.

Gender

When selecting a promo items, the first demographic to consider is gender. Research has shown that women more likely to use bags, writing instruments and calendars; whereas men are more likely to wear apparel like shirts and hats.1 Think about who is most likely to attend the event or open the mailing. For instance, is your wellness campaign promoting breast health or prostate cancer prevention?

Geography

Then consider where the campaign is going. Are you a national health plan mailing to addresses across the country? Or are you a regional plan specific to a certain state or group of counties? Personalization is always critical, so if you are that national plan, it would be wise leverage demographic insights to select an item that addresses the preferences of specific locales.

Even that regional plan needs to consider that the area they serve can include both urban and rural sections.

Technology

Another socio-economic dynamic factor to weigh is technology. For instance, if you are a Medicaid or Dual plan, it's important to know that some of your members may not own a home computer, they more than likely reply on their smartphone, so an item like a charger or power bank would be very useful to them.

Age

Age is another important element to consider. Many health plans have found that including a "freemium" in their Medicare acquisition campaigns is particularly effective with older generations.2

Charities have been targeting seniors for decades and know that providing them with free mailing labels, calendars or tote bags increases their propensity to donate.

Younger demographic groups tend to appreciate desk accessories, which is a valuable insight for providers looking to strengthen brand recall with this target audience. Among the highly-coveted Millennial segment, mugs are one of the more popular promo items in the U.S., with over 50% owning a logo mug (many of whom also use it to old all their promo pens).3

The bottom line

Regardless of age, promotional products continue to be a highly effective marketing tactic. 53% of Americans use a promo item once a week and hang on to them for an average of 6.6 months.4 Can you say that about your latest email or mailer? If your recent marketing results have been underwhelming, a promotional item can help give them a boost—especially when thoughtfully tailored to specific demographic groups.

Want to discuss ways to raise the bar for your brand's communications? Talk to an RRD expert.

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  1. Promotional Products Association International. Mapping Out the Modern Customer – 2017 PPAI Consumer Study (2016)
  2. Advertising Specialty Institute. Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study – 2016 Edition (2016)
  1. Advertising Specialty Institute. Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study – 2016 Edition (2016)
  2. Promotional Products Association International. Mapping Out the Modern Customer – 2017 PPAI Consumer Study (2016)