updated March 4, 2019
Ah, promotional pens… you’ve seen them… chances are you own them! But why? Other than the fact that they are pretty darn useful, there are tons of good reasons pens are one of our top sellers. We’re not here to tell you what you already know… instead we’d like to share some lesser-known facts about this simple yet essential marketing tool:
Promotional Pens: 5 Fun Facts & Marketing Takeaways
1. Pens are popular
So popular in fact, virtually everyone owns at least one promotional pen. According to the Advertising Specialty Institute’s (ASI) 2019 Global Ad Impressions study, a whopping 89% of American consumers owns a promotional writing instrument like a pen, pencil, stylus or highlighter. More than half keep the instrument as long as it writes while almost half (42%) passes it along when they’re done with it. All of that usage generates about 3,000 impressions throughout a pen’s lifetime.
What’s the takeaway? People love free pens. They even steal them from restaurants, registers, coworkers… So put your promotional pens everywhere you can think of. Throw them in with other marketing materials, fill every desk caddy in your office, provide them for credit card signatures at your point of sale… This is one time you’ll want to actually encourage theft.
2. Quality trumps beauty
While utility and attractiveness rank for reasons your customers may keep your promo pens, the primary reason is the quality. In fact, 68% of American consumers value quality over anything else and cite it for the reason they keep branded writing instruments.
What’s the takeaway? Don’t cheap out. Writing instruments are already one of the most cost-effective categories of promotional products, so you won’t break the bank on this one. Splurge for a little extra to give your customers that excellence they’re looking for. The “extra” can be in features like a stylus or design like a trendy marble barrel. Whatever you choose, your customers will appreciate the quality.
3. Pens are versatile
Okay, so not quite THAT extreme, but pens are not just for mass handouts at trade shows (though they certainly work well there too). Providing employees with branded writing instruments at your place of business is helpful for them as well as you. They’ll bring them to meetings for a professional look, lend them to friends and family to spread your brand awareness, and use them around the office contributing to their productivity. Other businesses such as stores, salons, doctors’ offices, restaurants etc. always need pens for credit card signatures – why not make those pens promotional? At least that way when people steal them, they’ll also be doing your marketing for you.
What’s the takeaway? Promotional pens are useful for any and all industries. They’re easily paired with other giveaways and gifts as well, and their low cost per impression (under 1/10th of a cent) allows you to easily integrate them into your existing marketing plan.
4. People care about ink
Tied to quality, ink is actually something that is very important to people. According to Carrie Lewis at BIC Graphic, “Smooth ink is still the most important thing to end-users when it comes to writing instruments.” The type of pen often will determine the resulting ink. For example, a ballpoint pen will produce the fastest-drying ink, which can be beneficial for note-takers and lefties especially. Gel pens offer a wide variety of colors, though they will take a long time to dry. A fountain pen may have the most elegant look and feel allowing the user a more custom writing style, but there is also a learning curve to these pens.
What’s the takeaway? Consider how your target audience is intending to use the pen you give them. Ink is important, and it’s about more than just the color – consider the drying factor, the smoothness and ease of use.
5 . Pens are here to stay
Did you know writing instruments are over 6,000 years old? From the very first carving tool, to hollowed out reed, to quill, to pen, to stylus, writing will always have a place in our world. Even in this digital age, the act of putting pen to paper is not going away anytime soon. From quickly jotting down an appointment or phone number to actual note-taking, writing instruments will always be in demand.
What’s the takeaway? Promotional pens are timeless. They will always be needed in some shape or form. Yes, stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technology, but don’t ignore the basics of any good promo item: its usefulness. Pens have always been and will always be, in a word, useful.
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