The Power Of the F Word

People like free stuff, but does that include promotional products...

The world has changed more in the past 20 years than it has for centuries, transformed by technology. We now have social media, we can order stuff from the comfort of your own sofa and there have been great advances in medicine and human knowledge. Even though we have had great changes, some things stay the same.  People still love (excuse the F-word) FREE stuff. But when businesses give away free notepads, pens or sweets some may feel they will be losing money. But before making your decision here are three reasons for you to consider.


People Prefer To Have a Free Gift


1. Studies from the Journal of Marketing have shown people prefer to have a free gift or a promotional gift, even if they have to buy something else to qualify. For example, people will make a purchase to receive a branded glass from Coca-Cola or in Waitrose to claim their free coffee. Waitrose cleverly encourages customers into the habit of popping into Waitrose on their way to or from work. Even if this is for a few items, it is probably more than they would have purchased if the free coffee was not on offer. Take out coffee comes in a branded cup, which can increase the reach of their brand, encouraging more to come in for the free coffee and do a bit shopping at the same time. The coffee is a small price to pay.

Create a Buzz


2. By giving away free gifts, you can create a buzz. Pictures will be posted on social media introducing the brand to an even larger group of people. An article in the Journal of Marketing found that people who receive a product for free talked about it 20% more than a product they had paid for. Getting a freebie related to the product prompted them to talk about it 15% more, surprisingly coupons and rebates didn’t make a difference. People feel they are getting extra with a free gift and give it a higher perceived value than a voucher of greater value.

People Will Like to Return the Favour


3. When someone receives a gift, people will like to return the favour, as a perceived dept has been created. For example, you buy someone a drink in the pub or a coffee shop, they then feel obliged to return the favour. The same concept works when giving away freebies to customers – this is known as the reciprocity principle. A study by Gardner (2005) found that feeling obligated to reciprocate a favour “can occur despite the fact that we may never have requested the favour in the first place”. Therefore, once your customer has had a taste of your brand, they will likely feel obligated to buy more than they have been given for free.


Give the Opportunity to Engage


All three reasons give the opportunity to engage with customers and start to build a relationship, which can be nurtured for the future. But we must remember that whatever is given should be in keeping with the brand and give value to the customer. This will in time help businesses to stay at the forefront of their clients and prospects minds, which is the best place for most businesses to be.


Promotional Merchandise _ The power of free