A new year has begun, new resolutions made, new outlooks have been planned, but what are we going to see in 2018?

When it comes to launching a new year of marketing, figuring out what the hot trending promotional products of 2018 will be is essential. Hot products will give your customers a reason to reach for your brand. When developing a strategic marketing and promotion plan, it’s important to examine current trends, so you can select the most effective promotional products for your marketing dollars. So, what do analysts predict for 2018? And, perhaps more importantly, how can you leverage this intel into a boost for your bottom line? Here’s a closer look to help guide your planning process.

According to the study, there are a number of reasons marketers used promotional products:

  1. To increase brand awareness (63 percent)
  2. To increase recognition (61 percent)
  3. As an effective strategy to spark word-of-mouth advertising (90 percent)
  4. As a strategy to prompt product or service reviews (91 percent)
  5. As a strategy to gain new customers (89 percent)

Trending promotional products to match your marketing goals

Consider the past year, with a focus on your marketing and promotions efforts, particularly those that included promotional products. What worked? What didn’t? This will give you a sense of direction and purpose in 2018.

Here are some thought-provoking questions to consider:

  • How well did your promotional products resonate with audiences in the past year?
  • Overall, is your brand awareness improving?
  • If you had a call to action on your promotional product, was it effective?

If you didn’t imprint a call to action on your most recent promotional products, it may be worth considering in your 2018 strategy.

Your investment

Determining the return on your marketing and advertising investment is the key. There are still some time-tested ways to track the reach and influence of your marketing efforts. One way is to feature a call to action on your promotional products.

Here are a few ideas on how to go about it, according to PPAI Media:

  • Embed a hashtag in your design, so customers can use it when referring to your product or service in social media posts.
  • Print a custom web address on your promotional products. You can then track user traffic to that site.
  • Create a vanity toll-free number for prospects to call, so you can find the customer or prospect interactions directly related to that marketing effort.

While these tracking methods prove promising, studies show the use of these tactics has fallen slightly with most organizations preferring to use only their name and logo. The take-away? There are opportunities to track ROI, but the methods are still evolving.

Looking ahead to marketing opportunities in 2018

You have an idea of what worked in 2017, now it’s time to think strategically about the new year. Ask yourself how you can extend your reach in 2018. Take note of the percentage of your target audience that has received a promotional product from you. Are there market segments you didn’t reach? How can you reach those who may need your products or services, but haven’t been introduced to the benefits of your brand?

You’ll also want to consider the anticipated length of use for your promotional product. Trending or not, the longer a customer or prospect uses a promotional product, the longer that brand message stays with them. So, it’s important to consider not only what the hot new items are in the marketplace, but also how useful they will be to your clients and prospects.

Best promotional items

Let’s take a look at the emerging trends in promotional products. What are likely to be the best promotional items in 2018? Here are some inspiring ideas to fire up your marketing in the coming year.


Street style Apparel

Custom logo apparel is always a favorite for good reason. It turns your customers and employees into walking billboards. Trusted brands are increasingly taking the lead in quality logo’d apparel, a trend expected to continue in 2018.

When choosing a promotional product, chances are you’re looking for an item with a long shelf life your customers and prospects will use regularly. Look for traditional products with a new twist to kick-start the new year.

For example, drinkware is always popular, and vacuum tumblers are expected to remain a hot item in 2018. Vacuum tumblers were among the top 10 hottest items ordered in 2017. With the ability to maintain either hot or cold temperatures for hours, it’s no wonder people are clamoring for vacuum tumblers.

In addition, in the writing and stationery areas, customized notepad products are expected to continue to be big sellers. As your customers look for new ways to manage the demands of everyday life, these products are sure to be appreciated and valued in 2018.

Make promotional products work for you

With this valuable marketing knowledge and a sneak peek at trending promotional products, you can comfortably bid farewell to last year’s efforts and look forward to the new class of custom promotional products, along with all the marketing possibilities for your brand.