Promotional Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

Published by Steve Hill on

Even though so much of marketing has shifted to the digital, promotional and event marketing remain as effective as they’ve ever been and are even gaining traction as brands seek to strengthen and build genuine connection with consumers and clients.

From creative swags to free product samples and coupons, promotional marketing is stronger than ever, providing brand recognition and drawing in more customers.

Here then are our trends to keep an eye on in 2019 and beyond…


Wellness is on the rise, and the entire global industry has been valued at $4.2 trillion. While people used to be concerned only with avoiding getting sick, wellness has now taken on a more holistic meaning, encapsulating the mind, body, and spirit. Nutritional labels are relentlessly checked, fitness classes are sprouting up by the dozen and still getting overflowing attendance, and all in all, consumers are more conscious about the products that they’re receiving.

Even if you’re not in a wellness industry, this is a trend that you can’t afford to miss. Mega-companies all over such as Coca-Cola and P&G are jumping on the bandwagon, and many brands have incorporated wellness into their marketing campaigns to great success. As much as possible, you want your brand’s values to match up with those of your consumers’ and to empower them. In terms of promotional marketing, one way of doing this would be to offer vouchers for gyms, spas, yoga studios, or health stores. On the product side, you can prepare wellness-related giveaways such as tumblers (for hydration), exercise mats, fitness trackers, and stress balls.


Design can be a game-changer when it comes to promotional products. Your product should be visually appealing, with the right combination of colours and textures or materials. Given two items that have the same functionality, consumers will be drawn towards the better-looking one, and likewise, a bland or unsightly look might deter them from picking your product, no matter how useful it is.

This 2019, Pantone declared Living Coral as its Colour of the Year, explaining that it stands for positivity, exuberance, and light-hearted excitement. Pantone’s Colour of the Year has had a surprisingly huge effect on what consumers buy over the years, to the point that brands that incorporate it stand a better chance of being noticed. Adding a pop of colour to your promotional products—especially as inspired by Pantone—might give your marketing a boost.

Another consideration is texture. Materials like wood, copper, burlap, leather, and cork are all the rage. Imbuing products with a natural, rustic look, these appeal to consumers’ preferences for the organic and sustainable. On the other hand, matte finishes also work, contributing a sleek, elegant look, while soft-touch materials for items like pens can boost appeal.


Parallel with the growing enthusiasm for wellness, people are interested in sustainability, and a survey by Futerra shows that 88% of consumers want brands that’d help them make a positive social and environmental impact. Many brands have adapted to this, achieving more sales while making a positive impact and reducing their environmental footprint. This demonstrates what they stand for, improves their brand image, and aligns them with the majority of consumers and potential clients. Ikea, Starbucks, and Patagonia are only a few of the companies that have gone this route.

A product can be environmentally friendly in different ways, from the material it’s made of to the actual production process to how it’s used on a regular basis. Popular ideas include eco friendly promotional tote bags, which display your brand’s logo and message prominently. Bags are especially great for marketing trends because compared to other items, they generate the most impressions.

Another option is reusable metal or wooden straws, which significantly decreases waste by substituting for plastic straws. Other ideas include recycled notebooks and reusable drinkware such as tumblers, both of which are ideal for showing off your logo.

Tech Products

Gadgets are easily some of the most common and sought after giveaways out there. That’s backed up by figures–the 2019 Advertising Specialty Institute lists tech items as among the most influential promotional products globally. You have a wide range of choices with this, but there are specific products that have generated a lot of buzz this year.

Classics like power banks and USB flash drives aren’t out of style yet. Because we’re so dependent on our phones these days, power banks save the day when we don’t have our chargers around, and they’ve pretty much become a modern essential.

As for USB flash drives, they may seem old school, but they’re affordable, long-lasting, and still nifty for transferring data. An additional perk is that you can load it up with files, PDF guides, and other information that your customers will appreciate, boosting your brand reputation as a thought leader.

On the more high-tech side, wireless items are a hit and have been on the social media spotlight since last year. These include wireless headphones and earbuds as well as chargers where you lay your phone on top.

Millennial Influencers

For many brands today, their target market consists of mostly Millennials and Gen X-ers, with Gen Z gaining traction. Out of all these age groups, millennials aged 18 to 34 years old are the most influential overall, and B2C companies tend to focus on them. This will only become more emphasised over the next few years as millennials get older and increase their purchasing power. Millennials also have the greatest social media presence, and getting recommendations and likes from them can direct a large wave of clients towards your brand.

In particular, millennials are fond of promotional products. Research by the Promotional Products Association International found that most millennials keep promotional products around for more than a year. 48% of them said this is because the products align with their style, while 31% said that they can relate to the product message. In a millennial survey by Splashthat, half of the respondents actually said they interact with a brand because of promotional products! Promotional marketing has been consistently effective with millennials, making both brands and consumers happy, and this will continue right onto 2019.

Marketing trends and business may be incredibly fast-paced in today’s world, but there’s order in the chaos. By understanding your target market and keeping an eye out for new trends promotional marketing has the power to really propel your brand reach and awareness in 2019 and beyond.

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