Afterlife of Promotional Products

  • May 14, 2020

By Alyson Hills-Martin


Whether or not you received your promotional product from the company at their store or from a tradeshow, there will come a day the product will no longer be of use. The afterlife of promotional products is just as important as choosing the right one.

Quality over Quantity (Reduce)

The cheapest pen is actually the most expensive pen because of the longevity of its worth. No one wants to buy something to give away, so what you do hand out needs to be worth keeping. After all, your cost per impression is important!

The next time you go to pick up or buy a product ask yourself, “How often would I use this?” With the answer in mind, the options you choose will likely be of either higher need or of higher quality. When you buy better quality, you spend less money in the long-term because the recipient will want to keep your advertising gift.

MARCO Ideas Unlimited has several products available that support  1% for the Planet. A lot of these promotional products are made from recyclable or alternative options rather than plastic. Most people are concerned about our environment. Showing your gift is conscious of the planet’s welfare helps recipients feel good about using the product, gaining you more ad traction.

After Show Products (Reuse)

When purchasing promotional products, you obviously want them to target your demographic. If you attend a tradeshow within a specific type of industry, you will want to ensure you are purchasing the right quantity of products. Wondering what to do with your remaining gifts, but don't quite have enough to attend another show with?

Our company attends different types of tradeshows all year and wants to ensure we are on point with our demographic. This can sometimes be tricky with product quantity when we are working with different types of industries. Sometimes we have leftover products and not quite enough to do something with at another tradeshow, so what do the experts do?

We hand out our extra, leftover products to our clients. Likely you attend a show because it is within your industry and therefore, you likely have a similarly based clientele. Whether you make deliveries or maybe your clients come to see you, work through your promotional product stockpile to get extra mileage.

It can be useful to exclude the event date or information on the product and stick with your company basics. Ask a professional about your event swag to ensure both you and your clients are getting the most value. Check out “Reduce Tradeshow Waste” for more ideas.

Giving back is always an option. With COVID-19, low-income students need items more than ever. PPAI has partnered with local school districts to redistribute excess swag products for children in need. Read more about their part with The Kids in Need Foundation. MARCO Ideas Unlimited does similar acts of service by donating unused clothing samples to homeless shelters.

No Longer Needed (Recycle)

Promotional products help advertise brands, but what happens to them once gifted or plucked from the table?  If you are attending tradeshows and networking events, you are aware of how many promotional products are available. But, what do you do when you no longer need the things you purchased?

In Portland, Oregon, METRO has a website that allows you to enter an address with your items. A search list shows places closest to you for recycling drop-off. It would be worthwhile to see what recycling is available in your area if you are frequently traveling for tradeshows and coming home with products no longer needed.

Available Options

The afterlife of promotional products is the final step in the process. Buying quality promotional products will ensure your brand is seen for a longer period of time, and accepting quality products helps reduce the need for cheaper material.  If it’s of quality or tells a great story, then people will want to keep it for years to come. After all, this is what promotional products are about!


Alyson Hills-Martin is the Marketing Manager for MARCO Ideas Unlimited.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Weber State University and has been with MARCO since 2018.  Alyson understands the importance of sustainability around promotional products and spends her free time traveling, hiking, and camping with her husband.


  • Category: Tradeshows
  • Tags: Eco-Friendly, Recycle
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