Promotional product mailings can dramatically improve response rates for campaigns involving other media, such as print advertising. The following study demonstrates this effect.

For this 1996 study, Dallas Marketing Group and Promotional Products Association helped a national tile distributor integrate the use of direct mail and promotional products into an existing print advertising campaign. Response rates were then tracked for a known group of subscribers. Some subscribers received only the trade ad, while others also received a sales letter, a promotional product, or a promotional product incentive. Presented below are the results of this study, followed by a more detailed description of the direct mail campaign.


The trade ad alone received a .7% response.

The addition of a personalized direct mail letter tripled the response rate to 2.3%.

When a dimensionally packaged promotional product (stress ball) was sent, along with information similar to the letter (but with a bolder presentation), the response rate rose to 4.2% (83% higher than for the personalized letter).

An impressive 9.55% response rate was obtained by sending out an eye-catching direct mail package that contained a promotional product incentive (for a calculator).

The calculator incentive package resulted in more than twice as many responses as the stress ball package, at one third the cost*.

Of those respondents who were exposed to both the trade ad and some form of direct mail, two-thirds identified the direct mail piece as having prompted their response.

*This estimate includes only the cost of the promotional products (not the cost of accompanying materials or postage).

Study details: The Dallas Marketing Group conducted this study in 1996, with a total of 82,305 trade magazine subscribers, randomly assigned to one of four groups, which received one of the following: trade ad only (n=75,305), trade ad plus sales letter (n=3,000), trade ad plus stress balloon package ($2 perceived value; n=2,000), or trade ad plus the calculator incentive package ($7 perceived value; n=2,000). A total of 886 responses were recorded.