What is Specialty Advertising?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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Specialty advertising is the use of promotional, "giveaway" merchandise to get the company's presence known to its target market. A target market, or qualified audience, refers to the people most likely to want or need a company's products or services. Specialty items are ordered through printing businesses that add each company's unique logo, name and contact information, as well as a short message in some cases. In comparison to the cost of print and broadcast advertising methods, specialty advertising can be done at affordable prices for even the smallest business. Some common specialty merchandise a business will give away to prospective customers includes clothing, tote bags, key rings, coffee mugs and stationery products.

Customized pens are typically the lowest cost type of specialty advertising product. Like other kinds of specialty merchandise, the larger the quantity ordered, the lower the per item price. Specialty pens allow any type of business owner to hand them out to prospective customers. They're easy to store in a pocket or briefcase and most people use pens regularly, despite the increasing use of computers and telephones. A small business owner wanting to advertise locally can give away his or her pens customized with the firm's name, logo and contact information to likely customers met anywhere, such as in a grocery store, Chamber of Commerce meeting or business networking event.


Calendars are popular advertising specialty items since they are meant to be kept all year. The constant display properties of calendars mean that the company's presence stays in the mind of its target audience — a pretty powerful marketing result for something so relatively inexpensive. Customized promotional calendars may be purchased in small wallet sizes to the large worktable type in which notes can be written inside each day's space. Key rings and coffee mugs are other items that work well as specialty advertising giveaway products since they're often used on a daily basis.

Businesses typically give away more expensive promotional items such as clothing as prizes during a customer appreciation day or as an extra incentive to place an order within a certain time limit. In order to create a customer desire for the item, the customized clothing piece should be attractive as well as useful. The official company colors must be used tastefully and the design of the clothing item should suit the business as well as the needs of the target market.

For instance, customized golf shirts given away at a promotional event attended by a manufacturer who makes golfing supplies such as tees, balls or clubs make sense as a specialty advertising item. If the shirts bearing the manufacture's name, logo, colors and tagline message are attractive enough for the target audience to wear on the golf course, they serve as billboards for other golfers likely to be interested in the company's products. Hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets are other common specialty promotional clothing items.


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