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Division of Student Affairs

Promotional Items

Promotional items are a fun and engaging way to get your message out. These are items given to your audience branded with your logo and used in conjunction with a marketing and communication plan to achieve a goal. There are some things to consider before purchasing a promotional item.

First and foremost review the Business Policies and Procedures Manual 70.44, Gift Cards and Cash Equivalents Purchase and Use.  Contact our team or your finance staff when in doubt about where your promotional item fits as purchases can be restricted by funding source or may have tax implications for the recipients.


What is the purpose of the promotional item?  How is it going to be leveraged to achieve that purpose?  Is an item consistent with my brand?  Having an item to just giveaway is not a good use of your time or money.  The most effective items are tied to a campaign, even if it is brand awareness, as they utilize methods to make sure that the item achieves your desired outcome.  This includes distribution, messaging the promotion through communications channels, and that is synchronous with the occasion and your values.


How much are you willing to spend?  Are you spending with deference to your desired outcome?  How much is needed to saturate your audience appropriately?  Items that you are considering should be of a decent quality and should hold up under some stress so that it can be continued to be used.  The amount spent on an item should be proportional to your outcome, spending $10 on an item to try and get your audience to spend $20 is not a good use of your money.  Finally, if you are giving out an item at a fair event, larger quantities are generally needed while an incentive item may be significantly lower based on the number of people needed.

Audience Interest Level

Have you asked any members of the target audience about their interest in a product?  Is it something they would use on a regular basis?  Having the audience use your promotional item can carry your message to places audiences that you may not have access to.  Promotional items that are not used or can be discarded do not make for effective promotional items as they will not carry your message forward.

Getting into promotional items should not be taken lightly, and reaching out to the marketing team will help you make the most appropriate use of your resources to meet your desired outcomes.


Items with WSU logo and trademarks must be ordered through a WSU approved and licensed vendor. A full list of approved vendors can be found at