Great Marketing Gift Ideas to Build Awareness & Relationships

December 5, 2022

The top marketing goodies and branding gift ideas to ace your gift marketing strategy!

Creating successful gifting marketing campaigns is one of the best things you can do to build awareness and strengthen relationships in business. By choosing thoughtful, custom merch that reflects your company’s values, you can keep your brand top of mind now and in the future. 

Looking for gift voucher marketing ideas that your recipient can fulfill on your website, in-store, or even through a swag store? Or maybe you are looking for physical gifts to personally distribute, mail out, or use as free event swag at your next conference or party. Whatever your marketing goals Gemnote can help you with all the details and the heavy lifting, so you can focus on what’s important—building those relationships! 

15 Best Marketing Gifts for Building Awareness and Relationships 

Unique Marketing Gifts Under $10 

These fun marketing gift ideas make inexpensive conversation starters. And sometimes, that’s just what you need to get your foot in the door to start building a key relationship.  

Perfect advertising gift ideas for: 

  • Mass Gifts Ideas
  • Event Giveaways 
  • Conference Registration 
  • Promotional Mailouts
  • In-Store Incentives 

1. Custom Stainless Steel Pint Cup

Not looking to spend a lot of dough on giveaways but want to get your recipients’ attention with free gift ideas for customers? A stainless steel cup like this one from ETS Express muti-tasks with several favorable features to help spotlight your company. 

Best features:

  • A sustainable alternative to single-use cups
  • 16 oz single wall 18/8 stainless steel pint
  • Available in steel or black

Possible cons: It doesn’t come with a top, so it is not great for traveling. 

Compare with Party Time Stainless Tumbler. 

Customization Options: Laser engraving and foil 

Shown: ETS Express Pint Cup


2. Custom Pen

Need free gift ideas for customers? Pens are the “write” choice! Nothing livens up a stuffy conference like a flash of color! What’s better? You can get it to match your brand. Want to take a more serious approach with your unique marketing gift ideas? Not to worry, you can keep it professional with black or office-approved with blue. 

Look for similar features like: 

  • Fine point 
  • Sooth flow gel 
  • Colors to reflect your brand 

When it comes to great marketing gift ideas for small businesses, colorful pens are both fun and functional. For unique marketing gift ideas for conferences, why not include a notepad so your recipient can take notes while they are there? 

Compare with Zebra and Paper Mate Pens. 

Shown: Jotter Pen 

In addition to physical gifts, consider digital offerings like customized gift cards, easily created with apps like Vista Create tool, a versatile gift card maker that adds a personal touch to your marketing strategy

3. Custom Drink Holder 

In the business world, it is probably not wise to wear your emotions on your sleeve. However, when it comes to unique marketing gifts, it is perfectly acceptable to add them to a beverage holder. Especially when it is on brand and customized for your business! 

  • Keeps hands free
  • Fun to customize 
  • Insulates beverages 

Compare to Custom Pocket Coolies or Can Coolers. 

Customization options: Laser print in your choice of colors.    

Need fun social media gifts ideas? An insulated beverage cooler keeps the hydration flowing and your recipient’s hands-free! And, for fall client gift ideas, talk to your Gemnote rep for customization ideas that are perfect for cooler seasons. 

Shown: Hang Cool Insulated Beverage Holder 

4. Custom Coffee Mug 

Give your recipient a taste of what your company can offer with unique marketing gifts. From the unique silhouette, custom designs, and durability, it is proof that a lot of thought goes into the details. 

Best features: 

  • Available in 12 colors 
  • Unique silhouette 
  • Designed for durability (and sustainability)
  • Dishwasher safe

For gifting marketing campaigns, matching your branding to a “T” is essential. So, if your branding doesn’t fall into the 12 colors for this mug, talk to your Gemnote rep for more fall client gift ideas that are durable and inexpensive—including mugs!

Shown: Custom Coffee Mugs

5. Custom Sharpie

Not just any marker can help ignite meaningful conversations with potential leads and VIPs. It takes a writing utensil that breaks through the stigma of bad swag from the 80s. 

Luckily, a high-performance permanent marker, like this one, from Sharpie is known for leaving its mark. 

Best features:

  • Marks on most surfaces
  • Fine tip for more precision
  • Vibrant color dries fast
  • Resists water and fading 

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore; Shown: Custom Aimé Leon Dore Sharpies

Marketing Gifts Under $20 

Need gifts for your inactive customers? Sometimes all it takes to remind them of the amazing products or services you offer are unique marketing gifts.  While these are more expensive than the freebies you may distribute to drum up business, they are worthy of your gift shop marketing ideas without breaking your budget. 

These marketing gift ideas for clients are perfect for re-engaging with long-lost customers. For more gift marketing strategy products, talk to your Gemnote rep. 

6. Custom James Hat 

No matter the season, a classic cap is as timeless as it is versatile. For a universal style that’s a breeze to customize, try a style similar to this 6-panel unstructured cap. With a one-size-fits-all design and adjustable fastener, it is lightweight and perfect for embroidering

Best features: 

  • Lightweight 
  • One-size-fits-all
  • All cotton 
  • Adjustable metal-clip fastener

Compare to District and Port & Company unstructured hats. 

Looking for a style that’s more seasonal? Talk to your Gemnote rep for ideas on custom visors, bucket hats, beanies, and more. 

Shown: 6-Panel Unstructured James Cap in Petrol Blue by AS Colour 

7. Custom Unisex Tube Socks

For the best in unique marketing gift ideas, a functional gift with an unexpected twist is both appreciated and remembered—kind of like these colorful tube socks. 

While the tube sock styling feels retro, it is also perfect for cold weather and boots. As a basic wardrobe essential, it is also appreciated for its superb practicality.  And, if you are wondering how these socks from Escuyer are one-size-fits-all, you’ll be surprised by the innovation. Designed without a heel, these tube socks can fit feet of all sizes! 

Need creative ways to promote gift cards? With ample room for customizing, it is a fun gesture they’ll appreciate down to their toes!

Look for features like: 

  • Uni-sex styling
  • Plenty of colors to choose from 

Talk to your Gemnote rep for comparable brands and sock styles that are fully customizable. And for even more swag appeal, pair with a branded tee.  

Shown:  Escuyer Unisex Tube Socks

8. Miir Tumbler 

Gifts for marketers come in all shapes and sizes (kind of like your options on customizable tumblers)! We like this one from Miir which includes a Give Back code your recipient can track and comes in plenty of colors and styles. 

Tumblers make great additions to swag stores and employee incentives too. Talk to your Gemnote rep for more gift voucher marketing ideas. 

Best features: 

  • Member of 1% for the Planet 
  • Thermo 3D® Double wall vacuum-insulation
  • Splash- and shatter-proof Press Fit Slide Lid 
  • Durable Hardshell™ Powder Coat finish

Reviewers love that it fits in cupholders making it great for commuters! See how it measures up to other popular tumbler brands →  

On the hunt for gift card advertising ideas? Why not put a gift card for a local coffee shop inside your customized tumbler? 

Shown: Miir Tumbler 

9. Custom Accessory Bag 

Organization is key to any well-run company. And if you’re trying to reconnect with your clients and customers? Well, helping them stay organized definitely scores you extra points! For maximum impact with your gifting marketing campaigns, you can’t go wrong with a well-made accessory bag, like this one, from Topo Designs. Perfect for attaching to your tote or briefcase, backpack, and more. 

Best features: 

  • Daisy chain front webbing
  • Fully-lined pack cloth interior
  • Custom carabiner 

Comparable to Baggu Go Pouch.
See what Honest Reviews has to say about Topo Designs →

Shown: Topo Designs Accessory Bag 

10. Custom Tee Shirt  

Gifting marketing campaigns should include at least one great tee. Whether you use it as a marketing gift to build brand awareness and strengthen your business relationship or add it to your event registration packets, employee onboarding kits, and more, there is no shortage of ways you can utilize a custom tee. 

Best of all, tees come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. So when it comes to fall client gift ideas (or any season for that matter!), you can easily create custom merch that gets noticed. 

This men’s classic tee from AS Colour is a great tee shirt to consider. From the quality design to its affordability, the more you order the more you can save. 

Best features: 

  • Heavyweight 100% combed cotton 
  • Heathered colors feature 15% viscose
  • Relaxed fiit 
  • Preshrunk
  • Available in 32 colors! 


Comparable to Gildan® Ultra Cotton® 100% US Cotton T-Shirt, BELLA+CANVAS ® Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve Tee, and Port & Company® Fan Favorite™ Tee. 

Shown: AS Colour Classic Tee in Cobalt 

Best Marketing Gift Ideas for Clients

These high-end business marketing gifts are perfect for those vetted contacts who could benefit from your product or service. 

11. Custom Apple Watch

Does your gift marketing strategy include high-end clients you value? For building and strengthening your business relationship, not just any promotional gift ideas for business will do. For a premium gift you know they will love, you cannot go wrong with an innovative smartwatch, like this one from Apple that can be customized for your business. 

Best Features: 

  • Comes with GPS, Heart Rate Sensor, and app
  • Customizable watch face
  • Water resistant to 50 meters
  • Streams music right from your wrist
  • Enables Notifications for messages, calls, alerts and more
  • Voice-activated Siri control 
  • Workout App tracks steps, calories, challenges, and more
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology
  • Accelerometer and Barometric altimeter
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Includes Magnetic charging cable

 Possible con: On the expensive side. 


Comparable to SuperSonic Bluetooth Smartwatch with Heart Rate & Temperature Tracking, SuperSonic ECG + PPG Smart Sports Watch, Fitbit Versa 2 Smartwatch, and Fossil Men’s Neutra Hybrid HR Brown Leather Strap Smartwatch. 

Shown: S3 38mm Space Gray Alum Case Watch with Black Sport Band

12. Wireless Earbuds

Who can resist quality sound whenever and wherever you want it? With wireless earbuds utilizing BlueTooth technology your recipient can enjoy long-lasting (up to 5 hours) sound on the go. They are a top pick for gift shop marketing ideas as well as promotional gift ideas for business execs. 

Wondering which Bluetooth earbuds are right for your business? JBL wireless earbuds (shown below) offer all the best features at a price that is affordable.  

Best Features: 

  • JBL Deep Bass Sound (8mm drivers)
  • Up to 5 hours of battery life 
  • With charging case (included) recipient can get 15 additional hours 
  • Dual Connect allows for same or separate earbud use
  • Features voice-activated assistant and touch control 
  • Includes three sizes of comfort-fit ear tips 
  • Built-in microphone

Shown: Vibe 200TWS True Wireless Earbuds, Blue

13. Waterproof Speaker 

Elevated like gift shop marketing ideas, a waterproof speaker, like this one from brand fave JBL, feels exclusive. And while it may not make your cut for free gift ideas for customers, it will definitely bring the wow factor for door prizes at your next conference. 


Best features: 

  • Delivers big audio and punchy bass 
  • Portable, compact size
  • IP67 Water and dustproof design
  • Wirelessly streams music via Bluetooth
  • Up to 5 hours of playtime
  • Five colors which include two great neutrals

Comparable to Supersonic Ambient 6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker and iHome PlayFade Rechargeable Water Resistant BT Speaker. 

In addition to this being one of the top gift ideas for VIP clients, it is also perfect for adding to your swag store. 

Shown: GO 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker in red


14. Custom Diamond Blanket

For a walk in the park, an outdoor picnic, and even a day at the beach, nothing beats a packable blanket that travels with ease. Plus, with plenty of room for customization, it is one of the best gift ideas for VIP clients, that won’t hurt your budget. 

Best features: 

  • Fun and functional for unique marketing gifts 
  • Packs up nice for on-the-go travel
  • Variety of colors and customization options

Want more ideas for custom blankets? Talk to your Gemnote rep for ideas, or check out The Best 24 Custom Blankets For Corporate Gifting here → 

Shown: Custom Blankets

15. Custom Sweatshirt 

For gifting marketing campaigns that need a little added appeal, try swapping your custom tee for a hoody or crewneck sweatshirt, like this brand-loving one from Only NY. 

Best features:  

  • Name brand
  • Clean logo design 
  • Contrast stitching 

Customize with: Screen printing, embroidery, embossed leather patch, and more. 

Not sure which sweatshirt or hoodie to go with? Your Gemnote rep can help you find the perfect custom sweatshirt or hoodie to use as gift ideas for VIP clients. 

Compare to Custom Adidas, Champion, Nike, and The North Face sweatshirts. 

Shown: Only NY Lodge Logo Crewneck

While these are some of the best ideas for building brand awareness and strengthening your relationships, there are a lot more where that came from! Talk to your Gemnote rep for additional products and product categories that make meeting your swag goals a breeze. 

What makes a great client gift: 

Remember when it comes to memorable client gifts, make sure you focus on items that are: 

  • Professional. They can still be fun, just keep it pleasing and save the funny business for audiences you know like the back of your hand. Otherwise, what started off as a well-meaning joke could go sideways.

  • High Quality. Even small businesses with small budgets should focus on quality. After all, your swag is supposed to be reinforcing your brand image, so don’t let cheap, unsightly merch do the talking. Talk to your Gemnote rep for more ideas on inexpensive, yet quality products. 

  • Functional. By giving your recipients something useful, they’ll think of your company every time they use it. (So you’ll definitely want to customize it with your logo and branding!) And, bonus points if you can make it fun too!

  • Style! It doesn’t have to be the trendiest or even a name brand. However, you’ll want to take care that your custom product is a great reflection of your company and your brand. Think apparel they want to wear, products they want to use in their home or office, and tumblers (and other commuter-friendly items) they want to take on the go. 

In addition to using these marketing gift ideas for building brand awareness and strengthening relationships, they also make excellent customer appreciation gifts. 

Talk to your Gemnote rep about how you can increase your order to achieve more of your marketing goals and save per piece. They can even show you how to create gift voucher marketing ideas that can be applied to your swag store. Don’t have a swag store? Let them help with that too! When it comes to gifting marketing campaigns, they can help you from start to finish. 

Are you working on a similar project or campaign?