What Your End Users Want in a Pen

  • Apr 23, 2018

In a world where technology is king and the average person switches between a  variety of devices throughout the day, it’s tempting to believe that pen and paper are becoming obsolete. That's far from the truth, however. Despite the prominence of screens and keyboards in daily life, writing instruments remain big sellers.

What should you look for when choosing a pen to give away?


1. All About Ink

While each year brings with it a new fleet of promotional pens and writing instruments that double as handy 
gadgets such as USB drives and laser 
pointers, one of the biggest 
factors in a pen’s success is its quality of ink.

According to Carrie Lewis, trade marketing communications specialist for BIC Graphic ink is crucial to an end-user’s impression of a writing instrument. “Smooth ink is still the most important thing to end-users.” Smooth writing not only feels good, it can also help the writing process flow easier. This allows the transfer of language from brain to paper to take place as naturally as possible.

Amy LaPlante, marketing specialist for Pilot Corporation of America echoed that sentiment, showing how ink quality contributes to an end-user’s impression of a pen. “Many of our pens have benefits,” she 
explained. “They’re pens that write for a long time. They’re pens that have uniquely formulated ink to write smoothly and dry faster.”

2. Strength of Tradition

Lewis noted that writing instruments are 
successful as promotional products because of the strength of tradition. “The writing instrument is more than 6,000 years old and will continue to evolve with time, but never become obsolete,” she said. “Since the debut of Apple Pencil in 2015 there has even been a resurgence of pen and paper. Technology advancements and traditional writing practices are interwoven and our recorded history will continue to rely on pen and paper.”

Another key feature of a writing instrument is its ability to channel self-expression. Think of a signature, or of the unique nature of an individual’s handwriting. There’s a powerful connection made between the physical act of writing and the human mind, a connection that creates both an outlet for expression and an environment in which memory is formed and retained. “There’s a growing body of knowledge that demonstrates that writing something down helps you retain it, that writing something down helps you solidify your knowledge,” LaPlante said. “It improves literacy. It improves hand-eye coordination. There’s a lot of developmental benefits to 
handwriting or to writing things on paper.”

3. High End, Low Cost

One of the biggest draws of certain writing 
instruments is perceived value. Coupled with the fact that they are cheap to produce and ubiquitous enough to create multiple impressions, it makes sense that writing instruments make great promotional items.

Trina Bicknell, senior vice president 
of sales and marketing for Hub Pen Company elaborated on the elements that help to make writing instruments so successful. “They are gender neutral, with one of the lowest costs per impression,” she said. “With the right packaging a beautiful metal pen can give a very high-end impression as a gift."

Lewis also commented on the high-end, low-cost nature of promotional pens and writing instruments. “Pens are a top performer in the industry because 50 percent of U.S. consumers own promotional writing instruments and the cost per impression is less than one-tenth of a cent,” she said. “The range of price points, interesting features and recognizable designs make writing instruments ideal for both giveaways and high-end gifts.”

The low-cost nature of writing instruments 
is perhaps obvious, as promotional pens and related 
products are small and often easily replaceable. As for their high-end status, 
however, one word stands out above all 
others as explanation: quality.

4. Quality Control

In today’s market, according to LaPlante, quality is key. “People are looking for writing instruments that work well and that help them do their jobs, whether that’s in an office, or in a truck, or at home,” she said. People want quality products that look good and work well.

According to Bicknell, quality isn’t just about the look of a pen, or how many 
different functions or gadgets it has. 
Quality still predominately consists 
of the way a pen writes and feels. 
“Users are looking for multifunction, with unique shapes and features, that still write smoothly and last a long time,” she said.

Excerpted from PromoMarketing.com, article by Tom Higgins

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