I had the misfortune to get involved with a sales person yesterday while trying valiantly to complete a project before the deadline. I wasn't able to convince him that I was busy and I didn't want to speak with him at the moment. He just kept going.
He wanted me to purchase some form of chotski, that is a small gift used for promotion or marketing of a company or its products. I was amazed at the collection of pens, pencils, coffee mugs, folios, calendars, shirts, jackets, stuffed animal toys and USB thumb drives imprinted with a company logo. Do any of these things really influence your organization's purchasing decisions? I have strong doubts. Do people really purchase a multi-million dollar system based upon the coffee mugs various vendors have supplied?
It seems to me that these items often are used to show a previous choice rather than being able to really influence future behavior. Do you really think that that t-shirts given out at a show really cause the recipients to go right out and sign a check or issue a purchase order for the product in question.
In some cases, having these items lying around in an office presents an image that I suspect the recipient never considers. Does someone who influences purchasing decisions really want to advertise that he/she is biased towards some party or another rather than making the effort to select the best product for the company?
As an aside, I personally find it rather offensive to go into a Doctor's office and see the place littered with promotional materials provided by pharmaceutical companies. I expect that medical professional to be unbiased and to offer solutions based upon my needs not based upon lunches brought by sales people or pens, pencils or calendars embossed with the product name.