However you feel about #swag #promo #merch #giveaways, the proof is in the pudding when it comes to how big this industry is, and, despite these tough times, it continues to grow. Gone are the days of promoting your business by printing your brand on "just anything". Our idea and method of “Putting Your Brand in Your Customers’ Hands” is more about making them remember who gave them the item every time they use the product, see the product, touch or feel the product. It works seriously well when it's done right but can be a total waste of money if it isn’t! Don't attempt this at home - consult professionals like us!
A highly respected and widely known Marketing Director (and one of our customers!), Michael Stewart of AskMJS, had this to say about marketing your business with merchandise: "Promotional merchandise is a great tactic for keeping your business front of mind, but you need to be smart about it. Choose wisely, be imaginative and spend money on items that are likely to hang about and be useful.”
Don’t ask your customers to be walking signage for your company (ask family, friends and employees to do that – yes we’re serious!), but give them something they can use. "Don't be cheap, though. Why would you buy a pen that costs pennies to win a contract that is worth tens of thousands? Why would you promote your high-quality goods or services with a cheap piece of merchandise?" asked Michael. Price should be less of a concern or factor in your choices than quality, value for money or perceived value. You want to purchase something that is representative of you and your brand, but also useful to your client so they think of you when they use it every day and so they don’t think you’re cheap! Michael agrees - "I always say to my clients that every piece of merchandise they give out will say something about you - you want it to say the right things and give the right impression, not the wrong one!"
Chris Howland, Senior Account Director at integrated marketing communications, events and creative agency OrangeDoor, had this to say: "Promotional merchandise provides our clients with a simple way to extend brand awareness past the normal lifecycle of an event. It is, however, important to put strategic consideration to the items you are handing out, otherwise they could end up in a drawer, never to see the light of day again – or even worse, left behind for you to clear up and take back to the office. People want what they want – so put yourself in their shoes. Do they want something useful, or something exciting? Something they will use, or something they will share? Is it for use at your event, or once they leave? What you really want is people coming back to ask ‘do you have any more of those…’ – we’ve had it before and have actually been sending merchandise out to customers who weren’t able to attend – or sometimes even the client’s wider team! Good promotional merchandise leaves a lasting impression about your brand – so make sure that it’s a positive one!"
Branded merchandise is the only marketing tool that people can touch and use. Targeted properly, it’s cheaper on a cost per impression basis that ANY other form of marketing. It engages people with you and your brand, and they can tell how much thought you put into it. It's a conversation starter. It's something on their desk that may spark a call to you when your services are needed again. You'll be front of mind if they have 5 other contacts who are your competitors.
Did anyone else give the client that powerbank that saved them from running out of phone juice on the commute home - or the cheese slate that you whip out to serve a snack at client meetings – or the umbrella that didn’t turn inside out at the first breath of a breeze? Your logo is right there, in front of them, in their hands, advertising your business to everyone who sees it. You can be assured that done correctly, promo merch will have someone asking about it and where it came from!
A client who receives a product with a high perceived value (even if it wasn’t a high cost) with your brand on it may become a great referral source for you - or even an "unpaid" brand ambassador. After all, how do you want to be seen and remembered?