Knowing HOW to choose the RIGHT promotional item to carry your brand’s message in your next marketing campaign can save time, money, boost your marketing efforts and set them up for optimum success.

In this blog post, we share the most tried and true rules you should consider when purchasing branded merchandise.

1. Have A Clear Purpose

Always, always, always have a clear purpose for each promotional item in your merchandising strategy. We cannot stress this enough. With many options for purchasing your promotional products online these days, it is really easy to shop yourself straight out of your own marketing campaign by diverging from what you actually need.

That’s because there are so many choices available in the world of branded products, unless you are an expert and used to the volume of options available out there, you may fall a victim of price-shopping and end up with products with low perceived value, knock-offs or just simply wrong choices that do not match your goals at all. Just because you can buy logoed shirts, pens or mugs online DOES NOT mean you should.

Some of the questions to ask yourself here are:

  • Does this item work well with other products in my campaign?

  • Does it match my corporate colors and support the theme of my campaign?

  • Will it arrive on time?

  • Does it have any imprinting limitations?

  • Will it resonate with my target audience?

  • Who do I speak to about my needs?

Marketing Brainstorming Cartoon

2. Quality Is Everything

Building onto what we just covered, another main question is: is the quality of this product worth of putting YOUR BRAND on it? When shopping online, you don’t get to touch and feel the products you consider purchasing. If your logo is to be displayed on a promotional product, doesn’t it deserve the best treatment possible? Take the time to discuss your options with an expert, visit their showroom and look at samples. If your timelines do not allow for this, at the very least you can rely on your promotional supplier’s experience with the given product. Maybe they have purchased it before for another client and they can speak to its effectiveness or setbacks. Remember, the items you choose, reflect back on your brand and its reputation, and you do not want the recipients to toss them in the trash because break easily or have a low perceived value.

Co-branding is one way to increase the value of your branded merchandise. Be prepared to spend a little bit more, but if the name brand you choose is popular among your customers, prospects, etc. then it’s money well spent as you ensure the product will be well received.

Under Armour Thermos Tumblers with a soccer team's logo

3. Solve A Problem Or Be Useful

Unlike ads on traditional media channels like TV or the internet or flyers in your mail, promotional products can become part of your customers’ lives both in their personal and professional space. Choosing items that are useful or actually solve a problem ensures that those items will be used often and that gives your brand a higher number of impressions and ensures it will stay top of mind. The connection between a brand and the person will get even stronger if the product is actually personalized with the person’s name! We tend to keep and use things that are unique to us or have our name on it. This is yet another reason to never hesitate to invest in better quality promotional products ~ so that they last longer through frequent usage.

Promotional Products Statistic

We are just guessing here, but if you are reading this, then you probably have some level of marketing knowledge already and probably have heard of the principle of reciprocity. You give first and get later. The more your products get used, the reciprocity loop gets stronger, your customers appreciate the products and that builds your customer loyalty. In turn, they stay with you longer.

4. Know Your ROI

There are many different ways you can measure the success of your merchandising strategy but the most important factor is that you need to consider Return On Investment (ROI) before you make your purchasing decisions. This part of the planning of your campaign ensures that you put thought into whether your promotional items have the potential to meet your ROI goals. It will tell you if they are the right product to purchase.

The ROI can be calculated in many ways: a standard ROI calculations formula, a number of impressions, or the success of the CTA ( Call To Action ). For example, if your promotional product directs recipients to your website or a landing page, how many extra visitors did this promotion create or how many new leads did it generate? If your product was an invitation, how many RSVP’s did you receive? If your product is tied to a social media campaign, how much more engagement did you notice on your social channels? And as we mentioned previously, promotional products can increase customer loyalty, therefore your ROI could also be measured in CLV ( Customer Lifetime Value ).

ROI chart of a promotional campaign

Once you decide on the right ROI tactic and measure it, it is much clearer to optimize your marketing efforts and even A/B test your campaigns even further!

5. Speak With An Expert

We always suggest sitting down with an expert, who will ask questions, not only about what you THINK you need but will also ask about the overall campaign goals and will SOURCE the RIGHT SOLUTION options for you. This process not only saves your time, but it also makes you look like a true BRAND HERO when you take those ideas and product mock-ups or samples back to your team or your boss. In the end, your promotional products supplier will ensure your precious monetary resources are getting spent wisely. And unlike searching through online options yourself, you get to ask your expert questions, you get personalized service, and build a true partnership, which will only get stronger over time and your branding efforts more accurate!

Creative team collaborating on a promotional marketing project in the boardroom

Don’t just settle for anyone who’s willing to sell you anything. Make sure you find the right partner who will take the time to understand your brand’s needs and not only provide product options but may have ideas for ways to improve your campaign or event. This is truly one of the more effective ways to optimize your returns on promotional products.

On The Road To Becoming Your Brand’s Hero

Branded merchandise has the potential to ENGAGE, BUILD LOYALTY, and create brand EXPERIENCES that other forms of marketing just can’t. It takes some effort but experts can help. Together, with some deliberate planning, creativity, and understanding of your audience, your promotional products can become part of the most effective marketing strategy for your company.

Here at CREATIVE, we are your brand merchandising experts located in Edmonton, Alberta. Visit our CREATIVE Boutique anytime or contact us and ask us to come and visit you! Either way, we are excited to meet you and to help provide promotional marketing ideas for your brand!