Do you remember the free pens, notebooks and goodie bags that you received from brands at roadshows and fairs, or maybe the free mugs and umbrellas you redeem from supermarkets? Aside from being free, they all have one thing in common—they remind you of the company that gave them to you.
What Is Merchandise Marketing?
While this may be your first time hearing the term “merchandise marketing”, you are definitely familiar with how it works. Merchandise marketing is a form of marketing that uses tangible items such as pens, mugs and t-shirts to increase brand awareness and customer loyalty. These free items that companies give away are called “promotional products”.
For decades, companies have been buying custom-printed promotional products and giving them out for free at events and fairs. Similar to other popular forms of marketing like social media marketing and word-of-mouth marketing, merchandise marketing is another way to let your prospects and existing customers notice and remember your brand name.
Why Should I Start Doing Merchandise Marketing?
When it comes to attracting new customers in the current digital world, online marketing tends to be the only method that companies think of. With many companies focusing on their marketing effort online, merchandise marketing has become a neglected marketing method or even one that is completely overlooked. Let’s look at some of the figures from the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) to understand what these companies are missing out:
- 88% of people said that they can remember the brand better if they received a promotional product from them.
- 83% of people said that promotional products gave them a positive impression towards the brand.
- 85% of people said that the promotional products prompted them to purchase from the brand.
- 81% of people will use or keep a promotional item for a year or longer.
- Your chances of getting new customers will increase by 83% if you give out promotional merchandise.
How Can Merchandise Marketing Boost My Sales?
Now that we understand the figures of just how effective merchandise marketing is, let’s look into detail on why you should be adding merchandise marketing into your marketing mix:
Great Value For Money
Promotional product makes it possible for small and big businesses to effectively promote their business without spending too much on advertising. Mugs and t-shirts are some examples of low-cost branded merchandise.
According to PPAI, most consumers keep promotional products for 8 months, which means they can see your brand message much longer than a social media ad or website pop up. Not to mention over 63% of people who receive branded merchandise pass their promotional products to others when they are not using them anymore, which makes merchandise marketing a rare type of advertising method that you can expand your reach without spending more money.
Creates Brand Awareness
Promotional products are one of the most powerful tools for creating brand awareness. Once consumers receive your promotional products and use them in their home or their office, it becomes an all-day-long advertising. According to PPAI, promotional products have the highest advertising recall compared to print, television and online marketing.
Furthermore, the reach of promotional products works differently than other common advertising methods. For example, while you can reach a lot of people with a social media ad, you are just reaching your target audience alone. With a promotional product, you are reaching your target customers and their social circle, which can create more brand awareness for your business.
Build Customer Loyalty
Everyone loves freebies, and that’s why most customers love receiving promotional products. But of course, being free is not completely why customers like promotional items. Promotional products are tangible items, and giving a physical item to your customers that they can touch, feel and actually use is a great way to make them feel valued.
It has been proven that most consumers have a positive impression of a company after receiving promotional products from them. Other than attracting new customers, merchandise marketing could also be your answer to attracting repeat purchase. Studies show that consumers are more likely to make a repeat purchase with a company after receiving promotional merchandise from them.
How Do I Run A Successful Merchandise Marketing Plan?
Merchandise marketing is more than just giving away cheap pens and free shirts for your next roadshow. When done correctly, merchandise marketing can be an effective way for you to raise brand awareness, creating meaningful connections with customers and eventually boost sales. Here are what you should take note of to make your merchandise marketing plan successful:
Create A Measurable Objective
First things first, set a measurable objective. What do you want to achieve by giving out the freebies? Is it to increase your client database? Or is it to drive customers to your website and increase website sales? Setting a measurable objective allows you to understand whether a certain type of merchandise, or merchandise marketing in general, works for your business.
Study The Cost
Set a budget and understand the cost involved before deciding to purchase any type of custom-printed merchandise. You should choose a reliable supplier that is not only transparent with their pricing, but also one that can provide professional consultation in terms of choosing the best product that aligns with your budget and objective. Moreover, don’t buy more than you need. Understand that even merchandise has a limited shelf life.
Set A Strategic Distribution Plan
There are many ways that you could distribute your merchandise, such as giving them out to your clients or customers at meetings and exhibitions, including them in your product packaging as free gifts, or put them on your counter for customers to freely pick up. A useful rule of thumb is the more expensive your merchandise, the more focused your target recipients should be. You could start by testing a small amount of different merchandise and see which performs the best, by asking customers how they found out about you or why they decided to purchase your product.
Integrate It With Other Marketing Methods
Merchandise marketing is just one of the many effective marketing methods available, and you can boost its performance by integrating it with other marketing tools. Support your merchandise marketing strategy with other popular forms of marketing, such as social media marketing and email marketing. For instance, spread the news about your giveaway to your email list, or use freebies to encourage user-generated content on your social media platforms.
What Are The Best Types of Merchandise to Choose?
From writing instruments to drinkwares, wearables, desk accessories and more, so what are the best types of branded merchandise you should be giving out? Discover the 3 types of merchandise that have been proven to perform:
This includes mugs, cups and tumblers. Based on a study by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), nearly 8 in 10 consumers own a promotional drinkware. Drinkware is a gift option that is suitable for customers of all genders and age. Additionally, drinkwares are more likely to be given away to another person instead of being thrown away, which can increase the exposure of your brand message as well.
Shirts and Other Wearables
Wearables include t-shirts, polo shirts, outerwear and hats. According to a PPAI report, wearables are the most preferred promotional giveaways. Among all merchandise, wearables generate the highest impressions, not to mention they are highly likely to be passed to another person compared to other items like pens or calendars—which usually get thrown away by consumers.
Towels might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when it comes to promotional merchandise. But think about it, you must have at least one promotional towel in your house that has been around for years. Yes, towels are generally kept and used for as long as 15 years! Additionally, towels also offer the largest print area among all promotional products, which means there is more space for you to insert your brand message.
To Sum It Up
If you want to boost your marketing strategy with a different element, you should include merchandise marketing in your marketing plan. If executed correctly, promotional products have the potential to increase your brand awareness and ultimately boost your sales.
Can’t wait to use custom printed towels, t-shirts and polo shirts to increase brand awareness and boost your sales? Check out Custom Print’s product page now!