Can You Market Promotional Merchandise to Millennials?

promotional items for millennials

Promotional merchandise has been statistically successful across varying age groups but does the same apply to the notorious millennials?

Millennials: They are considered one of the toughest age groups to market to. But they are the largest consumer group across the world. No doubt given today’s saturated markets, advertising and marketing to millennials is becoming difficult but not impossible. And if you capture them, it’s safe to say you’ve found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Why is it important to tap into the millennial market? For starters, the oldest millennials are in their mid-30’s and they are at an age to make life-long decisions. It would be an overwhelming understatement to say that ignoring them in your marketing strategy is a missed opportunity.

Millennials love promotional products, too

So, the short answer is yes. Yes, millennials are the epitome of volatility with their shopping patterns. But traditional marketing tactics, namely marketing promotional items, shouldn’t be tossed aside.

Believe it or not, millennials have more to them than their soy-mocha-chai-no-sugar-grande ‘coffee’ order. Trust us when we say there is merit in a logo-stamped corporate gift that can convert into a sale or lead generation. The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) put out a study illustrating that promotional products can be more successful than social media marketing.

Yes, you did read that right: promotional merchandise > social media (given a few conditions, of course).

So, what does it take to market promotional products to millennials?

Branded promotional items can sell an experience

As sceptical as millennials are, get your items to promote an experience that is relatable and gets at the heart of their problems.

Here’s a classic example of this that strays away from the typical intrusive hard sell: A real-estate agent is promoting a house for rent to a young couple. The agent gives the couple a company branded pen, promotional notepad and a local’s guide to the best restaurants in the area. The promotional items come with a personal note saying. It says, “Use this notepad to write down some of your favourite foodie experiences as you embark on your newly married life.”

Tech promotional materials

As digital natives, you’ll be hard pressed to find millennials without some smart device on them. Likewise, pushing digital promotional merchandise that you know millennials need is a key to getting your brand closer to them. Branded promotional items such as portable chargers, Bluetooth speakers or similar tech accessories will add up more than a personalised mug.

Health & fitness corporate gifts

Caring about one’s health (mental and physical) is more than a trend – it’s a need that’s here to stay and millennials are jumping aboard with brands that genuinely care in this regard. Corporate branded items such as a tumbler, drawstring gym bag, a fruit infusion water bottle or even a yoga mat cater strongly to millennial interest.

Think about it: Would you rather want a branded desk calendar when you most likely use a mobile phone app or an eco-friendly water bottle to take around with you?

promotional items for millennials

Eco-friendly personalised merchandise

Millennials care about a plethora of causes and one of them is environmental degradation. A branded reusable coffee cup (think: Keep Cup) or a tote bag made from recycled waste can go a long way in showing that you care for a cause that millennials hold close to heart. Add a cheeky design to it and you’re gold!

As with using any promotional merchandise in your marketing spend, it’s all about strategy. When marketing to millennials, you can’t overlook the general rules of a well thought of marketing plan. Processes such as goal setting, audience research, promotional product longevity, and measuring progress are all vital in ensuring optimal visibility and usefulness of your marketing budget on promotional items.

Branded items shouldn’t be considered out of the equation when targeting millennials. Although they’re different to the baby boomer predecessor, they have the buying power you can leverage. Customised promotional products are still effective because let’s face it, who doesn’t like freebies? If done right, they attract curiosity and the crowd, and your return can be a powerhouse of a demographic wanting more from your brand.