In a perfect world, your promotional merchandise will be loved by customers who will, in turn, convert into sales and maybe some repeat purchases. All of this will translate into a marketing budget well spent and get your boss smiling. Great, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. But, if you are strategic about your personalised merchandise, you can boost recognition, outreach and promote top-of-mind. When used effectively, quality promotional products are useful. No wonder companies spend between $1.5-2 billion (AUD) annually.
This spending translates into tangible results with 79% of recipients of customised promotional products going on to researching the company. Over the years, the premise behind branded items hasn’t changed although the promoted products have. Whether it be a promotional mug or a reusable grocery tote bag, if you get your (potential) customer to use it in an intended way that promotes the services you offer, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Your promotional merchandise is as good as the return your investment brings. So, how do you pick some stellar corporate gifts for your customers? We’ve done our research so grab some tea and biscuits because this is your ultimate guide to choosing promotional material for businesses.
What are you trying to achieve with your promotional items?
Don’t make the rookie mistake by simply opting for company branded pens or printed promotional mugs just because they’re a popular choice. Instead, start with what you want to achieve with branded products.
Do you want brand recognition at a trade fair? Introduce your brand to a completely new target market? Remind your customers to make a repeat purchase? Identifying your goal will help you structure the marketing spend and type of promotional merchandise that will prove most effective.
What kind of business gifts does your audience want?
Understanding your audience is important because this will set the base for the type of products you want to be branded. Take time to research your audience income levels, age bracket, gender and occupation. If you can, take it a step further and research their lifestyles, as well. Are they athletic or do they like to spend their weekends indoors? Maybe they are professionals holding a corporate job in the city or do they work out of home? Perhaps they are pet owners or parents. Knowing their habits, likes and interests will help your narrow done branded merchandise that will actually be useful rather than see it be thrown in the garbage.
Think of the longevity of your custom corporate gifts
As with most tangible products, longevity is key. You don’t want your logo stamped on items without a long-term user experience. In an ideal world, you want your personalised promotional items to be incorporated into a customer’s daily routine. Why? Repeat contact of a product promotes top-of-mind and encourages them to seek out your brand.
So, how do you choose a promotional product that will promote long term use? Pick a product that will be useful for your target audience that’ll also solve a (preferably daily) problem. This stacks up because 69% of consumers would pick up a promotional product if it provided them with some use. Additionally, 77% of consumers say that a promotional item’s usefulness is the top reason for them to keep a product.
Popular items vs niche custom merchandise
Finally, the fun begins. Once you’ve narrowed down your goal and got a good sense of who your audience is, it’s time to pick your custom made promotional products. Ask yourself, do you want to opt for popular categories of promotional items or go off the beaten path and pick up some niche products?
Some popular items include company branded pens and general office supplies, coffee mugs, promotional notepads, keyrings, bags, drinkware and outerwear (think: ponchos, umbrellas, etc). Although popular, they are still effective if you can nail the need you are looking to solve with your target audience.
On the flip side, companies are beginning to branch into small-batch niche products without opting for mass scale production. This choice is heavily dependent on your ability to discern the desires of your market and having a very focused goal. Some examples of niche branded merchandise can be as environmentally conscious as bamboo speakers or as wild as branded onesies (no, we’re not kidding). Nothing is too ridiculous if it solves a genuine problem wherein your (potential) consumer will keep reaching for it.
Measure the success (or failure) of your promotional items
The success behind your promotional products depends on measuring the investment it brings. Truth be told, it’s difficult to identify if a customer has sought after your business as a result of a promotional item or other reasons. One way to measure is to send out surveys and feedback forms asking your customers if they’ve referred anyone or used your promotional merchandise.
Once you’ve built a base of customers who provide you with continual business, reach out to them. Ask them what their favourite branded items have been and loop it back into your strategy and tweak if needed. Lastly, send a thank you note, as well. A genuine appreciation note goes a long way in bringing them back (and others, too!).