How can you help your business maximise its investment in branded merchandise?

One of the worst jobs of the year for any Marketing Manager is the end-of-year stock take. When you finally find the time to go through the branded merchandise archives and see what is left of the various piles of marketing collateral, you have collected over the course of the year.

Often you find that you are left with hundreds of themed or branded products and in hindsight, they just didn’t meet the end brief or fit the bill on the day. It is not great for marketing or events Return On Investment or for the business in general and let’s not start with the stress of organising the cupboard. 

Rather than complaining about the excess waste, I’ve managed to change my mindset over the years. Now when it comes to ordering branded collateral I follow a few golden rules to ensure our business is getting the best bang for our buck. 

1. Recognise the real value in branded merchandise

Promoting your company’s name and products is a powerful tool when done right. . Although it is sometimes assumed that branded merchandise is unnecessary or even ‘cheap tat,’ branded items are an excellent addition to your company’s marketing plan, not just for companies who frequently exhibit at trade shows.

People actually use your company’s merchandise, for a long time. You wouldn’t be the first one to believe that branded goods are wasted or just money down the drain.  Research has revealed that branded pens, speakers, chargers, or other useful marketing collateral are frequently reused for at least a year. Sometimes much longer! That is a long time to spread the word about your brand or promote a service to prospective clients.

I can count four branded items on my desk, not including those with the Streamline brand. I’ve used some of these for well over a year, especially the extremely practical branded notebook. Therefore I am well aware of these companies and even a consistent consumer of one of them. If you ask me, that’s a fantastic ROI.

2. Marketing ROI 

Branded Merchandise is an inexpensive method of advertising. For many firms, making an impression with their marketing can be expensive in today’s competitive markets. Making and distributing branded products is a fantastic addition to your current marketing plan and can give your company the extra boost it needs to get a little more attention, and it is a tool with outstanding ROI.

To give an example, if you spend £4 each on 500 branded USB battery chargers and offer one to each of your clients as a present that is a total expense of £2,000.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that your client forgets to charge their phone or needs a fast boost while on the go about twice per week. That amounts to 104 uses annually. Therefore, 3 years (average lifespan of product)  X 104 days equals 312 imprints and 312 uses. With the 500 units you sent out, you made an astounding 156,000 impressions!

So, let’s calculate that cost per impression. For 156,000 impressions, you paid £2,000. Consequently, £2,000/156,000 (spend/impressions) equals just £0.012 per impression. And given that we’re only talking about one user, that estimate is actually quite cautious.

More than with any other type of promotion, you may also be quite specific about who receives your company’s merchandise. You might no longer consider the marketing cupboard of branded leftovers a problem, but see it as a way to showcase your brand in a clever, practical and some could say very obvious manner with plenty of added ROI. 

3. Showcase your business

Branded marketing collateral is a great way to succinctly tell your business’s story. Are you doing your bit to make your business more sustainable? Tell your prospects and clients by choosing a suite of eco-friendly branded merchandise. These days the options are endless, there’s no need to choose plastic. From notebooks crafted from stone to coffee cups made with plant waste- not only do these branded products have a great story to tell, but they tell your story in an interesting and innovative way too.

4. Have a gifting strategy

If the problem you’re trying to solve is that you have lots of unused branded products left over at the end of the year- what better way to get the most out of your investment than a gifting strategy to ensure your business makes use of what you already have?

Wow, your clients with regular touchpoints- what about a quarterly gift to turn their heads, remind them of the great service you provide, and make them feel valued? 

Your employee engagement strategy is another thing that can be greatly enhanced with the addition of company merchandise. Onboarding packs to introduce your brand and your values while making your new starts feel welcomed and appreciated are a brilliant addition to your HR budget. In 2022 we created some beautiful onboarding packs that also caused quite a stir on social media channels- people share publicly when they are delighted by something and isn’t that just a great offshoot for the public perception of your brand? 

Finally- why not gift your current staff? They’ll find a branded tote bag, a water bottle, or a notebook every bit as useful as a new start and it will also make them feel special. What better way to use some stock you might not have made use of previously? Merchandise in your cupboards is no use, consider ways to get it into the hands of your audience. For example, hosting events, and client dinners, including them as a free gift with other parcels, or including them as part of thank your gifts.

To ensure you’re making the best choices when it comes to your brand’s branded merchandise, speak to one of our experts today.

Consider this when deciding on your new branded items for the new year.