Brand New Promotions

A Guide to Creating Your Year-Round Promotional Product Strategy

Crafting a promotional merchandise strategy can feel a little like making sushi for the first time – messy and challenging A Guide to Creating Your Year-Round Promotional Product Strategy. But easier and more enjoyable with practice!
This guide aims to roll out the perfect recipe so that your promo sushi roll is a delightful feast. Here’s a quick look at what’s in store:

Understanding your recipient or audience

Product selection
Setting goals
Planning the timeline
Budgeting
Distribution
Evaluation
Building the Foundations

A promotional product strategy is a process plan that outlines how promotional items should be utilized to achieve your marketing/business goals.
When done right, it can enhance brand visibility, increase customer loyalty, and create a lasting bond between your brand and its audience. A Guide to Creating Your Year-Round Promotional Product Strategy
Having a strategy means that you:
Will have more options available for product sourcing and savings
Have less stress for last-minute requirements
Are choosing products that have a higher ROI
Can learn, improve and adapt based on feedback and findings
As my Microeconomics professor Mr. Clark always told the class. “Failure to plan is planning to fail. So let’s get started…”

Identifying Your Target Audience

A well-defined target audience is the cornerstone of any successful merch and marketing strategy.
Understanding who your target recipients are, their lifestyles, hobbies and how they make decisions can help you select promotional products that are not only going to be relevant to the recipient but loved.
Your target audience might include prospective customers, employees, event attendees, local community members and past customers to name a few.
Understanding Your Brand Identity
Your brand identity reflects who you are as a business, what you do and your USP (unique selling proposition). It also includes your brand colours, font, values and mission statement.
It’s crucial that your promotional products align with your brand identity. They should not only represent your brand but should also enhance and reinforce the image you wish to convey.
Your brand identity will guide the types of products you are picking, their colour and how they will be customised.
What’s the competition doing?
Like other marketing channels, the competition is usually a good place to look for inspiration.
Studying your competitors’ promotional merchandise strategies can give you insights into what works and what doesn’t within your industry. See what they’re posting on social media and have a sticky beak at their conference stand.
It can also be a good way to ensure you are using products that are better than the rest so you stand out!

Setting Your Goals

It’s no surprise that the end result you want to achieve will impact your strategy.
Here are the common goals brands usually look to achieve with promotional product marketing:
Brand awareness
Customer retention
Lead generation
Employee engagement
Event promotion
Product launches
It’s usually good to set specific goals for each campaign as they will likely differ depending on the target audience and the situation.

Creating Structure

Now you’ve thought about who your promotional merchandise recipients will be and an idea of how they will fit into your brand story it’s time to outline an action plan.

Crafting a Promotional Calendar

A promotional calendar serves as a roadmap for your year-round strategy. It outlines when and what promotional products will be utilized, aligning with specific events, holidays, or sales periods.
To help get you started here is a list of common marketing dates throughout the year.
Typically it’s a good idea to set a reminder to start ordering for these deadlines a couple of months in advance so you have plenty of time up your sleeve.

We also encourage you to send this calendar to your preferred supplier or Account Manager so they can proactively reach out at the right time – one less thing on your plate to worry about!

Diversifying Your Promotional Product Mix

Just as investors diversify their portfolios, diversifying your promotional product mix can mitigate risk and increase the chances of success. Ensure your selection caters to different customer preferences, seasons, and trends. By having multiple options available you’re also more likely to have options that people will love. If you’re giving out pens for the 5th time in a row it might be time for a little bit of an update to keep things fresh.

Start to list some product ideas. If you’re struggling to think of something new ask your team or ask someone from BRAND NEW Promotions for recommendations.

But the best thing to do is go straight to the source and ask your target audience what they’d want to receive.

Pairing Merch With Other Marketing Channels

Brands that are most successful using merch are not doing so in a silo. They have an omnichannel approach that synergizes marketing channels to delight and engage their customers. Here are some examples:
Wearing branded merchandise during a TV appearance or during promotional videos
Encouraging recipients to post social media photos of them with the merchandise
As a reward for completing a form or engaging in a webinar
As a gift when paired with sales promotions
A reciprocity token to increase reviews and testimonials
List ways in which promotional merchandise can be paired with other channels to increase their effectiveness.
Setting a budget
The first task is setting aside a yearly budget for your merchandise. This typically is a proportion of the overall marketing budget and will depend on your goals and the number of recipients.
Next is dividing this into each individual campaign.
We recommend going in with the mindset of quality over quantity and matching the spend on the recipient to their perceived importance to your brand.

Implementing Your Strategy

Finding the right Supplier
A good supplier is worth their weight in gold for promotional merchandise and specialty items.
Due to the complexity of the process and the large range of options available partnering with a company that can provide value-added recommendations is going to save you headaches and time in the long run.
Storage and Distribution

A Guide to Creating Your Year-Round Promotional Product Strategy

A Guide to Creating Your Year-Round Promotional Product Strategy

As merchandise is a physical product they need to be stored somewhere. The best way to do this will depend on your situation. Typically this is either paying a fee to have the goods warehoused somewhere or holding them at your location.
Distribution is the next piece of the puzzle. Typically items are given out in person face-to-face such as at a tradeshow or to staff but there are still many effective distribution methods such as direct mail for broad campaigns or delivery to those working remotely from home. A Guide to Creating Your Year-Round Promotional Product Strategy

Getting Feedback

How do you know if the products you are giving away are working?
Sometimes it’s hard to measure because brand awareness is one of the most common goals with promotional products.
In general, your team or customers are making positive noises that’s generally a good sign. Consider surveying recipients and hearing their feedback.
You should also be looking at A/B testing various strategies to see the effectiveness of including merchandise in your campaign.
Monitoring and Adjusting Your Strategy in Real-Time
Fashion and product trends can differ from this year to the next.
There are always new products coming into the market and different decoration options becoming available so it’s best to be flexible in your strategy to allow for improvements along the way.

Putting it all together

A year-round promotional product strategy can make a significant impact on your business by sustaining brand momentum and creating deeper customer relationships.
By understanding your market, aligning your strategy with your brand and goals, and being responsive to changes, you can create a robust strategy that works throughout the year.
Feel free to use this free PDF templates to start getting a strategy in place. Or get in touch with one of our team to get started on formulating your promotional merchandise plan for the year ahead.

A year-round promotional product strategy can make a significant impact on your business by sustaining brand momentum and creating deeper customer relationships.
By understanding your market, aligning your strategy with your brand and goals, and being responsive to changes, you can create a robust strategy that works throughout the year.
Feel free to use this free PDF templates to start getting a strategy in place. Or get in touch with one of our team to get started on formulating your promotional merchandise plan for the year ahead.

A Guide to Creating Your Year-Round Promotional Product Strategy

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