3 Questions To Ask Before You Buy Branded Merchandise

When done right, branded merchandise can be an absolute game-changer for your business.  Most of us have been on the receiving end of a quality piece of branded merchandise.  It can be a powerful bonding experience between you and the brand you love.  On the other hand, most of us have also been on the receiving end of a crappy promo experience.  You know the one.  It’s where someone in the organization clearly decided to throw their organization’s logo on the cheapest item they could find.  They might have “checked the box” in having something to give away…but they missed the mark for the brand.

They created “Brandfill.”  You don’t want to do that!

This sort of useless, cheap promotional product decreases the brand value in the customer’s eyes.  And let’s face it, most of the time it makes it straight to the landfill.  That’s why we call it “Brandfill.”

So how do we avoid adding to the noise?  How can we make sure that the next branded merchandise purchase is on point?  It’s all about being intentional.  Let’s get started with 3 questions to ask before you buy branded merchandise.

Where Is Your Perfect Customer When They Realize They Need You?

One of the superpowers of branded merchandise is the fact that they are incredibly targeted.  You can use a great promotional product to reach directly into a customer’s office, kitchen, car, or even on their wall.  One of the ways that organizations “get promo wrong” is when they create merchandise and just spray it out to everyone.  Everyone is not your customer.  You want to create branded merchandise that is specific to your prospect or client.  That is why we spend the entire first lesson of our 5 Day Marketing Course on defining who that perfect customer is.  (You can sign up here for free).

Now that you know EXACTLY who that perfect customer is, it’s time to dig one step further.  Ask the question, “Where is my perfect customer when they realize they need me?”  Are they in the car?  In their office?  Once you know who you are trying to reach and where they are…you can really be more specific with a piece of branded merchandise that will actually hit the mark!

What Is The Item’s Perceived Value?

Now that you have your perfect customer in your mind’s eye, and you know where to reach them, you can start to select items.  As you begin to narrow them down ask yourself, “What is this item’s perceived value?”  In other words, what will my customer THINK I spent on this?  In a perfect world, I like to find an item that has a high perceived value.  In other words, the customer or prospect feels like you spent more than you actually spent.  It increases the value in their mind.  That is why I love doing Double Walled Vacuum Sealed Tumblers…and why I have said that you should never buy a branded Yeti.

The goal is to find an item that your customer perceives as a $20 item, but you only spent $15.  This is not the only reason to buy a piece of branded merchandise, but it’s a good tool for narrowing your list down.

What Would My Perfect Customer Love?

Finally, if you want to create raving fans, this last question is simple but powerful.  When selecting your next piece of branded merchandise, will your perfect customer love it?  Will they be over the top excited to receive it?  If it’s a piece of drinkware, will it become their favorite?  If it’s a t-shirt, will it be the one they always take out of the laundry basket first?  If not, why not?

I can hear the “yeah-buts” now.  I get that you don’t always have an unlimited budget.  That is why finding your perfect customer is so perfect.  You are not trying to create an amazing piece of branded merchandise for everyone.  You are creating something that your tribe will love.

And if you are not creating something that will elicit a response, it begs the question, “Why do it at all?”

Those are 3 questions to ask before buying branded merchandise.  If you want help in making your next branded merchandise campaign a winner, let us know if we can help.  And in case you missed it above, feel free to sign up for our FREE 5 Day Marketing Course.  We would love to help you get your marketing back on track!

Written by: Kirby Hasseman

Kirby Hasseman is the CEO of Hasseman Marketing & Communications. Kirby hosts a weekly Web show called Delivering Marketing Joy where he interviews business leaders from around the country. Kirby has published four books. His most recent is “Fan of Happy.” His book, called "Delivering Marketing Joy" is about doing “promo right” and is perfect for people in the industry and customers. He also wrote “Think Big For Small Business” and “Give Your Way to Success. All are available on Amazon.