7 Mistakes Organizations Make When Buying Branded Merch

You have heard of the 7 Deadly Sins.  Well on today’s DMJ 1 on 1, we break down 7 mistakes we see organizations making when buying branded merch.  We want to help you avoid these mistakes and level up your marketing.  Watch or listen below!  Oh, and please subscribe to the Youtube channel so you never miss an episode…or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts by searching “Delivering Marketing Joy.”

7 Mistakes Organizations Make When Buying Branded Merch

Watch the video and take notes, but we have also broken them down for you here.  Let’s dive in!

They Don’t Identify The Perfect Customer

Many organizations talk about the budget, the timeline, and the event, but they skip a crucial step.  Who is the piece of branded merch for?  And when you truly understand that…how do you want them to feel?  When you really understand the perfect customer, then you can make a much better decision on what piece of branded merch will dazzle them.  We dive deep into how and why to do this here.

They Don’t Give Themselves Time

The good news is that the branded merch industry has gotten better at doing fast, last-minute orders.  That’s great.  But that doesn’t mean it should be a way of life.  We know that it happens sometimes.  We get it!  But many organizations habitually wait until the last minute to order everything.  It creates stress, costs more money, and makes them settle for worse branded merch.  Give yourself more time than you think you need on your next order…and it will be a better experience!

They Don’t Set a Budget (and Share it)

As we mentioned, things pop up.  And when that happens, you might not have an established budget.  But obviously, it’s best to have a budget.  And when you have that number, don’t keep it a secret.  Share the budget with your distributor so they can guide you to the best items for your pocketbook.  In addition, they can help you understand what it will cost to ship the items and land in time and not break the bank.

They Do Not Have Good Vector Art

If you don’t have great art, you won’t have great merch.  So either provide great art or be willing to invest in it.  If not, your merch (and your customer’s experience) will suffer for it.

They Don’t Request A Proof (And Look At It)

We all get in a hurry.  I understand.  But it’s worth the 2 minutes to request a proof and really give it a look.  We request a proof on every order.  But the fact is, only the client can really tell if it’s exactly what they want.  So if you are going to order branded merch, request that proof.  Then take the time to make sure it’s exactly what you want!

They Don’t Think About Distribution

If you order amazing branded merch, but then it sits in the corner, it does you (and your brand) no good.  Take the time to think about how you are going to get the product into the hands of your best customers.  Are you going to have to ship it?  Will you deliver it?  And how will you package it? You want it to look special when it arrives.  Consider those factors if you want your next campaign to knock their socks off!

They Don’t Have A Theme or Message

While you certainly CAN just slap your logo on a shirt, not everyone will want to wear that.  When you create a theme or a message that your brand can rally around, your best customers will want to rally around it too.  Build a theme into your campaign and you will give it extra life and extra value.

So those are 7 Mistakes we see organizations making when buying branded merch.  We hope this has helped shine a light on how to do better branded merch.  Let us know if we can help!

And as always, we want to provide you with value.  So if you want to create marketing campaigns (and appreciation gifts) that really hit the TARGET, check out our TARGET marketing playbook here.


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.