Seth Godin, a hero around these parts, once said, “Marketing that works is marketing that people choose to notice.”
Being seen and being remembered is what we’re all striving for as guardians of our brands. So we create loads of content, social media posts, emails, brochures, videos, promotions and 563 other things that might possibly grab someone’s attention and make them want to buy what we offer. Deciding what stays, what goes, what’s working and what’s not is a Herculean effort.
What is Merch/Swag in Marketing?
Merchandise / Stuff We All Get (SWAG)
Adding promotional products to your marketing mix adds a new, personal, tactile dimension to your brand message. People love stuff they can touch and feel. And when it’s thoughtful, personal and meaningful, they love it even more.
Yep, MERCH is awesome because every item used, seen and loved reminds people of your brand.
What’s the Big Deal about Merch, Anyway?
We’re glad you asked. Here’s the totally legit scoop:*
- 85% of people like receiving promotional products
- 58% of people keep their promotional products for 1-4 years
- 73% of people use a promotional product once a week
- 8 out of 10 people remember the brand advertised
- 21% of people make a purchase after receiving a promotional product
The advertising power of merch is not limited to the recipient. Imagine a woman walking down the street carrying a branded tote bag. She chose it from all the other bags in her closet because there’s something about it she loves (style, size, color, message, logo, functionality, etc.). Every person she passes on the sidewalk, in the street and in the aisles of the grocery store sees her tote bag.
She’s a walking billboard for your brand.
The Wonderful World of Digital Marketing
Let’s face it — we’re living in a digital world. Technology makes it easy for people to find the goods and services they need and like. While a good chunk of your marketing efforts should go towards a creative digital strategy, promotional products can be the glue that binds real-world experiences and online awareness.
We have a few ideas about merging merch with your digital marketing. Many people sit behind a desk in the office or at home for 8+ hours a day, five days a week. They might get up to fill their coffee mug or if they are in the office, walk the long way to the restroom to avoid making eye contact with the office savant. (“No, Kevin, I don’t want to talk about last night’s episode of Yellowstone.”) But the majority of their time is spent sitting and staring at a screen.
Imagine how their day might change for the better if they had a little piece of happiness at their desk. Something useful. Something that made them smile every time they looked at it. Something that reminds them, “Hey, you matter.”
For example, a wellness company could give out a swell bottle imprinted with their logo and wellness message to “Drink More Water.” The purpose? “Keep this bottle at your desk where you can see it and be reminded throughout the day to do small, good things for your body. Oh, and how about you track your water intake on our new health app? Got a water buddy? You totally should.”
Remember, your customers are your brand ambassadors. “I can’t wait to share this brochure with my friends,” said no one ever.
Despite what marketing gurus/ninjas/overlords might tell you, email marketing is not dead. But an email inbox is sacred space. Only helpful, interesting and entertaining emails make it through the barricade of Orange Alert-level spam filters.
Why not send a small gift to people when they sign up for your list? Yes, actual swag that they receive in the mail. Ask for a physical address upon sign-up. Say something witty like, “We want to show your mailbox some mad love.”
What would it be like to arrive home after a long day of work, check your mailbox and find something besides bills and a circular for cheap auto parts? What would receiving a little piece of branded awesomeness — with a “thank you for letting us into your life… and your inbox” note — feel like?
Pretty dang amazing.
Our Five Best Tips for Using Swag in Your Marketing
- Keep your swag on theme with your other marketing efforts. Your brand message should be congruent across all avenues of promotion.
- Make it interesting. People value what’s different. Marketing is about inspiring people.
- Create an experience. People loved to be loved. Don’t treat swag as an afterthought.
- Cheap, low-quality swag rarely makes people fall in love with our brand. Make it good.
- Think custom. By planning ahead and creating a piece of swag unique to your brand, you ignite the “whoa” factor.
Marketing is a long-term relationship, not a one-night stand. Promotional products show a commitment to customers that goes deeper than just your main product or service. Good swag says, “We totally get you. We’re glad you’re here. Thank you for being you.”
And that’s always good for business.
*Data courtesy of PPAI.org