As a marketing professional and former "wearer-of-multiple-hats" in a previous role at a fast-paced startup, I know the drill. Even though we tell ourselves we won't procrastinate ordering that next round of promotional merchandise, it always tends to fall to the bottom of our to-do lists (or it did for me, at least).
Maybe it's because handling the company's merch isn't your primary role, and you don't have the bandwidth (I've been there!). Or maybe it's because you invested so much in creating an awesome, custom collection the year before, the task of already having to do it again seems daunting. Whatever the scenario may be, if you find yourself pushing it off until the last minute, I've learned some insight as to how placing that order can be a more seamless process that you might find helpful.
Read on for 3 tips to help you be more efficient with your next order of promotional merchandise.
1. Have 3-5 staple items on reorder
Often times we try to be too forward thinking with promotional products, and end up running around in circles forgetting about the core items we know our customers love. Rather than spreading yourself too thin by trying to reinvent the wheel with every order, put in the time upfront to establish 3-5 staple pieces that can be placed on reorder each round. Not only does this approach significantly reduce the time spent on your merchandise, it also allows you to focus your creativity on adding one or two truly unique custom items into the mix.
Here are some suggestions for staple merchandise pieces that are proven to bring value to brands:
- Logo T-Shirt
- Drinkware (Water Bottle, Mug, etc.)
- Journal & Pen
2. Plan ahead
There's nothing worse than waiting until the last minute to order your promotional products... When it's too late to order those items that you really wanted, and you are left with no choice but to settle on whatever you can get rushed to meet your deadline. Suddenly, the majority of your budget is spent on increased, expedited shipping fees for items that have low quality or little value for your brand, rather than spending it on the items that will actually resonate with your audience.
Save yourself the future headaches by setting up calendar reminders, scheduled a few months prior to your deadline. If it's an annual order, set up a reoccurring notification so you are prepared each year. For one-off promo needs, once the date of the trade show or campaign launch is confirmed, get in the habit of adding that task 2-3 months out to allow for those unique custom products that will set your brand apart from your competitors.
3. Partner with an agency
Take the stress off of your plate by partnering with an agency who is dedicated to handling your brand's entire merchandising efforts. From managing the timeline and budget, to researching and selecting the right pieces that will align with company goals and demographic trends, the right branding agency will work as an extension of your marketing team (minus the overhead cost). Turn that daunting task into a collaborative experience, bringing fresh ideas to the table and making you look like a rockstar by producing gear your audience loves.
Looking for more tips to help with your merchandising efforts? Download our free checklist for the steps to take to successfully - and effectively - merchandise your brand.