A recent report released by Forrester earlier this week is making big waves in the digital advertising space, projecting as large as $2.9 billion to be pulled out of digital ad spend by big advertisers over the next year. The study's findings, referred to as, "The End of Advertising As We Know It," boldly contradict the assumption of inevitable growth in digital ad spend that stemmed from Google's recent revenue results.
According to Forrester's report, there is an unspoken awareness among CMOs of the underwhelming performance of display advertising, citing the familiar problems of poor-quality ad placements, barely existent click through rates, non-viewable impressions and rising ad blocking.
Lead analyst on the report, James McQuivey, accredits this decline to consumers' gravitation toward, "options for getting what they want without interruptions." The report advises that, "CMOs should shift billions from ad interruptions to branded relationships."
"Interruption only works if consumers spend time doing interruptible things on interruption-friendly devices," according to the report. "Once they can get what they want without leaving themselves open to interruptions – whether through voice interfaces or AI-driven background services – they will feel even more hostile to ad interruptions than they claim to be today."
While digital advertising won't be completely eliminated from marketing efforts, businesses will be investing more in alternative ways to drive authentic engagement with consumers.
A Non-Interrupting Medium
As companies start to rethink their highly digital-focused strategies, it might also be necessary for them to refresh their perspective on the return on investment in branded merchandise and apparel. When done correctly, these items are an opportunity to tell a brand's story, and furthermore, an opportunity to put tangible pieces of that story into the hands of their audience.
Businesses that are curating collections of items that really speak to their target demographic are finding that it positions their brand as a source for enhancing their consumers' lives, rather than interrupting it. Merchandise and apparel are authentic, non-intrusive and non-interrupting mediums to emotionally connect with consumers, organically increase exposure, and spark up positive conversations about the brand.
You're Better Than the Tchotchke. Be Better Than the Tchotchke!
Of course, the merchandise I am referring to requires thought and strategy behind it. Not to say that these items have to be top dollar, by all means there are a ton of impactful promotional items that fall at a low price point, but there is more to merchandising a brand than inserting a logo onto a pen (unless, of course, you work at a writing business and your customers find meaningful value in that item). Like Ryan Gosling taught us in Crazy Stupid Love, "You're better than the tchotchke. Be better than the tchotchke!" Well, something along those lines...
Unfortunately, it's not uncommon that promotional products tend to fall wayside when planning marketing campaigns. The internet is flooded with race-to-the-bottom vendors, casting a shadow over the true value these items can bring to a business. When you don't have the time to comb through the pages and pages of search results of websites offering generic tchotchkes when you are looking for truly unique ideas, or the resources to strategize on specific promotional pieces that will resonate with your target demographic, it's understandable how sourcing these items begins to feel more like a task to check off of your "to-do" list, and less as an effective medium for advertising your business. Cue the procrastination... Before you know it, the event or campaign that you need merch for is now only days away, and you are seemingly left with no choice but to order that pen.
Here lies the true value in partnering with a branding agency. Remember that task I just mentioned, that feels unbelievably daunting, and often leads you in circles right back to that pen you swore you would never order again? Well that "task" is where we excel.
With the creative expertise and the bandwidth of a dedicated team, branded goods are selected and designed to align with your company's goals and your demographic's preferences. Our creative process is tailored to each of our partners' needs to deliver the most effective results in creating genuine, branded experiences for their audiences. Not to mention the undeniable stress of last minute sourcing taken off of your shoulders as we manage the timeline and help you meet your deadline.
Curious how we do this? Click below to explore a few examples of our merchandise and apparel projects.