We all already know that custom merchandise is an incredibly effective way of advertising – in a recent study from the British Promotional Merchandise Association (or BPMA), 83% of respondents went on to make a purchase from a company that supplied them with a promotional product. However, it’s important to make sure you pick the right promotional merchandise – not only to make the investment as valuable as possible, but to help promote a consistent brand image. That’s why we’re here – to take you through the process, give you some ideas, and help you pick the best custom merchandise for your company!


The ‘Right’ Custom Merchandise?

The BPMA have undertaken countless studies on this topic, but in their most recent study, they point to one trait as being the most important in choosing the right custom merchandise.


A unique promotional product is more likely to ensure that you make an impression on a prospective customer – something like an interesting toy or game could be just the ticket, for example. However, they also suggest that it’s important for the product to usable and of a high quality, as that will make sure that it is kept around longer, giving you more impressions for your buck. A normal mug may not be ideal, but a mug with a big of a twist may also be the perfect pick.

If you’re looking for longevity, we’ve got some stats on that too. The BPMA recently undertook a survey called ‘What’s on Your Desk,’ where they examined the effects of custom merchandising in an office environment. When asked what promotional products they had on their desk that moment, a staggering 89% of people said they had a pen. The next highest was a mug at 65%, then a calendar and post-it notes joint at 54%, and a notebook at 51%. Furthermore, when asked which promotional items they would keep on their desks, if they could only have one, 18% said they would keep the pens (compared to 13% for mugs, 14% for calendars, 6% for post-it notes and 13% for notebooks).

Combining all this information, it seems that the most effective promotional product in general would be a high-quality pen with a unique design. However, it’s important to remember that this may not be true for every business.

Your Brand

Understanding what are generally the most effective forms of custom merchandising is one thing, but selecting the right custom merchandise for your company is another. Looking to the BPMA again, customers may want products that are unique and durable, but they also want a product that will leave them feeling valued, rewarded, and special. Pens may be good for making lots of impressions, but they are less likely to excite your customer base than some other alternatives.

Custom merchandising is about showing that you know your customers, so a great place to start when selecting your product is to think about why they value your company (or, if you’re looking to engage with new customers, what your company can offer them). That’s where the usability of a product comes in – everyone can use some promotional products, but selecting a product that will only really be relevant to your customer base is a great way of showing that you care.

For example, a music company may think about getting music-themed stress toys, but it could be a good idea to go for some promotional earphones or promotional headphones. A property company might think about using promotional mugs, but we’ve also got a wide selection of homeware and kitchenware may be a better choice for really engaging. An outdoors company may think about using some promotional fleeces to promote their work, but a Multi-Tool (or Swiss Army Knife) may come in more useful for your customers.

When it comes to selecting the right custom merchandise, there is always room for creativity – and the end of the day, the focus should be on selecting a unique product that will stand out and make your customers feel valued, while being useful enough to be kept around for a long time!

The Design

In a survey undertaken by the BPMA in 2013, nearly two thirds of all respondents thought it was acceptable to have a significant amount of branding on a promotional product, while 16% of respondents said that the branding could be very significant.  In contrast to this, the previously mentioned ‘What’s on your desk’ survey found that just over a third of respondents felt the merchandise they received lacked any call to action, or that the call to action was unclear.

Fundamentally, custom merchandise is an investment, so it’s very important to get the design spot on – that way, you can ensure the products work for you, generating revenue by helping prospective customers to find your business.

The most important thing to get on the product will be your business name and your logo – if you’ve chosen an item that’s quite small, this could be enough, as you definitely don’t want it getting cluttered. However, if you’ve got a bit more space, the next thing to go for would be your website address and contact information, maybe with a call to action encouraging potential customers to get in touch for a quote. After that, it may even be possible to include something like a list of the services your offer, or a reminder of your company’s goals – basically just show-casing what makes your company unique.

Of course, it’s also important to tailor the branding to your customer base, and the product that you’ve selected. The design will differ from case to case, but only you can know what level of branding will be acceptable to your customers (returning or new). It’s important to find that balance between subtlety and clarity so that product can help raise awareness, but will also be kept around for a while.


Choosing the Right Custom Merchandise for your Business

It’s very clear that custom merchandise can be an incredibly effective way of reaching new customers and expanding your consumer base – so why not give it a try? We have a wide range of different products available, so we’re sure to have something that will suit your brand.

At GoPromotional, we regularly work with big brands like Amazon, Google, Disney, and Cadbury, but we also work with many small to medium sized businesses. Above all, we pride ourselves on our individual approach, which means that no matter the size of your company, you always receive the same great customer service and precise attention to detail. That way, you can be confident in the fact that your custom merchandise can really work for you and your business.

Explore our extensive range of promotional merchandise ideas to see if you can find something that jumps out, or, if you’re struggling to come up with an idea, just get in touch – we’d love to help!