Branded merchandise is hot! It always has been and we believe it always will be. Why brands should create merchandise for its customers is something we get asked all the time. There is a myriad of reasons why branded merchandise should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Yes, branded merchandise is part of a complete and well-rounded marketing strategy. Branded merchandise isn’t, or shouldn’t be, something you decide upon, last minute, to invest in because you’re heading to a trade show.
In our work with pet brands, we have come up with a potential marketing strategy your pet business can use to get the most out of the unique merchandise you’ve had created for your customer.
Why Brands Should Create Merchandise For Customers
1. Branded merchandise sets you apart from the competition. Your customers will be reminded of your brand each and every time they use it, play with their pets with it (whether it’s a toy, a travel item, a consumable or a blanket or bed their pet sleeps on)
2. Branded merchandise can make a long-lasting impact on potential customers based on its quality, durability and perceived quality of your brand itself
3. Branded items are appealing to your customers and potential customers
4. The branded merchandise has the potential to be seen not only by your customer but by the customer’s friends, family and acquaintances -- word-of-mouth marketing without your having to do anything but have branded merchandise
How can you use branded pet merchandise as a part of your overall pet brand marketing strategy?
Here are a few ways to incorporate branded pet merchandise:
1. Promotional items. If you’re launching a new product, offer a branded piece of merchandise.
2. Giveaways. “Buy three, get this (your branded item) free!”
3. Fundraising items. Want to support a local charity or pet rescue or shelter? Invest in branded promotional items then market them like this, “For every (your branded item) purchased, we will donate XYZ dollars to XYZ local charity.” You’re helping the shelter or rescue AND getting your brand’s name into the hands of pet-loving people.
4. Surprise gifts to long-time customers. When is the last time you received anything in the mail that you really wanted to receive? It’s probably been a while. Drop one of your branded pet merchandise items in the mail to a valued customer. Write a quick, “Thank you for being a great customer. We value you and wanted to give you this small gift” note. Viola you are a hero in that customer’s eyes -- all for the small cost of a piece of branded merchandise and a thoughtful gesture.
5. Use your branded merchandise in exchange for an email address. If you’re attending an event and have a booth, give away one of your branded products to everyone who signs up to be on your email list. They may unsubscribe, but then again, they may not. This is considered an “ethical bribe” and is done online regularly. Remember the last time you signed up for a newsletter simply because you wanted the free downloadable product they were offering? Same concept, but with a better giveaway.
6. SWAG (stuff we all get) at trade shows, pet conferences or other networking events. Event organizers seek SWAG for gift bags for attendees and if it makes sense for your brand, get your items into the attendee gift bags.
How have you used branded merchandise? Do you hear positive reviews from customers when they receive your branded merchandise?
PrideBites helps brands engage new and existing customers with content they crave most: pets! PrideBites also provides a turnkey solution to offer new products to existing customers and help you enter the highly lucrative pet market. Contact us for more information.