Emily Murray, Owner Sourcey.M

So, you’re right in the thick of new budget planning for the next financial year, or you’re about to be (yeah, that procrastination thing is real). You’re considering all your objectives, reach, frequency, etc., and you might also be considering TV, radio, and of course, digital and social. Still, there’s one thing you shouldn’t forget if you want to achieve awareness and recognition with immediate results.

Branded merch stats prove that they shouldn’t be left out of your marketing plan. Nor should it be left to the last minute. If you want something bespoke and truly yours, it takes time and planning.

It should be a carefully considered gift you give to your brand advocates (aka employees!) or a prospective customer through gifting or giveaways—so you want to make sure they use it AND love it! The more thoughtful the gift, the longer and the more they’ll talk about your brand and share it on their socials—a no-fuss, ridiculously effective ROI!

In this blog, we’ll take you through how to set a budget for branded merch and what to consider when planning your swag. If you follow these awesome tips, soon, you’ll be on the road to a merch match made in heaven!

Marketing budget TL:DR

Your company’s marketing budget is an estimate of the costs required to achieve your marketing strategy. Anytime you’re ordering corporate gifts, employee gear, promo products for giveaways or trade shows, you’ve gotta play nice with your marketing budget (ka-ching!).

Every company is different, and so will be your percentage of revenue used for promotional strategies. It could be up to 20% or as little as 6%. As an additional rule, event marketing usually takes up one-fifth of a marketing budget. That might seem substantial, but it includes all the costs of trade shows and other events, with branded swag only being a small component of that. Yup, we’ve all been there—trying to find the best luxe-quality branded gifts to impress your corporates, with little to no budget left at the end of the year.

Our advice? The better you understand your company’s marketing budget, the less stress you’ll feel trying to make your promotional merch strategy work.

How to determine your branded merch budget

The first and most important step is to decide on the portion of your marketing budget for promotional products and corporate gifts.

Think about:
• End of year gifts, both for staff and clients
• Planned giveaways
• Events & trade shows
• New business incentives/prospecting gifts

Next, decide on the maximum unit price, so you avoid overspending.

Once you’ve got a number, divide it into quarters, factoring in where your events fall throughout the FY. This will help control your spending and leave more money to spend on branded merch for your top customers and employees at the end of the year.

Our advice here is to remember that strategy drives revenue. Even if you feel your budget is tight, there are always ways to acquire high-quality branded merchandise with the expert help of a leading sourcing agency.

What to include in your branded merch budget 

  1. Event merch spreads the brand love and builds loyalty and recognition with your target audience. Include giveaway swag here.
  2. Branded apparel covers clothing for your team or clients to rep your brand. Think of any uniforms you’ll need to produce, trade show t-shirts for brand exposure, and wearable gifts, for example.
  3. Customer appreciation gifts are a surefire way to retain your customers and increase company revenue with their repeat business! Depending on the size of your company, split your allocation into Top Tier, Mid Tier and so on.
  4. Sales prospecting gifts play a big part in growing your sales pipeline and generating interest in your brand. Just make sure you keep your budget per unit in line with your customer’s potential value.
  5. Employee appreciation gifts help motivate and create a sense of belonging at work, leading to retention and harder workers! A thoughtful, on-trend and super-useful branded gift for their effort goes a long way to strengthening your company’s culture and reputation as an awesome place to work.

YASSSS, you’ve now got a branded merch budget!

Now, what comes first: the audience or the swag?

There are *literally* infinite possibilities when it comes to selecting and ordering promotional items. Take it from us—we’re continually blown away by what’s on offer!

To avoid overwhelming yourself and missing the mark, the best thing to do is think about your AUDIENCE before deciding on the kind of merchandise you want. Hey, you should be thinking of them 24/7 anyway! (Marketing life, eh?) 

Define your audience, their likes, dislikes, lifestyle, values, alllll the things, and go from there when selecting the perfect piece of merch.

Suppose you’re a women’s health brand. Products that promote a healthy lifestyle, in style, like a luxe branded yoga mat or a premium quality gym towel with embroidered logo, all in your brand’s colour palette, are winners. Conversely, doing the same for a freight and logistics brand will most likely not have the same high use or brand loyalty guarantee. 

Ask yourself

Branded merch has a huge shelf life, unlike other forms of advertising, so it needs careful consideration. When you’ve found something, you like, ask yourself:

• How does this piece of merch fit your brand personality? 
• Is it eco-friendly? 
• Is it useful? 
• Will it stand the test of time? 
• Is it Insta -worthy?

How can SOURCEY.M help with all this?

• We specialise in out-of-the-box personalised merchandising solutions tailored to every business, marketing budget, and end goal.

• We’re experts in our field (marketing peeps through and through), so we’re here to answer your questions, help make sense of the jargon and give you recommendations that we know work. 

• We use our local and on-shore network to provide the highest quality, most useful, beautiful and sustainable lifestyle products—meaning less landfill and happier recipients!

• We’re a full-service agency, so you’ll receive attention to all the details, from a full consultation and analysis of your needs, sourcing your perfect merch match, through to packaging, labelling and freight, all tailored to you.

If you are in the midst of budget planning or outlining your marketing plan for the next FY, including branded merch is a killer way to achieve your brand recognition goals pretty much instantly. Remember, don’t just slap a logo on a product; consider creating some merch with personality. 

Let SOURCEY.M design and create something custom for you within your budget plans for FY2023! 

If these tips have helped you, let us know!

Happy planning!

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