, (PressExposure) April 22, 2009 -- Small firms can benefit from creating cleverly targeted merchandising campaigns, particularly in a recession, according to market experts.
While some businesses might view merchandising as an unnecessary marketing cost in the current climate, small firms that continue to invest will go on to reap the benefits, according to direct marketing guru Drayton Bird of Drayton Bird Associates and expert contributor to Marketing Donut, the marketing advice website for small businesses.
âMerchandising, if itâs done properly, creates awareness and reminds people who you are,â he explains. âYou can use it to thank customers and make them feel important, or as a way to get them to do something. And those who keep promoting in a recession tend to do disproportionately better, because so many firms make cutbacks.â
So how should firms choose a suitable merchandising product? Drayton says the best ideas are those that adapt the classics to fashion, such as up-to-date t-shirt styles with modern graphics, while items linked to desirable products, such as iPod accessories, can also work well.
For inspiration, he suggests visiting specialist trade fairs, or checking supplier adverts in Marketing Week. The British Promotional Merchandise Association website also lists a wide range of suppliers.
Whatever the product, however, the key is to make it relevant to your target audience. âOften merchandising pollutes the brand by being gimmicky and cheap, unless that happens to be what your brand is about,â says Bird. âSo make sure you understand your customers and do something that makes them smile â people buy from people who charm them. Think, âwill this give them something to talk about, or to show other people?â
Choosing a merchandising product with a long shelf life or a practical benefit, such as a wallet or key fob, can help ensure that your company gift remains top of mind.
To keep costs down, Drayton suggests negotiating hard with suppliers and buying in bulk. Lastly, he says donât forget to evaluate the results.
âDonât settle for âeveryone seemed to like themâ,â he points out. âMeasure what really happened. Have a compatible control sample who did not receive the gift, then, so many months later, look at the sales from the control group versus those who got the gift.â
Become a Marketing Donut expert by visiting the blog http://marketingdonutblog.co.uk/contributors/ Find out how to join Marketing Donut here http://marketingdonutblog.co.uk/join/ To find accredited merchandise suppliers, visit the British Promotional Merchandise Association website http://www.bpma.co.uk
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