Promotional Merchandise

Promotional Merchandise – Generating a Strong ROI

Promotional merchandise is used by a variety of events and venues to generate additional revenue. Especially common at expo’s and music festivals, promotional merchandise often consists of items such as custom printed t-shirts, caps, promotional bags and industry or event specific souvenirs.

The primary goal of promotional merchandise like this is to generate more revenue. Attendees at expos and festivals are often big fans of the event they are attending, and will often purchase the same branded products, specific to the year they have attended, every time they visit. The items themselves become treasured collectables.

Popular Promotional Merchandise

Here is a list of some of the most popular, and profitable items of promotional merchandise:

  • Custom printed t-shirts – wide variety of styles, colour and print choices are available. As a guide, limiting the number of print colours on a shirt will have the most dramatic effect on its cost. The majority of shirts are screen printed which means a new set-up is applied for every colour in the artwork, and for each new position of printing. This can add up quickly! For a soft-feel to your print, ask about discharge printing – AAC is an expert!
  • Promotional bags – a great low cost items because they can also be used to carry the other items people have purchased! Wide range exists again, from low cost non woven bags to executive and sport bags or satchels.
  • Promotional caps, hats and headwear – again a popular option, especially when it comes to an outdoor event or music festival.
  • Promotional glassware and drinking items such as stubby coolers, glasses, water bottles are popular because they get long term use after the event.
  • Event or industry specific items – these vary per event or industry of course, and really require the event team to consider the options. Good examples are branded animal shape stress toys for an agricultural event or a branded cowbell for a rodeo.

Choosing Promotional Merchandise

The planning of a merchandise stall at any big event is an immense undertaking. There are so many potential products to consider and those choices are important. This is especially true when the year of the event is part of the branding on the merchandise, or when each year includes a new branding concept. In these cases, whatever is not sold at the event represents lost revenue because it cannot be held and sold at next years event.

The right promotional merchandise should hit these targets:

  1. They should be relevant to your target market (the festival or expo attendees), with strong functional and emotional value.
  2. They should be well made. Buying low quality products, with poor print quality, fraying threads etc only reflects poorly on your own brand and reduces the potential selling price.
  3. They should generate a strong ROI. This means they should combine a good buy price with an excellent selling price. The fact that the merchandise is event specific generates a higher selling price already, but the focus should also be on items that maintain a high perceived value.

Often the focus needs to be taken away from “what you’d like to sell” and aimed towards “what will sell”. In 2015, this could even take the form of a survey sent to previous attendees – what products would they love to see. Forum chats are another great source of information, as are other events. See what works and then replicate it.

Whenever you are thinking about promotional merchandise – focus on one thing – ROI!

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