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Get the Best ROI When Ordering Branded Merchandise

At Strategies, we don’t want to see your branded merchandise in the bottom of a drawer or back of a closet somewhere. That’s not a good use of anyone’s time or budget.

By planning ahead, asking the right questions, and collaborating, you can elevate your brand with promotional products that customers and employees actually want to use. Let’s walk through the process we follow to help get the best ROI when ordering branded merchandise.

Plan Ahead

“Don’t make YOUR lack of planning MY emergency!” Have you ever heard this saying?

We live in a world where we can get thousands of products from Amazon the next day. However, in the realm of branded merchandise and decorated apparel, products are custom-imprinted. They are not taken off a shelf, put in a box, and placed on a truck like when you order books, toilet paper, or any other commodity-type product from Amazon. 

Branded merch goes through several steps in the proofing and imprinting process to ensure that you get what you desire.

The average production process can take 5-10 business days. Then you need to allow for shipping time, which can take 2-4 days based on where the product is shipping from and where it needs to land.

This doesn’t mean the process can’t be rushed; it just means that when you need to rush it, everything costs more. Plan ahead to keep time as your friend!

Address Key Questions

Ask the following questions when you’re considering ordering branded merch.

  1. What is the purpose of the promotional product? Why do we think we need one?
  2. Who will be receiving the product and is there anything unique about the audience?
  3. What is our preferred imprint method? Do we have production-ready artwork?
  4. What is our in-hands need date?
  5. Is there a special location to which we need to deliver the merch?
  6. What is the needed quantity?
  7. What is our budget?

With answers to these questions, you are better positioned to engage with a promotional agency like Strategies and get some first-class options!

Here’s an example of how you might share the information in an email or phone call:

“We have a project that we would like your help with. Here are the details:

We are bringing in [number of] people from our distribution team for an event that we are holding at [event location] on [date]. The purpose for the event is to thank the distributors for their sales efforts in helping us become the regional leader for [product name]. 

The distribution team consists of both men and women in their early 30s to mid-60s.

We are budgeting [$X] and are looking for you to provide us with 3 to 5 options for us to consider.

Also, would your team be able to help us improve our artwork?”

Engage in the Creative Process

Based on your initial inquiry and background information, there are a few follow up questions that our team would inquire about in an email or phone call.  

  • Which type of products have you used in the past and how were they received?
  • What was the most recent product that this group received from you?
  • What don’t you like about the current artwork?
  • Is there anything unique or unusual that we should know about? (For example: we were going to recommend a custom journal for a customer in the paper industry. However, after talking with the journal supplier, we found out that the journal company was using paper from our customer’s No. 1 competitor in their journals. That killed that idea on the spot.)

Complete Research & Due Diligence

Armed with these answers, the creative process continues. We would come up with 8-10 ideas that fit the creative and budget parameters.  We would then do our due diligence and check the following before recommending a product:

  • Is there sufficient inventory for the products we want to present?
  • Can we produce the products in the needed time frame?
  • Can the products we want to present accommodate the imprint/artwork the customer wants to produce?

Getting the project parameters upfront and all-at-once saves everyone a ton of time and aggravation. It also provides the opportunity to add other features to enhance the overall experience.

See the Strategies Team in Action

This process has worked time and time again for our customers. Check out some examples of recent projects that resulted from this approach.

If you’re ready to get the best ROI when ordering branded merchandise with a more strategic approach, we’d love to help.

Contact Us


Chat with a Member of the Strategies team

Have a project in mind or just checking out options?    

At the end of the day, we want to help you find a product that resonates with your audience and is something they’ll use (not something that is thrown away)!    

Already know what you want? Search our product catalog and order now!

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