4 super-effective marketing and merch trends in 2023

It’s no secret the marketing and merch landscape has changed in recent years – but here are the top marketing and merch trends in 2023 that you need to get on board with.

Trend #1: Tactile, valuable merch

sustainable straws in drawstring bag
A fantastic, sustainable merch idea with real longevity for your customers – click the picture to check out this promo product

Conferences and events are back in full swing after a few years hiatus – and we all know what that means. A goody bag of branded goods that’ll probably (gulp) just end up in the bin after the live event, right? That’s why 2023 merch trends are leaning more towards conference swag that is:

  • sustainable
  • beautiful
  • discreetly branded
  • ethically sourced

… and most importantly – useful for the long term. If it doesn’t tick all those boxes, you shouldn’t even go there.

Why? Well, we know that sustainability is front and centre for millennials and Gen Z (and cheap, disposable merch or fast fashion is about as far from eco-friendly as you could get, given the resources and manufacturing required to produce these things). So in 2023, it’s about choosing the right merch. Check out this blog post for sustainable merch ideas.

Trend #2: Letting social media sing your praises

Woman happily unboxing some merch she's received in the mailIf you’re on Instagram or YouTube, you’ll be familiar with the ‘unboxing’ trend – where a user will get something in the mail (like a gift, a purchase, or a complimentary, branded box of goodies) and unbox it in a video. These videos often go viral because a) people love watching them and b) they often provide genuine feedback from customers.

So again, this is where beautiful, sustainable packaging, printed materials and valuable merch comes to the forefront. Eye-catching, eco-friendly merch will only make your customers, clients and recipients want to share it, potentially tagging the brand. You can then share it on your stories which helps extend your brand reach.

Trend #3: Using merch and in-store activations to engage customers

A Philips Harvey Norman partnership and instore activation with branded merchAs consumers head back to stores in a big way, there are lots of ways you can use merch and in-store activations to engage your customers and to boost sales.

One recent campaign we’ve worked on involved a Philips / Harvey Norman partnership where an in-store ‘coffee engagement pack’ was provided to help the sales team demonstrate the new Philips fully-automated coffee machine range. The kit is branded with Philips’ logo and includes fresh coffee beans, coffee cups and lids, and chocolates (either for the staff as an incentive to do the demos, or to share with their customers. It also included a branded postcard letting customers know about the machine’s features and to contact Philips with any questions.

The campaign has had great results so far – both with staff who feel incentivised to demo the machine, and with customers, who are attracted by the smell of coffee and the promise of a free cuppa – and can learn about the machine at the same time. Talk to us if you’d like to discuss an in-store activation involving effective strategies like this one, along with branded merch.

Trend #4: Printed marketing materials

Postcard with QR code - printed marketing materials are back in 2023Are you often bombarding customers with email sequences they tire of (and possibly even unsubscribe from)? If so, it makes sense to try another form of engagement.

In this article, brand specialist Tara Ladd talks about the importance of printed marketing materials and how they can cut through the noise of sending the same message via email. Says Ladd: “A creative printed mailout is …. something physical to look at, hold onto – research shows if you’ve got something tangible in your hands, you’re more likely to remember it.”

We agree, Tara! Some examples of effective printed marketing materials include:

  • A beautiful, branded postcard with a QR code taking customers to a discount page
  • A loyalty card for a café or store that a customer keeps in their wallet
  • Funny stickers or beautifully designed fridge magnets.

Got a campaign coming up and want to talk to us about effective merch trends we can help with in 2023? Get in touch.

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