The Future of Branded Merchandise in Digital Marketing


Businesses pay a lot to make their products and services visible to potential customers who frequent online spaces. How much, you ask? In 2020 alone, digital marketing spending made up 58% of marketing budgets. The money spent is also expected to rise to USD $870.85 billion by 2027.

While many companies are looking ahead when planning their digital marketing strategies, consider looking to the past for inspiration. Why not use branded merchandise? Utilizing promotional items is a tried-and-tested tactic that still has a place in today's digital marketplace. Proper implementation, paired with modern techniques, may set your business up for success.

Curious to learn how a humble printed tote bag or T-shirt has the potential to boost your sales? Keep reading to discover the power and future of branded merchandise.

Benefits of Branded Merchandise

Have you ever encountered someone with an eye-catching cap on your grocery runs or colorful reusable water bottles in a cafe? Those could be branded merchandise, and they did their job of catching your attention. That's what they're supposed to do, after all—serve as subtle moving billboards and increase brand awareness among the masses.

According to Steel City, branded products can keep your company front of mind when a customer is thinking about a future purchase (source). In fact, around 83% of customers are more likely to purchase products or services from a business that provides them with company merchandise.

When designed well, branded merchandise bearing the company logo can initiate questions and conversations, turning everyday encounters into marketing opportunities.

Apart from enhanced brand awareness, here are other advantages companies stand to gain from branded merchandise:

Building Customer Loyalty

Strong brands with high-quality custom promotional products and merchandise foster customer loyalty. Why do you think many people enjoy buying from one brand? It's because they appreciate the quality and expect the same quality in all their products, even their branded merchandise.

To attract more people to your business, consider offering exclusive branded merchandise as a loyalty reward to repeat customers. Doing so isn't only a way to show appreciation but also turns loyal customers into unofficial 'marketing ambassadors' for your brand. If they love your products, they're more inclined to carry your promotional merchandise wherever they go.

Measurable Engagement

Back when handing out flyers was the norm, there was no clear way to track this marketing strategy's impact. Now, however, your branded merchandise can have QR codes or embedded chips that link potential customers directly with your business's communication and social media channels.

Track customer interactions to gain valuable data about their preferences. This information helps you refine your digital marketing strategies and measure the effectiveness of your branded merchandise campaigns. For comprehensive digital marketing services, consider using Dagmar's digital marketing services.

The Future of Branded Merchandise

Digital Marketing

Personalization and Customization

Just because branded merchandise seems mass-produced doesn't mean there's no room for you to personalize the items. With today's tech advancements, customers can apply customization techniques to make promotional products their own. This level of personalization creates a unique experience that fosters a deeper customer connection to your brand.

In the future, expect more AI utilization, too. This technology has its pros and cons, but 80% of industry experts have already incorporated it into their digital marketing strategies. Using AI to review customer data allows you to tailor your branded merchandise, receive personalized product options, and make them hyper-individualized per person.

Keep an eye out for interactive or augmented reality features embedded in custom merchandise. Your business may benefit from these marketing methods, especially when targeting an online audience.

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Options

More and more customers are now prioritizing sustainability in the products they purchase. So, use that to your advantage when planning your digital marketing strategies.

If your business also supports sustainability, broadcast it through your corporate gifts and branded merchandise. Consider using eco-friendly materials like recycled plastic for pens or organic cotton for clothing. Look for innovative production processes that minimize waste, too.

Also, remember to promote your company's commitment to sustainability on your social media platforms for better reach to online audiences.

Integration with Digital Marketing Campaigns

Branded merchandise can become an interactive touchpoint within your digital marketing strategy. For example, an NFC chip in a notebook can trigger a social media scavenger hunt when you tap it with a smartphone. The gamified experience with promotional products encourages customers to share their participation online, all while expanding your brand's reach organically and increasing engagement.

Go the extra mile and use QR codes in branded merchandise to direct customers to loyalty program enrolment pages, exclusive content, or discount codes. It's a fantastic way to bridge the physical and digital spaces and make your brand more engaging to new and current customers.

Measuring ROI for Branded Merchandise

Creating or improving your digital marketing campaign with branded merchandise is a significant investment. You must track its effectiveness through its return on investment (ROI).

Here are some key metrics to measure the success of your promotional products:

  • Social media analytics
  • Website traffic data
  • Sales conversions
  • Customer retention rate

By monitoring these key metrics, you can gauge whether your promotional items work and optimize them as needed. Create strategies based on the data you receive, and you may see a 20% increase in ROI.


Producing branded merchandise seems like an additional—even unnecessary—step in digital marketing. But using it to your advantage could draw more customers to your business. When planning a strategic approach, remember to first understand your target audience, goals, and values.

Personalized promotional products like branded apparel, phone cases, and other paraphernalia still have the power to attract curious eyes. Branded merchandise will continue to have a place in the future of digital marketing, so it's time to incorporate it into your strategies now.