Branded merchandise – also known as “tchotchkes” – is an area of marketing that can afford significant savings and efficiency opportunities for enterprise procurement teams, if only it could get the attention it deserves. For companies that spend hundreds of millions of dollars on media and agency fees, branded merchandise frequently takes a back seat to the sexier, more high-profile media and creative categories. This is true for both marketing campaign management and supplier management. Because many of these items are low in cost and are not considered impactful to the brand, they tend be ignored by senior marketing and procurement executives alike. This is an oversight that, if addressed correctly, can lead to double-digit percentage savings figures – while providing more control over your brand.
At first blush, the promotional merchandise category appears to be simple one: How complicated can sourcing tchotchkes be? The quintessential tchotchke giveaway is a coffee mug or a pen branded with the company logo. Wearables, such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, and golf shirts, are also very common. Simple, right? Not so fast. Add in custom promotional products, high-end items, seasonal products that are popular around the holidays, food, and flowers, and the category quickly becomes more complicated. Add to that several common areas of hidden upcharges by suppliers and optimizing the category becomes even more complex – unless you know what to look for.
In this paper, GEP provides a high-level overview of the branded merchandise category, its unique dynamics, and recommendations to optimize your spend and get the most value from your branded merchandise suppliers.