The truth behind ordering your own branded merchandise: 7 myths debunked

Ordering promotional merchandise is easy, isn’t it.  Pop promotional pens or branded A5 notebook into your chosen search engine and you won’t be short of results.  Click on a few links, look at the options available, see who is cheapest, upload your logo, make your payment and it’s all sorted.  Simple as they say. 

So why would you need to use a specialist, like M&M, especially when you have a marketing team in house?  And why would you need to have a conversation, when you can do everything online, at your own convenience, then sit back and wait for your merchandise to arrive? 

If this was the case, then M&M would not exist.  We wouldn’t have clients, large and small, who have worked with us for years, or a constant flow of positive feedback, reviews, referrals and testimonials.  If ordering promotional products or corporate clothing is so straightforward, why do they choose to use us as their merchandise partner? 

In this blog, we look at and debunk seven popular myths around ordering your own merchandise.  Read on and you might be surprised. 

1. I can find everything I want online 

Yes, that’s absolutely true, but where do you start? If you visit a large online supplier and search for black pen, for example, then you can expect to find pages and pages of results (literally hundreds of black pens).  Of course, you can then narrow things down based on budget or materials, but that’s still a lot of pens.  And you will have to repeat the process on several sites if you are looking to compare prices or delivery times.  

Is it a case of looking through everything or getting partway through, possibly bored of pens by now, then thinking yes, that looks fine, that will do? 

What if you don’t actually know what you are looking for – or how to accurately describe and find what’s in your head?  Whilst you will no doubt see something that ‘will do’, you could be missing something that is far better matched to your goals, your campaign, your values and your budget. 

We look at merchandise every day and have done for twenty years, so spending ten minutes or so on the phone discussing what you are looking for and why is time well spent.  We know where to source a promotional nurse’s watch, a chocolate soldier or a branded mince pie, and more!  We also know the suppliers we can speak to that can create something completely bespoke. 


2. It’s cheaper online 

We’re not going to argue that you might find the same products cheaper online – in fact, it’s very possible (despite our own considerable buying power).   But bear with us; whilst a product might be five pence per unit cheaper, does that apparent cost saving really make sense? 

As the old saying goes, time is money.  When you take into consideration your time in terms of research (see point one above) and the fact that these sites are self-service (let alone if something goes wrong), is that few pounds saved really worth it?  Especially when you have more important things to be doing. 


3. I’ll be using a specialist online merchandise company, so what can go wrong? 

Whatever business you work in and however strong your processes or quality checks, mistakes happen and sometimes, things do go wrong.  (Hands up, it happens here too on occasion.) It could be a damaged delivery, it could be a production error or it could even be a strike at a port.  None of this helps though when your event is tomorrow and your merchandise is damaged, wrong or missing – and you can’t speak to anyone, other than a chat bot or by submitting an online form.   

At M&M, as soon as we know the date of your event, we’ll be in contact.  If necessary, we’ll chase you to place your order or approve your proofs.  And if something does go awry, we have the experience and the contacts to help put it right or arrange a replacement or substitute, so you aren’t left on a stand or at an event without your promotional products. 


4. I won’t order the wrong thing – there are photos of everything 

Whilst you will see product photos and descriptions online, that won’t necessarily always tell you the whole story.  A good example is an item being described as eco.  It’s a broad term that can describe multiple things, so it might not meet your values after all.  You might pick a bamboo eco product, knowing it’s a sustainable material, but that bamboo product could incur thousands of air miles, so not ideal if you closely monitor your carbon footprint.  Or maybe traceability is important to you.  Can you find all the answers you need? 

Will the pen that looks the perfect shade of red turn out to be more orange or pink?  Will the luxury hi-shine finish look a bit cheap in reality?   

Your brand is a valuable asset, and your merchandise should reflect its values in a positive way.  Having a conversation with us means that we can match everything from your values to your pantones and ensure that your merchandise ticks all the boxes that matter to you. 


5. I’ll get a proof to check so I’ll know it’s on brand 

Proofs are important, so check, check and check again.  Whilst they can reference colours or logo placement and messaging though, that’s only part of the story.   

Go back a few steps.  Can you arrange a sample of a product, to check the quality and the colour is on point?  You might think a printed bottle is just the job, but maybe engraving as a robust alternative would be better. Or your A5 notebook might feel more on brand if it was debossed instead.  How can you ensure all your products look like a uniform set? 

Good is all well and good but wouldn’t you rather it was great?   

Even when our clients have a clear idea of what they want, they are always open to suggestions or ideas about how we might take their merchandise to the next level, whether that’s an alternative product or production method.  And when they work with us regularly, they know that all their merchandise works together and gives their brand the special treatment it deserves.  


6. We already have a marketing team; surely that’s their remit? 

Absolutely!  After all, who understands your brand better?  But is searching online sites, comparing pricing and chasing samples, proofs or delivery to organise merchandise for an event the best use of their time, when they could be focussing on planning, promoting and running it instead? 

We work with marketing teams all day, every day – and we know just how busy they are.  We work closely with them to understand their goals, their values, their campaigns and their brand needs, look and feel.  But once we have had a conversation and understand their brief, then it’s over to us.  We’ll do everything necessary and take away the stresses meaning they can focus on everything else on their to do lists.  A far better use of everyone’s time. 


7. Merchandise is a fun aspect of my job 

We’re not going to argue with you there – we love promotional products and love what we do.  But that’s all we do, all the time.  We don’t have to balance it with all the other pressing tasks or fast approaching deadlines on our to do list.  When time is tight, the fun can quickly disappear. 

We can take away that stress and lighten the load.  We won’t take away the fun, just the unnecessary hassle, meaning you can still enjoy the process – and the final products. 

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