Before developing a Merchandise Marketing strategy, it helps to understand the basic definition of the term, why you should care about merchandise, and how it fits into the overall marketing mix.

What is Merchandise Marketing?

Merchandise marketing is the process of creating awareness and customer loyalty using merchandise. By merchandise, we mean any tangible item such as t-shirts, thank-you cards, gift cards, flowers, a new sports car, etc.

Merchandise marketing is similar to email marketing, tradeshow marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, or social media marketing. It’s another way to get your name out there in front of prospects and existing customers.

Why should I care?

Merchandise marketing is a proven strategy. For decades companies have purchased custom-printed items and given them away at tradeshows and events. But until now, merchandise marketing was a small component of tradeshow or other forms of marketing. An afterthought, not an entire strategy of its own. Similar to Email marketing 10 years ago, merchandise marketing is a newer, emerging concept.

It’s more than getting a box of shirts printed up for your next tradeshow. Merchandise marketing involves an ongoing strategy for creating awareness and customer loyalty using merchandise.

How is Merchandise Marketing different from Promotional Marketing?

Merchandise marketing and promotional marketing are similar. But promotional marketing (free t-shirts, giveaways, contests, etc) is just a subset of merchandise marketing. Merchandise marketing also includes thank-yous, referrals, incentives, and other proven uses of physical merchandise.

How does Merchandise Marketing fit into the overall marketing mix?

Merchandise marketing is just one part of the overall marketing mix. It fits in alongside other popular forms of marketing. It’s simply another form of marketing, another tool in the marketer’s toolbox.

Merchandise marketing can help support other methods of marketing, such as word-of-mouth and loyalty marketing. And other methods of marketing, such as email and social media marketing, can help support a merchandise marketing strategy.

Other popular forms of marketing include: