In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to stick to the status quo and choose to continue with business as usual. But this is a quick moving world, and what worked yesterday won’t always work tomorrow. A new year is upon us and with it comes new ideas, consumer interests, and industry trends.
In this blog post, we’ll suggest some ways to strike while the iron is hot and capitalize on popular promotional products and marketing trends for 2023!
The Evolution of Marketing
Evidence of marketing and advertising techniques can be found as far back as 4000 BCE by some estimates. The ancient Egyptians wrote sales messages and wall posters on papyrus, and political campaign displays have been found in the ruins of ancient cities like Pompeii. As you may suspect, the marketing world has changed significantly in the last few thousand years.
In that time, marketing trends have come and gone, and we’ve shifted from wall paintings to print media by the 1400s, direct mail ads a few hundred years later, television, and finally the digital revolution, including the internet and cell phones. Technology has exponentially exploded over the last 25 years, and marketing trends come fast and furious these days. With a world that moves so fast, it’s important to take advantage of popular trends before they go out of style.
Hot Promotional Products
Some promo products are tried and true. Things like pens and t-shirts will never go out of style and will always be popular. But in the new year, some items are trending and will keep your business top of mind while remaining practical and relevant to the consumer.
Ashley McCune, a member of Counselor’s Power 50 list of promo’s most influential people, says brand name availability is elevating promo and changing the way we think about the products we market. Clients are showing they are willing to pay for more sought-after items from brands they know, and the end user’s brand experience is worth the investment.
According to a recent survey of end-buyers conducted by ASI Market Research, 86% of end-buyers consider the brand name on an item to be important when making a promotional product purchasing decision regarding apparel.(3)
This keeps the promo industry relevant by staying close to what buyers are looking for. Plus, with a change in the retail landscape (focus shifting away from brick-and-mortar stores), retailers can market themselves by partnering with Suppliers and Distributors, creating a win-win situation.
This trend isn’t new, but continues to accelerate into 2023. Consumer demand is driving advancement in this area and industry leaders expect this trend to pick up even more momentum over the next few years.
Between 2016 and 2021, Google searches relating to sustainable goods increased 71% globally(4) and nearly 70% of consumers say a brand’s sustainability practices shape their purchasing decisions.(5) This is not something businesses can afford to ignore.
Sustainability practices can include how products are being made and what their environmental impact is, but also can trickle all the way down to how workers along the supply chain are being treated.
As previously stated, things like t-shirts will always be popular. But the apparel we want to focus on in 2023 is multi-use, functional apparel. One site describes it as “garments that can be worn in the office then later to happy hour or even on weekends for recreation.”(6)
Focus on streamlined design with functional features and comfort that emphasize versatility. This could include business casual attire, nicer athletic shirts, and even watches and bags that can be used in multiple settings.
Social Media Marketing
Social media has evolved quite a bit since the days of AOL Instant Messenger and MySpace. It’s no longer just a place to connect with friends; it’s a place for businesses to connect with their customers. There’s a good chance you’re currently using or have used Facebook ads to promote your products or business, but more and more people find themselves on other platforms and new audiences are waiting to be reached!
One of the biggest emerging platforms is TikTok. The app has 1 billion monthly active users and is being embraced by the next generation, with nearly half of active users under the age of 30. Globally, the average time spent on TikTok is 52 minutes per day, and 90% of its users access it on a daily basis. There is a massive slice of the population waiting to be engaged on this app, and the engagement rate on TikTok is far greater than that of other social sites. TikTok’s engagement rate is 5.3% on accounts with 100k+ followers compared to 1.1% from Instagram and 0.3% on Twitter.(1)
So how can you leverage a platform like this? Create a TikTok challenge with potential to go viral, or participate in an existing one. See what types of videos and sounds are popular on the app and chime in with your business using the appropriate hashtags. You can also run paid ads on TikTok or partner with popular influencers, but many businesses have found great success on the app just putting out quality and relevant content. It only takes one video to get picked up and distributed by TikTok’s algorithm to put your business on the map and send the followers rushing in. Short videos like this also work great on Instagram Reels to reach an existing audience!
As shortform videos grow in popularity and attention spans shrink, it’s important to get your point across quickly and effectively. Craft some key words with your marketing team that hit important pain points or solutions your business offers. Few people will sit through a five-minute ad detailing everything your business does or all the products you want to promote. In 2023, you’ll want to be concise and draw your audience in with quick ideas that grab the user’s attention and convince them to visit your website where they can get all the information they need.
30% of marketers are currently creating content that reflects their brand’s values, making it the third most popular trend according to HubSpot.(2) People care about sustainability and corporate social responsibility more than ever before, and they want to see that the company they are doing business with is more than a faceless corporation only concerned with maximizing profits.
Engage with your customers on a personal level. In your marketing materials, be relatable and show that your brand cares about the issues consumers care about. In 2023 businesses will be scrutinized even more for choices they make, products they push, and how they approach things like the environment, social issues, and more. You don’t have to sound off about everything that happens in the world, but stay in touch with what’s important to your customers.
President John F. Kennedy once said “change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.” He was talking about partnership with European nations, but the same applies to the promotional products industry!
There is a world of opportunity to be found in the emerging trends of this industry, and if you are only looking at what worked in the past or what is working now, you may be missing out on potential future success. By applying marketing trends like simplifying your message, humanizing your brand, and expanding your social media presence, you open yourself up to a new demographic and give yourself a strong presence in the marketplace where consumers are waiting to be reached.
Emphasizing promotional products in rising categories like sustainability, retail brands, and functional apparel is a great step toward keeping your business relevant and relatable to the everyday end user. Staying ahead of these 2023 trends will be good for your bottom line while simultaneously positioning you as a thought leader in the industry in 2023 and beyond!
Contact us today to set up a call with a dedicated member of our team to discuss the trending strategies and products you can build into your 2023 campaigns today!