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What is Merchandise Marketing?

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Casey Schorr

August 6, 2010

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:

Casey Schorr


  1. FeistyFemale on August 10, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Where’s the RSS feed for this blog? Not the email subscription, the other one….

  2. Casey Schorr on August 10, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Were working on redesigning the blogs look feel, the RSS icon is missing. Heres the RSS feed URL:

  3. Email Marketing on August 31, 2010 at 11:51 am

    This post gets me thinking about creative ways to showcase offers and images on my site.
    I think a lot of internet folk forget about how they use to be drawn into stores by window displays.
    Fresh article!

  4. Arianne Fuller on September 13, 2010 at 11:39 am

    For business starters, merchandise marketing is really a helpful strategy to create some buzz and gain some potential customers. It requires a lot of work and additional budget, but it pays off in the end when it’s done properly.

  5. Glen Andrade on November 23, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Merchandise marketing is a great tool to help your business get noticed. It is also a great way for your loyal customers to feel proud of wearing or using a brand/service that they strongly believe. It also serves as a way for your customer to form small communities of followers by simply identifying themselves with your label.