January 26, 2024

Moving Beyond the Swag Closet: Marketing Leaders Weigh In


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We reached out to Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), VPs, and board advisors across the U.S. to get their take on how the world of marketing is shifting — and how businesses can benefit from utilizing sending platforms as their “swag closet in the cloud.”

A Flexible Take on Company Swag

When it comes to effective marketing, company swag, or branded merchandise, plays a major role. And with the pace of digitalization these days — the way we manage inventory for promotional products, and the cost of keeping items relevant is changing.

CMO for Replicant Peter Issacson believes companies can truly see success and growth by working with technology that fosters sales and marketing alignment.

“When there is a technology that actually facilitates that coordination, like a sending platform, it’s magic.”

Making promotional items mobile is a major trend in marketing, with Sendoso taking the concept a few notches above similar concepts at other companies. Most companies can’t do as much personalization. Others can’t go to scale. Sendoso, the leading sending platform, can do both, and one of the secrets comes down to how they manage company swag fulfillment.

“People in general, based on their consumer experience, really want a self-service model. Whether it’s in their personal lives or their business lives … they want to be able to help themselves rather than going through someone else or another team,” Issacson says.

It’s a similar feeling for Sanjay Sarathy, VP of Marketing at Cloudinary, who works for a company with offices around the world. Housing branded merchandise, and then sending it to various offices around the world, is not an easy feat.

“I think it’s not just interesting to access from anywhere, I think it’s interesting to send to anywhere as well. The ability to engage with people around the world, whether it’s prospects or customers globally — with whoever on your team is the right person is critically important.”

He says traditional company swag closets are becoming less desirable.

“A swag closet is a nice to have but we don’t have 15 swag closets across 15 different regional locations, that’s, I think a little bit in the past.”

Moving Beyond the Company Swag Closet

That’s where the power of a company “swag closet in the cloud” comes into play. It allows businesses to save on costs, and not deal with the headache of constantly managing and storing inventory.

Darren Steele, CMO at Campus Logic, realized this after purchasing branded merchandise just before the 2020 pandemic started.

“We made a major investment, in fact, in trade show swag at the beginning of 2020. And when the world shut down, we carried that inventory for a year. Now that it’s over much of the messaging that’s printed on that swag is irrelevant, so we’ve got a loss to deal with.”

He says after that, his company became interested in a sending platform as a simple solution.

“A swag closet in the cloud seems simple, but the impact on the cost of inventory and the cost of managing that swag is non-trivial.”

CMO at Electric Andrea Kayal even credits moving to a “swag closet in the cloud” with helping her organization be more efficient.

“Marketing was pinged morning, noon, and night about sending swag out to different prospects and customers. When it moved to this central place that we knew all the sending was happening out of, it took probably 50% of my marketing coordinator’s time down.”

And for Carol Meyers, who has been a CMO for more than 20-years and is currently a board advisor at several companies, it’s making a big impact on the industry.

“It’s been great to move from having a situation where salespeople are knocking on the marketing door and asking constantly for swag — to be able to provide them with swag in the cloud that they can access, they can budget for, and that they can use in a way that best meets their needs for developing the relationships with their prospects and customers.”

The Power Behind a “Cloud” Company Swag Closet

We also wanted to know what made successful sending campaigns, or direct mail marketing, important for these leaders. For some, it was all about the easy access and convenience of using a sending platform.

With built-in integrations from widely-adopted software like Salesforce, Hubspot, Marketo, and more on the way, Sendoso lets your team easily integrate sending campaigns from wherever you already work. Darren Steele shared with us his thoughts.

“My team really wants simplicity. The more we can get support services that don’t require an extra link in the chain, the better it is for my team.”

Meyers believes sending campaigns set the bar for how to best deliver experiences to customers.

“I’m always reminded that rather than just getting an email in the box, people love getting an unexpected surprise, and the ability to show them that you’ve done a little bit of homework about them and you know things that they like, and you’ve taken the care to give them a gift. To give them an experience that you researched, so I think that the future of account-based marketing (ABM) and gifting is just going to be huge for B2B marketing.”

Nearly all of the leaders we reached out to also agree, it’s best to consider the value of working with a MarTech company over costs.

A point Darren Steele strongly emphasized.

“I can honestly say that I have never once bought the cheapest MarTech product based on price. We want results first. We want solutions that my team will actually use and understand, so the investment in learning the system and extracting value is way more important than saving a few dollars on and figuring out a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering.”

Peter Isaacson recommends having clarity on what you’re trying to achieve.

“Much better to have a thoughtful approach to investing in technology and really understanding the benefits in the ROI that you’re going to get it from it, because once you do have that then you start paying a little bit less attention to maybe price and a little bit more attention to value.”

Why Send Personalized Gifts and Branded Merchandise?

For a roundup of relevant trends in direct mail marketing, check out our 2021 State of Sending Report. Learn all you need to know about sending platforms, pros and cons, and what to keep in mind as you consider integrating an ROI-driven sending strategy into your marketing strategies.

Ready to leave the company swag closet and enter the swag-in-the-cloud? Request a Demo today to see how the Sendoso sending platform can make your company swag storage and inventory management a breeze.

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