Event Operations Manual
Software for Club Treasurers

Promotional Products for Events


Selling promotional products (merchandising) is not a necessary component of event management but it can add to the potential for ongoing marketing of the event in future years. It can also turn a profit unless the event organisers are stock with stock they cannot sell.

Types of Promotional Products

Product Example
Gift items Glassware, pottery, timber - etched, painted, printed or carved with special motifs, messages, logos, symbols
Clothing Caps, T-shirts, items of sport apparel
Badges Competitors badges are popular with children
Equipment Sporting equipment e.g. tennis balls and racquets sold at a tennis event`
Programmes Official event programme, souvenir programmes
Magazines Sport journals, newsletters
Books Sport books, coaching manuals
Memorabilia 2nd hand items that once belonged to famous identities
Food This is a special category of merchandising

Purpose of Promotional Products

The purpose of selling such products is primarily to boost event revenue and increase profits. However there are also considerable promotional advantages. T-shirts that have been screen-printed with a pattern to commemorate the event is a common form of promotion, and one that has a lasting effect. Such clothing helps to promote the event, the host organisation, the sponsor and/or the sport/activity in general.

The provision of clothing merchandise is also an opportunity for the host organisation to provide a uniform for volunteers, which they may receive free as a reward. The wearing of a common article of clothing by all staff usually has a positive effect on the visual characteristics of the event. Such visual characteristics of the event should not be underestimated in terms of benefits for the competition environment.

Tasks involved with Promotional Products

The work involved in merchandising includes selecting products, negotiating with suppliers, receiving and ensuring security of stock, recruiting and training a sales team, setting up a sales stand, payment of suppliers, cash management and producing financial reports. It is therefore not to be undertaken without adequate thought or planning. It is generally only considered worthwhile when one or more of the following conditions are true:

Risks associated with Promotional Products

Some of the dangers that may arise from merchandising include:

Purchasing items that do not sell

It can be very difficult to judge what items will sell. Clothing poses a special problem for it is necessary to carefully select a range of sizes. Having a knowledge of potential buyers may help. For instance, clothing sold at a Gymnastics tournament is likely to be smaller than clothing sold at a Rugby match.

Theft and damage to stock

The nature of events is that there is much frenzied work with too few helpers. A merchandising stall needs to have at least one staff person in attendance at all times. Otherwise articles are too tempting. Damage may also occur as a result of transportation, rain, customers browsing or trying on items of clothing. It may be prudent to anticipate damage in setting a price structure.

Ordering merchandising stocks too late

For best effect merchandising should be available for sale two or three weeks before the event. This allows for a maximum promotion effect. It is also worthwhile to consider advertising the fact that merchandising will be on sale in pre-event brochures and fliers that are sent to participants. Sales may be lost of participants do not anticipate purchasing products in setting the amount of money with which they leave home. If stocks simply arrive the day before, advantages such as pre-event promotion will be lost. Furthermore a late arrival of stocks reduces the merchandisers' ability to check stocks, attach price tags and package in protective materials such

Failure to provide adequate training to merchandising staff

Merchandising can be an onerous task for the volunteer. In particular there is a need to instruct staff in the procedures for recording sales accurately and for taking responsibility for cash. There is a need to record the details of all sales transactions in an accounting document. Such a document should be able to withstand the rigors of an audit by an accountant. For example it should be possible to check the number of items sold, the price, the customer and the date. Staff should also be trained in keeping money secure such as counting money in a back room or out of sight, careful transportation

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