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Getting To Know Your Project: Establishing A Budget


The Rolling Stones said, "You can't always get what you want." When it comes to your branding, marketing, or promotional projects though, finding out how much you're willing to budget will certainly help you get what you need.

Let's be honest. Branding, marketing, and promotional projects can be staggering to jump in to. There are so many different methods of execution for each and it can be hard to quiet the storm and figure out a path that is right for you, so let's start with the basics; you are about to make an investment of time and resources in to a project and the goal is to walk away with something that will give you a return on your investment. Whether you're a clothing brand, a small business, an event organizer, even a sports team, you want to be sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. That's what everybody wants, right?

Let's start with some of the basic concepts about the process of branding promotional items across the board. Of course there are multiple processes that can be used to embellish your items such as screen printing, embroidery, heat transfer, pad printing, etc.. A good rule of thumb for beginners would be this; more color means more cost. Multiple decorations (ex: printing on front, back, left-side, right-side and so on) also means more cost. These processes are labor intensive and your budget has a large say when it comes to what is and isn't possible for you.

Let's put a $1000 budget through the ringer of a few different scenarios and see what we can do and the pros and cons of different choices. To make things more uniform, let's say were looking to purchase t-shirts for each of these scenarios (the same general principals should apply no matter what items you're looking to purchase).

Let's start with an easy one, shall we? We're looking to purchase some items to give away at an event. This could be an annual event or something that's one-time only like a grand opening. In this type of scenario we are trying to keep spending low while maximizing the amount of items in hand. What this means is choosing an inclusive (unisex), cost-effective (more basic) item with careful consideration about how the product is actually being embellished. By taking this path, we end up walking away with hundreds of items in hand that we could then give away as we so choose. Giveaways are a great way to build customer loyalty and spread awareness of your business or event and a well-designed product can give you a big return on your investment. Giveaways are not something you want to lose your shirt on so we'll sacrifice a few of the bells and whistles in production and approach things more conservatively but in the end you have a greater saturation of your promotional items in the real world.

Now let's try something a little different. We're running a brand wherein we are selling apparel to customers. The major difference between this scenario and the last is that these items are being paid for which means a heightened focus on customer satisfaction. After all, not only do we want these customers to enjoy representing your brand, we want them to continue coming back and referring new customers as well. Of course we use our budgets and our purchasing power within reason. We don't need to buy shirts woven with gold but we can commit more spending to higher quality garments. Higher quality can mean a lot of different things as well. In regards to a garment, we can purchase something more soft, more durable, lighter, heavier, breathable, moisture-wicking, fitted, loose. More options become available to you that you can choose from to fit your individual needs and clientèle. You can also be more free to experiment with additional colors, embellished locations (front, back, sleeves, side, etc.), and various other additional services for a retail-ready finish. At the end of the process, you'll have a few dozen products ready for purchase that have a higher cost but much more value.

For good measure we'll change things up again with a more leisurely example like ordering uniforms for a sports team. While in the last two examples we let our investment in the product govern the quantity of items we end up with, this situation has more of a set quantity that governs our investment in the product. With a $1000 budget and a team size of 25 players, that gives you $40 per player for uniforms. This would give you a lot of freedom when it comes to picking your style of garment and the customization of each piece. Additional options like personalization with names and numbers can also be done. Change the team size up however and you'll see how your budget per player changes things. Say we have a team that involved 50 players. Now our budget per player is halved to $20 and with that, our options become narrowed. This could mean choosing from a basic brand rather than a name brand, a 1-color print rather than a 4-color, numbers only for personalization rather than names and numbers.

One thing is for certain, no two promotional projects are exactly alike which is why it's important to take the time to ask the right questions and truly get to know your project. Figure out exactly what it is you're looking to achieve with your project and allow those decisions to guide your execution.

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When it comes to bringing your project to life, the importance of who you choose to work with can not be overstated. The team at South Shore Customs is not only committed to providing a fast and affordable service, we also stand by our craft as artists who are invested heavily in creating the highest quality products for our clients. Have questions about process or pricing? Want to get started on a project? Speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today.

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