Replacing In-Person Experiences with Custom Packaging

Creating Your Own Unboxing Experience to Wow Prospects Has Become More Affordable than Ever

Did you know the iPhone box was intentionally designed to open “slowly with friction” to cause excitement and add a higher perceived value of what to expect inside?

Back in the day, you could impress a prospect at the industry trade show with a demonstration or an explanation of your capabilities. Today is different. For businesses that rely on samples, delivered products, and in-hand experiences a plain envelope or shipping box is simply unremarkable. You need a method of making an impression from the point of delivery.

If your industry involves anything from injection molding to custom cable terminations, delivering functional samples is a critical part of the sales process. Does a few parts tucked into a padded envelope really deliver the value your business can bring? Having your own custom packaging will give you a very needed advantage.

custom promotional box for b2b marketing


Developing a custom packaging piece will make a significant impact on your sales presentation. Getting the project started right will save time and money, but will also deliver a better finished product. Here are some helpful questions or thoughts:

  • Gather samples of the products and literature you wish to enclose
  • Do the contents need to be padded or otherwise protected?
  • How many samples do you send per month? Per year?
  • Will you ship the box or packaging “bare” or will you enclose it in another box (e.g. USPS Flat Rate Box)?
  • Do you want the recipient to keep or dispose of the box or packaging?
  • Will the box or packaging be designed for your entire brand or a specific product?
  • What critical information should appear on the box or packaging?
  • Do you wish to assemble the boxes or packaging (arrives flat) or have the boxes or packaging arrive pre-assembled?
  • Have you seen any boxes or packaging that stand out to you?
creative sample box for b2b marketing sales


Take a look at your business and imagine providing samples in an unconventional way. Are you stacking branded food products into an octagonal tube? How about winding a four-foot twisted and terminated wire sample into a round box?

“Ingenuity is no longer restrained,” says Matthew Olson, Founder and Creative Director at Signalfire. “It comes down to setting your business apart from the competition.”

“Tangible items are perceived at a much higher value when you add packaging to deliver them,” says Jake Chanson, Head of Business Development for Meridian. “Personalization is even more unique which gives the recipient a customized experience they can relate to and proves to be a more impactful messaging experience.”

“A custom designed delivery box can give the same unboxing thrill as unwrapping a gift,” says Olson. “You even notice the wrapping paper at Christmas.”

Eliciting the right response from your prospect or customer is crucial. The right design and the right packaging can bring a variety of emotions. A custom box design can bring a specific response.

  • Will the sample solve a problem experienced by the recipient?
  • Does your product showcase a level of precision?
  • Can the contents open new opportunities for the prospective customer?

The custom box design allows your business to bring a new level of context to what would otherwise be ordinary samples. Ask yourself—will a manilla padded envelope or even a UPS envelope do that?

golf lover custom box for b2b marketing


Custom packaging or custom boxes has a broad definition. Custom packaging represents any type of custom printed and designed packaging to present a product, service, or event. Simple boxes or enclosures can be custom printed to include personalized, variable messaging for any brand and allows for unlimited packaging design options.

“The size, construction, and possibilities have evolved,” says Olson. “As creative designers, we are far less restricted than even a few years ago.”

“For example, take the materials used to construct a custom sample box,” says Chanson. “We’ve come a long way from brown cardboard.”

Several years ago, corrugated materials were the most common for packaging and boxing. Construction of packaging has evolved to include:

  • Heavy paper cardstocks
  • Environmentally conscious eco-boards
  • Artificial synthetic materials
  • Strong foam components

Because the printing processes have come so far, the ability to create innovative designs has evolved as well. While traditional offset printing is still popular, affordable, low-volume digital printing is quickly taking over—this has allowed graphic designers to create product-specific or even prospect-specific designs. Combining the freedom of design with low-cost, digitally printed packaging materials also means unique or evocative materials can be used.

“We are able to print on virtually any substrate [packaging material],” says Chanson.

The custom effects don’t stop with digital printing. Additional post-production finishing options can also make your sample box come to life.

  • Spot UV allows specific areas of the design to be more reflective
  • Soft Touch provides a textured coating that makes the packaging softer to the touch
  • Textured laminates can give an even more tactile experience to the recipient
  • Raised ink will add an extra dimension or depth to your custom sample box


You can reach out to either Signalfire or Meridian to help build a plan for your sample packaging.

“Start by communicating with your Agency or Print Partner to discuss the goals of the project,” says Chanson.

“Be sure to factor in design,” adds Olson. “Not just graphic design, but the actual engineering of the box. Partnering with an experienced design team will pay off.”

Some helpful points:

  • What is your budget? Designing and producing your custom sample box will not be inexpensive, but your design and production partners can help get the most from your investment.
  • How soon do you need them? Make sure you leave plenty of calendar time for the project—this takes longer than a brochure. Think about design and revisions. Leads times can be in weeks, not days.
  • What else goes inside? In addition to your samples will you need packing materials (form, bubble wrap, etc.), literature, contact cards? Make sure you include them in your planning and budgeting.

There has never been a better time to create a remarkable replacement to meeting prospects at a trade show or other gathering. You’ve got some great partners who are ready to help. If you’d like to talk to the creative designers at Signalfire, simply click here. If you’re interested in production, reach out to Meridian’s website here.