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Marketing Products

2011 October 5

Don’t Fall behind when it comes to marketing your company!


Ahh yes, finally October. We look forward to October for tons of reasons. Perhaps it’s the changing leaves cascading from the trees, the pumpkin flavored beverages and bakery goods, or a much awaited cool breeze after a long, hot summer. Whatever your reason for loving the month of October, there are also ways to get your company involved in the celebration. If you’re looking for a way to spice things up at work (much like your pumpkin spice latte) then why don’t you revolve your marketing products around all the fun? If you’re not really sure where to start, since there are virtually tons of marketing products and ideas to choose from, choose a theme or holiday. Since we’re still in the beginning of October, you have some time to utilize this month’s holidays to create a fantastic marketing scheme.

Here are some of the best ideas to market your brand in October:

Boss’ Day- We’re starting with the most obvious, of course. Boss’ Day is on October 16, and is the most corporately involved holiday of the month. If you’re the owner of your company, advertise marketing products to your employees to purchase gifts for their bosses. It’s an easy and simple way to show appreciation. If you’re the boss of a specific department or group, I wouldn’t push the idea because you’ll come off as greedy and arrogant (expecting gifts from your employees defeats the entire purpose!). However, as a company in general, you should have some type of marketing product that the staff can purchase to show their bosses that they’re doing a good job.

Make a Difference Day- This holiday takes place on the fourth Saturday in October. Realistically, not all of us are going to spend this day going out and volunteering, but this doesn’t mean you can’t still do your part. Distribute eco-friendly marketing products that promote the holiday as well as your company, and not only are you making a difference, but you’re encouraging others to as well. You could get eco-friendly tote bags with a recycling symbol around your company logo and give them out at trade shows or company sponsored events. Also, give your office some environmentally friendly products to say thank you, as well as convince others to celebrate the holiday. Marketing products that are eco-friendly are not hard to come by, and “going green” is all the rage right now. Instead of giving out coffee mugs (like you do every couple months anyway), try giving out water bottles made of recyclable material.

Sweetest Day- The third Saturday in October is much like Valentine’s Day, in the way that you are celebrating your sweetie. The only difference is that this holiday has nothing to do with St. Valentine. For advocates against V-Day all together, Sweetest Day can be a good alternative. As a marketer, take advantage of a silly holiday by getting your employees to give gifts to their significant others. Have marketing products personalized with names, hearts, phrases, etc. It will be a fun and creative way to get everyone involved. Your employees will love it because you’re helping them out with their spouses or partners, and you’ll get your brand out there in yet another channel.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month- This shouldn’t be too hard to get your company involved in because there’s tons of ways to go about marketing your company as well has helping a good cause. For starters, you could just stick to whichever marketing products you usually distribute; just order them with something pink, or a breast cancer logo, and donate a percentage of the profit to a breast cancer organization. If you’re not into giving out marketing products to employees or clients, try to organize a company-wide event. There are virtually thousands of events sponsoring breast cancer research and awareness all over the country. Have your employees sign up for a walk or run together. Not only would it be a bonding experience, but you’d get several other benefits as well. You’re helping research for breast cancer, and also getting your company involved in charitable events makes you stand out in the community. Potential clients or customers will see that you come from a caring organization with integrity.

Veteran’s Day- Honor veterans either within your workplace or within your community. Personalize marketing products to say “thank you” to those who fought for our country and distribute them at a veteran-centered event. If you don’t want to take the holiday that far, keep it internal by finding out who is a veteran within your company and give them a special gift. Employees love when their recognized and appreciated, and this is a way to show them you value them as a person and not just as an employee.

Promotional Goods

2011 October 5

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and there are a lot of activities going on all around the world to help support the cause. The United Nations World Health Organization has reported that more than 500,000 people worldwide die from breast cancer every year, and this disease is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women throughout the world. It is also estimated that about 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with the disease over the course of their lifetime. With startling statistics such as these, it is no wonder that the support and fight for finding a cure has reached around the globe.

Many peoples’ lives have been affected by this disease, whether it is their own or the life of a family member or friend. Because of its incredible impact, nearly everyone in the world can relate to the struggles faced during the fight against this disease.

Each year during this month, events large and small are held around the globe to help increase awareness and raise money for the many funds and organizations that sponsor continued research and treatment of this disease. Events like 5K races, bike rides, sales promotional goods, and even special “pink days” are commonplace in almost any environment, from corporate offices, professional sports arenas, city centers, and small towns. With the outpouring of support by the public on an international scale, billions of dollars have been raised to help support continued public education, health screening services, treatment, and continued research for a cure for this disease.

Whether you choose to support a charity, buy “pink” promotional goods for your company and employees, or participate in a number of events going on throughout the month, there are a number of different ways to get involved and your contributions go to support a great cause. Here are some of the biggest events going on around the world in celebration of life, the fight for the cure, and the continued support of all of those affected by the disease.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s “Race for the Cure” – This foundation, whose goal is to “end breast cancer forever”, is one of the largest in supporting breast cancer research around the world. There are millions of people that participate in events benefiting this foundation in the United States alone, where it originated in 1983 with only 800 participants. Since that time, it has become an international event, with participating countries now includind Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Canada, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, and Hungary.
The foundation runs 3-day/60-mile fundraising walks, marathons, pinks days, and other incredible events around the world, where it now has active partnerships in 50 other countries. Since its start in 1982, has helped to invest about $2 billion in breast cancer research, advocacy, health services, education, and more.

The Ride to Empower – This is an annual “destination bike ride” organized to help raise funds for the Breast Cancer Network of Strength, with a new location and route announced each year. Previous rides have taken participants through the hills of California, the mountains around Las Vegas, and last year, riders toured through Springdale, Utah.

“Pink” Days – Many employers sponsor this event and encourage their employees to wear pink on a certain day and donate to the organizers’ choice of breast cancer care or research programs. Leading up to these days, many companies also sell promotional goods to their employees and customers and then donate the proceeds to a charity like The American Cancer Society or Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Even the National Football League gets involved with this activity; during the month of October, the NFL displays pink on its websites, graphics, and advertisements, and players show their support by wearing pink gloves, cleats, captains patches, and other pink details during games.

Global Illumination – This is one of the most spectacular global movements for breast cancer awareness sponsored by the Estee Lauder Companies. In this event, world-famous landmarks are illuminated in pink to help draw attention to the importance of mammography screening for early diagnosis of breast cancer as well as to support research for finding ways to cure and prevent breast cancer. Some of the landmarks involved in this event are The Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia, Constantine’s Arch in Rome, Italy, Tokyo Tower in Japan, The Dam Square in Amsterdam, The Empire State Building in New York City, and the Skytower in Aukland, New Zealand, just to name a few.

Promotional Advertising Items

2011 September 27

Last night I attended a preseason hockey game where the Philadelphia Flyers played against the New York Rangers. Flyers games are held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and organized by Comcast Spectacor. While walking around the arena, it’s interesting to see all of the different promotional advertising items that are being sold with the team’s logo. Trying not to spend all of the money you have on you is extremely difficult! Besides all of the logo apparel and accessories, there are tons of food and drink stations, as well as bars, arcade games, and gift shops. For the average Flyer’s fan, walking around the Wells Fargo Center is worse than being a kid in a candy shop!

When we first arrived, we had a little over an hour to kill so we wanted to grab a drink and check out some of the shops. Conveniently, there was a Chickie’s & Pete’s located in the bar right by our seats, so we stopped in for a drink and crab fries. If you don’t attend sporting events in Philly very often, crab fries are a must! Then we got a drink to go and went searching for the stores with promotional advertising products.

The first things we looked for were t-shirts and jerseys. I’m not very good at telling the difference between the real thing and a knock-off, but who I was with was a professional at it! We had a lot of fun watching the people with jerseys on and trying to determine whether or not they were authentic. The Winter Classis jerseys are the hardest to distinguish because they’re only popular once a year. After scoping out some one the clothing stores, we came to the conclusion that we could by almost all the same things at a sporting goods store for a lot less. The t-shirts all started at $30 and the hoodies were never less than $50 or 60. Even a simple racer-back tank top with a Flyers logo cost $35, and the most basic hats were all $28 or more. I really wanted a hat but was reluctant to spend that much. We decided we could probably find Flyers’ promotional advertising items a different time.

By this time, the game was about to start, so we found our seats in section 209 (a pretty good view I must say!). After the first period was over, we took to the corridor to find some more fun things to check out. Along the sides, there are table hockey arcade games set up. They resemble foosball, but with hockey players instead. It was only a dollar to play, and needless to say I kicked my friends butt! We lost track of time because I was having so much fun winning and went into the third period a minute or two late (luckily we didn’t miss anything too eventful).

After the second period, we had done and seen almost everything except the claw machines where you can win stuffed animals and other prizes. I was intrigued by some of them because it only cost a dollar to play, and they had some pretty good promotional advertising items with Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers logos. When I put in my money to play, I realized that any of the team paraphernalia was going to be near impossible to win. In fact, the only thing I even came remotely close to grabbing was a Dora the Explorer doll, which I wouldn’t know what to do with anyway! Those machines get you because they make you think you’ll be able to win expensive promotional advertising items for just a buck, but that’s never the case!

The evening ended up being an absolute blast, and the Flyers won 5-3. The game was pretty close, and the first period housed a lot of good fights. The only downfall was leaving, because not only did we barely remember where we parked, but we also weren’t sure where to go when leaving the parking lot! After finding the car, we still got lost looking for 76 because the alternate route signs are extremely confusing. Even though we didn’t end up buying any of the promotional advertising items, we both spent a pretty decent amount between $8 beers, $10 fries, and $15 parking. The biggest thing to keep in mind if you plan on attending a lot of games is not to be sucked in to spending too much money. Season ticket holders probably lose a fortune because it’s hard not to buy anything once you’re there!


Promotional Material

2011 September 22

If you’re just starting a new company, it’s more than likely that little to no one has actually heard of it. This means you’re going to have to do whatever you can, as quick as you can, to gain some sort of acknowledgment. Every good business has an established brand identity, and that’s impossible without at least getting your name/logo/slogan even heard of. There are several forms of promotional material you can use to become known in your industry, but your budget might not allow for you to exhaust all of those options. Try to focus your efforts a little bit in each area, because if you exhaust one form of promotion with zero return on investment, you’re basically screwed.

The easiest and cheapest way to promote your company is through word of mouth. Actually, it’s free. Remember how annoying it was in middle school when no one could keep a secret? Things fly through the rumor mill faster than you can say potato chips. Now, let that work to your advantage. Tell as many people as you can what you’re up to, including the company you just started and what you’re trying to do/sell. Start conversations with people in supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants, parking lots, etc. You never know, that person standing in front of you at the bank could end up being your first, and most lucrative client. Perhaps you’re company specializes in EMR software; when you’re picking your son up from the doctor’s, mention this to the secretary. Sure, they might shoot you down, but what if they just happened to be looking around for the type of EMR you’re selling? Can’t hurt to try.

The most used promotional material is typically any type of media outlet. You’re going to have to pay a substantial amount, but getting your name on TV or the radio is a guaranteed way to make a name for yourself. The only problem with media buying is that you get what you pay for, so it might be worth it to throw down a hefty chunk of change for a good commercial slot or a strategically placed billboard. Before projecting yourself into the media without warning, think long and hard about how you want your brand to be represented. If you’re new on the scene, keep it very simple. Once you’ve become more established you’ll be able to play around with different promotional materials and message delivery. Right now, you just want the public to know you exist among the competition and are worth looking into.

Give out free stuff. It’s actually pretty simple to win over an audience when you’re bribing them. Companies like Monster and Redbull have become famous mostly by going to college campuses, concerts, and sporting events and distributing their products. Even if no one was buying them before, they’ve at least gotten a taste of the product. Some of you might also recall Redbull’s “It gives you wings” ads on television. They’ve made themselves so popular that a Redbull and vodka is a normal drink to order at your local bar. Keep in mind, they had to start from scratch too. If you’re starting a brand new company that wants to give out promotional material, do some research before you buy in bulk and throw it out the window. Strategically research which audiences would be most beneficial, and what type of product would be best to distribute. It’s usually helpful to pick something intriguing that will leave people asking questions.

That brings me to my last point: whatever outlet you choose to get your promotional material noticed, remember to shock, surprise, confuse, intrigue, or baffle. The more of a reaction you can get out of people, the more interest they’re going to take in your product. Get them talking. However, don’t get them talking in a negative way. When Droid released their new line of phones, they blatantly attacked Apple’s iPhone with their “iDon’t, Droid does” campaign. This was a risky move because the iPhone was already a very well-liked and established product. However, it seemed to have worked, because the sales for Droid phones went through the roof. If you’re going to release controversial promotional material, get a second, third, and fourth opinion. You don’t want to ruin your business before it’s even taken off!

To know the best way to present your new company’s promotional material, whichever outlet(s) you choose, study your competitors. Just like the phrase, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” you’re going to learn a lot more from the people you’re up against because they are who you’re trying to conquer.

Promotional Merchandise

2011 September 22

We all know how important face to face contact is when it comes to building a rapport with clients. Some of us refer to this as schmoozing, but it’s really just a good networking skill. It’s a fact that we relate a familiar face to something we know and trust, rather than relying on a service or product from some unknown company in a city we’ve never heard of. While it might be inappropriate to schedule a golf outing or a happy hour with a client you’ve only done business with once, but that shouldn’t stop you from keeping in some sort of contact. You can do this by actually making personal contact, like a phone call or an e-mail, or even just sending them some promotional merchandise. You don’t have to send extravagant gifts just to get your point across. Here are a few examples:

  1. Greeting cards. A good friend of mine works at a Honda car dealership, and has been looking for ways to gain a sense of familiarity with his customers. Whenever he sells a car, he wants to be known from that point on as “The Honda Guy.” Now, any time that person, their friends, or family members need a new car, he wants to be the first person they think of. To establish this persona, he has compiled a list of anyone he has sold a car to, and sends them a greeting card around the holidays. He’s also thought about sending birthday cards, but since he is new to the business, he wants to see how well this works out. The greeting cards that he sends contain a couple of his business cards, so that he is still getting promotional merchandise out there without being pushy.
  2. Calendars. The company I work for prints calendars for their safety and compliance division. Lots of companies distribute calendars, and to be honest, most of us either already have one, or don’t use one. One day I remember that my Grandmother was complaining that she didn’t have a 2011 calendar for the kitchen, so I brought home one of ours. Coincidentally enough, my uncle saw this calendar in our kitchen and asked where it was from, because he thought the safety tips were helpful and interesting. In fact, he wanted me to grab a few more calendars from work for him to hang around his place of employment. I wasn’t even trying to promote my company, and somehow the promotional merchandise found a way to get itself noticed!
  3. Beach Bags. When you think about visiting anywhere near the Jersey Shore on a beautiful sunny day in the middle of July, you can bet there are going to be a ton of people there. What better place to advertise, right? My sister’s company gave out beach bags at their annual company picnic, and my sister thought nothing of it. The bag sat in a corner in her bedroom until I grabbed it one day, in a rush to head to the beach. The bag had so many convenient compartments and was easy to carry; I was actually amazed that it was simply given out as promotional merchandise. To my surprise, a fellow beach-goer actually asked me where I got my bag! Just another successful giveaway from a company sneaking their logo onto something useful.
  4. Magnets. When I first started spending time with my boyfriend, we would meet at his house before going out anywhere. While waiting for him to grab his wallet and throw on his shoes, I always found myself scanning their refrigerator and reading all of the magnets. Looking back, I realized that some of the magnets were just pieces of promotional merchandise that his family received in the mail or picked up on the desks of doctor’s offices. Just from that company sending a magnet to one household, each and every person that walks through their kitchen will see it. Never underestimate the promotional power of such a small and affordable product.

A lot of the time, promotional merchandise doesn’t have to be blatantly waived in someone’s face to get your message across. Subtly keeping in contact with past and prospective clients by just giving them little trinkets or small gestures can go a long way. When you’ve imprinted yourself in someone’s brain as trustworthy, friendly, and helpful, their more than likely going to come back a second time, and hopefully recommend you to others. And if not? Maybe your promotional merchandise will catch the eye of a passing stranger!

Business Gifts

2011 September 12

Business gifts can bring a lot of benefits to a company by helping to keep the bond between businesses and their clients strong while keeping the company’s name in the forefront of people’s minds. That being said, a lot of companies spend a lot of time and money on trying to figure out the perfect gift to give to their clients, and it can be a painstaking task to try to find the perfect item that will represent a company well. While gifts are usually given with good intentions, there are a lot of factors to consider to make sure that the message is received as intended.

There are a lot of things to consider when making a decision to place a big purchase for business gifts, especially if a company has international customers and clients. The first rule of thumb when deciding on a corporate gift is to take into consideration the colors or symbols used on the product. What may be acceptable and eye-catching in one part of the world may be offensive in another part. Take, for instance, the color red. Here in the United States, red is an eye catching color and is often used in retail businesses to mark sales and clearance items, markdowns and special offers. Creating a business gift with red lettering or designs is acceptable here, and may even help to get your product noticed. In Japan, however, red lettering is only used for funeral notices. If a company is sending business gifts to its customers in Japan, and they do not think about cultural differences or possibly offensive gestures, this business gift will give off the wrong message and put a company in a bad light.

Companies must also take into consideration the underlying messages that can be sent unintentionally along with their gift. Say, for instance, a salesman decides to send a potted plant or some flowers to a client who he just closed a sale with, who happens to be a woman. Flowers or plants are usually only given to significant others, and often have a separate connotation aligned with a more personal connection. Be sure that gifts such as these are sent along with the understanding that there is nothing more than business between the sender and recipient. Flower and plant color should also be taken into consideration for the same reasons mentioned above, as should the amount of flowers given. In some Asian countries, anything given in multiples of four is considered to be bad luck, much like the number thirteen is in the United States. It would be worth it to do some research before shipping off a well-intentioned business gift!

Giving wine or alcohol as a congratulatory or celebratory gift is commonplace in the United States, and many do not think twice before popping some “bubbly” to commemorate an event. But, if companies are thinking about sending a vintage bottle of wine or an expensive bottle of champagne across the world, they should take some time to consider if it would be well-received in the recipient’s country. For example, in some Islamic countries, some versions of the Koran are interpreted as prohibiting its consumption. A company should also dive into a bit of a deeper note when sending food or drink and be sure that the recipients have no allergies or other restrictions regarding the item.

Business gifts are also given on a more personal note than many other run-of-the-mill promotional items. If a company often gives out branded t-shirts and mugs with their logo displayed on it to the public and chooses to give those same items as “business gifts”, the recipient may be a bit disappointed that the company did not care to think much about their gift, seeing as it had no “personal” touch. Being mindful of how a company will be perceived from its business gifts is helpful because it allows a company to see through the eyes of its recipient. Think about it: would you want to receive a “special gift” that was produced in bulk quantities and that everyone else got for free? Not so special, is it?

No matter what kind of gift a company wants to send, whether it be to an international or domestic customer, it is worth it to take some time and consider all of the details about the gift in order to make sure that what is intended to be a nice gesture is received well. There is nothing worse than offending a client, and with a little bit of work, all companies can make sure that their business gifts are going to put their company in the best light.

Personalized Products

2011 September 2

Let’s face it, companies are constantly giving out personalized products in an attempt at brand advertising. You can only purchase so many billboards, magazine ads, and radio/TV commercials before you start running out of ideas. This is why businesses are taking a different route. Hopefully, they will be able to give consumers products that they are going to use time and time again, and each time they will see the company logo. In fact, it’s an extremely effective tactic when trying to improve brand identity. Studies have shown that the more you see a brand name or image, the more you will become desensitized to the idea. Once you’ve become familiar with a brand, your brain confuses this familiarity with trust. Now, just because you’ve seen and heard of one brand 15 more times than another, you’re more likely to trust the one you’re accustomed to. This is just human nature, and we can’t really help the way our brains work. However, business experts have become pros at utilizing this tactic. They’ve come to the conclusion that if they repetitively expose us to their brand, we’re bound to cave. Fortunately for Corporate America, this works.

If you’re a company trying to increase brand identity, but you’re simply running out of ways to do so, here’s some places for you to try to expose more of the general public:

  1. Concerts- The energy drink Monster is famous for hiring attractive young women to give out samples of their product at events such as concerts and music festivals. All the company does is literally hand out free cans of Monster. While most of us would assume we would just drink our free product and move on, subconsciously they have you right where they want you. Typically, people who really enjoy attending concerts will try to go to them on a regular basis. If you’ve seen Monster handing out their energy drinks and personalized products at five of the last nine concerts you’ve been to, they’re starting to build that familiarity. Now, when you go to 7-11 for an energy drink, you think, “Well I’ve never heard of half of these, so I’ll just get the one I’ve tried before.” Monster’s done their job well.
  2. Trade Shows- Trade shows are great when you’re trying to target a specific crowd. This type of niche marketing will ensure that you’re not wasting your efforts giving personalized products out to people who had never even considered buying your product in the first place. Using the Monster example above, it would be much more beneficial if the company could figure out exactly who enjoys drinking energy drinks, who does not, and who physically cannot due to health reasons. If there were a way to know this, they wouldn’t have to waste time and money providing free products to those who will never become a potential customer/client. Individuals attend trade shows because they are specifically interested in that product or service. In b2b marketing, we could consider this the first step in lead generation. Weeding out prospective customers from those just passing by will hopefully ensure a larger return on investment.
  3. Sporting Events- Sporting events are very similar to concerts in the respect that you can target mass quantities of people in short periods of time. When giving out personalized products at a sporting event, it’s a good idea to print the home team’s name or logo on your product as well. Handing out hand towels that say “Go Eagles!” at the Lincoln Financial Field is going to be a huge hit. Now all you have to do is print your company’s logo/information on the towel as well. Most of the passers-by won’t even think about the fact that you’re advertising your company; they are just excited to get a free Eagles towel! This is also a good way to narrow down audiences. If the product you are selling could be used for a specific sport, such as golf tees, then handing out your personalized products at golf events/tournaments is going to ensure a better outcome than if you were handing out golf tees at a NASCAR event. Always do research on your target audience before you invest a large amount of time and money on advertising.

Brand advertising can be done in a variety of ways and at a variety of different places, as long as you have spent the proper time figuring out what will be the most beneficial for your company. Personalized products have been proven to bring in revenue, but only when distributed to the correct audiences.

Custom Pens

2011 September 2

On my last shopping trip I was helping my friend, a middle school teacher, pick out some “welcome back” presents for her new students. Each year, she picks out a unique gift for each person in the class as a way of helping to prepare them for the school year and get them stocked up on supplies. While in the past she had ordered fancy book covers, clever puzzle games and paper folders, this year she wanted to do something that was a little more personal and that the students could get a lot of use out of. The book covers and folders of the past had only lasted a few months into the year, as over many days and days of tossing them into lockers and book bags and carting them through the halls, they ended up ripped and torn and were no longer useful. So, after a few days of searching for the perfect item, my friend decided that this year she would get custom pens made for her students. This was the first year they were allowed to use ink pens in the classroom so they would definitely appreciate this new writing tool. She could customize them with the school’s logo and colors, they would last quite a long time, and best of all, they are pretty inexpensive when bought in larger quantities.

We thought the hard part would be finding the product we wanted to give the kids, but it turns out the hard part was actually choosing between brands, vendors, and companies that provide custom pens. After searching online and looking through a few catalogs provided by the school, my friend felt a little overwhelmed and more confused than ever. How would she ever decide which company to order from or which brand of custom pens to choose? She decided that the best way to learn about the products would be to call a few of the companies offering the best prices and quality items to see if they could tell her more about each product and check to see if they had any specials running.

Her order was pretty simple: red pens with a black cap and the school district’s logo printed in white. While she only has about thirty kids in her class this year, she noticed that many of the companies had a high minimum order of about 100 or more when it came to small products like custom pens. What she would do with 100 pens or more, she didn’t know, so she was determined to find a lower minimum order. As it turns out, putting a call in to the companies we researched online and to the companies whose catalogs we had paged through really paid off. Most of the companies were holding promotional “back to school” sales that were unadvertised on their product pages and offered steep discounts for all items in their “education” categories. Plus, speaking with a sales representative or account manager really made a difference because my friend was able to get a virtual sample emailed to her that showed how her custom pen would look, and she was also able lower the minimum order for her custom pens by about half, significantly cutting down her prices and making her order a better fit.

After comparing a bunch of quotes and pricing schedules for custom pens, my friend finally found the perfect item for her “welcome back” gifts for her students. The custom pens she ordered came in about one week, and even though she had to order a few extra, she was pleased with the service she received and also with the custom pen that she gave to her students! After the first day, the students were quite pleased with their gift bags and were happy to start using the pens my friend had provided them with in class. But the students weren’t the only ones who noticed; many of the other teachers in the school saw the pens my friend had ordered and asked her about where she had ordered them from. It turns out that they would like to do the same for their own students, and thought it was a great “welcome back” item that reflected the school’s colors and logo quite well. So, all of the hard work and time it took to look for the perfect item really paid off in the end because she got to order exactly what she wanted, her students were pleased with their gift, and the other teachers wanted to order some for the other students as well!

Business Promotional

2011 September 1

From Websites to Business Promotional Items: Ways to market your company now!

You have started your own business or you have taken over someone else’s business. Congratulations. Now what? Are you getting customers? Does anyone even know that your business exists? If it is a new business you have to really get the word out. If the business was preexisting you have to inform customers of any changes that you may be making that could affect them and you still want to bring in new customers. You know that you need to let everyone know who you are and what you are about but you are not sure where to start. Here is a look at the pros and cons of the different types of business promotional outlets available.

Print Marketing

Print marketing has been a business promotional staple for many years. The advantages of print for business promotional purposes are that someone can see your ad and look at it for as long as they want to. They can even look at it again. They physically own that advertisement. They can also share it with their friends by passing along a newspaper or a magazine. The problem with print is that newspapers and magazines are losing in competition to their digital versions.  A print ad is cheaper than a television ad which makes it a great option for new or smaller businesses lacking a large budget. Just beware of young target audiences who read most of their information online or on a smart phone or other electronic device.

Broadcast Marketing

Television and radio ads are a great business promotional strategy for getting your message out to a large audience. Radio ads are cheaper than television ads but television ads are more likely to be viewed. The repetition of the broadcast ads really helps for your brand to stick in a consumer’s head. Broadcast’s enemies are TiVo, satellite radio, Hulu, Netflix, DVR, and Ipods. With all of these services and products becoming increasingly popular, traditional broadcast commercials may have less reach than you may wish.


Having a website for your business is mandatory these days. People want information instantly. They are not going to stalk the television, waiting for your commercial to display your address or phone number. They are going to get onto their computer and they are going to click on the contact tab on a website in order to find out where you are and how to get a hold of you. They are also going to check a website to see what exactly your company offers and if it will be available if and when they decide to want it. Not having a website can cause potential consumers to choose one of your competitors just because their information is easily accessible.

Social Media

So you have a website but how do you get anyone to know it is there? You can put the web address into your other ads but you can also make online friends that you can lead right to your site. Social media is a hot business promotional area right now. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are not only where everyone is going online but those sites are also where a lot of people are getting the majority of their information. Besides, peer pressure can be powerful. Get enough people to “like” or “follow” you and that could influence several of their friends to check you out as well.

Trade Shows

The best part about trade shows is that everyone who comes to them is looking for something related to your business. You already have your target audience right there and paying attention. What can be better than that? The bad part is that you may have your biggest competitors right there with you. Try giving out business promotional products so that your potential consumers will be able to remember you after they leave. They will see a lot of brands that day and you need some way to make a lasting impression on them.

Guerilla Marketing

Various business promotional strategies can be implemented through an in your face guerilla marketing campaign. Companies have painted the side of a mountain, put a couch on a sidewalk, and left footprints to be your guide. There is no idea too outrageous for a guerilla approach to business promotional marketing. Guerilla marketing can be wildly expensive or pleasingly cheap. It is all up to you, your ideas, and the resources that you have at hand.


Promotional Mugs

2011 September 1

What to do if you GASP every time you open the kitchen cabinet!

Open up your kitchen cabinet where you keep your cups and peer inside. What exactly do you see? If you’re like most families, there is probably a collection of cups, mugs, and glasses that you’ve acquired throughout the years. The trouble is you’re running out of space for all these cups! The average family doesn’t need an array of forty promotional mugs that’s you’ve received from events and companies throughout the years, but you don’t want to just throw them away. There’s an easy solution to this “problem.” I know you probably don’t want to toss that Geico mug that your aunt gave you from her company picnic, or the Dunkin Donuts thermos that your Dad bought you when you started your first job. Instead of getting rid of all those promotional mugs, find a use for them!

Be creative with what you use these mugs/cups for. They don’t always have to be used for drinking out of! Growing up, I can recall my parents and grandparents using mugs and cups to hold all sorts of things. When my father would bring home a car dealership promotional mug, it would sit on the table for a few days until my mother would literally find things to put in it. Pens, rubber bands, paper clips, and pretty much anything else lying around the house went into the mug. Hopefully not everyone’s homes are this cluttered, but it doesn’t mean a nice looking mug won’t come in handy when you’re looking for a spot for your odds and ends.

You could also bring some of your promotional mugs to work. If you can deal with the idea of parting with your precious gifts, hand them out to your co-workers in the office. Also, make it fun by having a mug free-for-all. Put them on your desk and let your co-workers choose with ones they would like to keep on their desks or take home with them. Use them to hold things on your desk, or just to add a little something to your drab cubicle.

Another creative way to ditch the mugs without throwing them out is to donate them to your favorite restaurant. This might sound a bit bazaar, but some mom & pop type restaurants collect their best patron’s mugs to hang up around the dining room. The idea is to give it a homey feel for the regulars. I once attended a diner in Brigantine, New Jersey called Mad Dog Morgan’s, which is where I first saw this idea in put into action. Brigantine residents would bring in old coffee mugs that they would choose to represent them. The mugs are hung up behind the register, and those who visit the island get to see what the townsfolk have donated to the restaurant. It’s a cool way to make the customers feel important and like they’re really a part of the community.

Any really nice mugs, glasses, kitchen appliances, etc. can either be sold to thrift stores or donated. This could be a good way to clean out all the extra odds and ends around your house, garage, attic, basement, or wherever. If you can’t take your things to a flea market or thrift shop, try having a garage/yard sale. Lots of communities organize collective neighborhood-wide yard sales where anyone trying to have one will plan it on the same day. It’s a good way to bring people into the area by word of mouth, because everyone’s going to be advertising like crazy. Post flyers in neighboring towns and try to get as many people around you involved.

A last option could be “re-gifting.” I’m sure you’re thinking, “No way, I can’t stoop that low!” However, re-giving doesn’t necessarily mean just giving away a gift that you don’t want. It could be done in a humorous or sentimental way. For example, if your son gave you a mug saying “World’s Best Dad” when he was ten, and now he is expecting a child, you could give the mug back to him. It’s a touching way to keep things within the family, and also shows how much you cherished that very gift. A funny way to go about “re-gifting” involves a promotional mug from someone’s previous employer. Say your sister gave you a mug from the company she was working at, and then got another job. You could give the mug back to her with a note saying “Upgrade?” –implying that you want one from her new job instead!

What you should take away from all of this is that you don’t have to be frightened and overwhelmed to open that cluttered kitchen cabinet. Don’t feel as though weeding through all those old wine glasses and promotional mugs is daunting task. It’s a battle we’ve all come to know, and can be easily dealt with.


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