Stuck in Traffic

Every morning I watch the Twin Cities news for weather, sports and to keep up on the latest social atrocities occurring in Minnesota’s Twin Hellholes. Once I am given the weather forecast, I next get the morning traffic report. I watch in a mixture of amusement and horror as the dimpled traffic reporter details the latest backups, along with video of people sitting in their daily interstate parking lot. My consistent thought is: What is wrong with you people? Country Road

 

There is life without traffic jams. There are jobs to be had and houses to be bought and lives to be lived out here in God’s country. Don’t spend your life stuck in traffic.

 

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I’ve had enough of Amazon

I’ve experienced a personal tragedy. My Amazon Prime membership ended today. I’ll get over it of course, but according to Amazon, I have become an apostate. I’ve opted out of the matrix, I’ve refused to be assumed into the BORG. I’ve made my first moves towards disengaging from the Brave New World into which Amazon, Google, Facebook and all the other on-line entities are attempting to move me.

I no longer wish to enrich Jeff Bezos and support his campaign to control every aspect of my life. I no longer wish to enable Amazon. I’ve decided to resist.

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Ad Good As It Gets

A study reported in the January 2010 issue of Promotional Products Business (PPB) tells us that consumer like and want “stuff with your logo on it” and that they remember the nice folks who give them what they want.

This study of American consumers, done in 2009 by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) revealed that 82 percent of consumers exposed to promotional products advertising within a one-year period recalled the company or brand advertised, AND 75 percent could remember the advertising message.

“Promotional products had a far greater recall rate for these advertising consumers when compared to ads they saw or read on television, print media and online advertising in the immediate past two-week period. What’s more, 83 percent of consumers reported that they liked to receive promotional products. (PPB)

While these are impressive recall numbers, what is really exciting is the reaction consumers had to the advertising.  In other words, what actions did they take after receiving the promotional products?

Twenty percent of consumers reported making a purchase within one year after receiving the promotional product, while only 13.4 percent had made a purchase after seeing a print ad in the immediate past two weeks, 7.1 percent had made a purchase after seeing a TV ad in the immediate past two weeks and 4.6 percent made a purchase after seeing an online ad in the immediate past two weeks. (PPB)

What promotional products really excel at though, is in influencing the overall impression of the advertiser, This study reports that  52.6 percent of consumers had a favorable impression of the advertiser after being exposed to promotional product advertising whereas that same favorable impression was received by only 27.7 percent consumers exposed to TV advertising, 33.2 percent of consumers exposed to advertising via print media and 11.9 percent of advertisers exposed to online advertising.

What is the point? When you advertise with promotional products at least 4 things happen, all of them good;

1) The recipient remembers you

2) The recipient wants and appreciates the advertising

3) They will feel positive about you and your company

4) 20% of them will buy from you in the next year

When it comes to advertising, it doesn’t get much better than that!

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Filed under Promo Ideas, Trends, Uncategorized

Processing the EXPO

The PPAI EXPO has come and gone. It is a hectic week, filled with plenty of new information to process. It always takes me about 2 months to fully grasp what I have see and learned during the week. However, here are two quick observations I want to share with you.

1) The environmental “green” movement is alive and well, but losing its momentum. This particular aspect, the “friend of the environment” aspect of marketing a business will continue to be important and should be considered in any PR campaign. However, due to the lack of coherent standards in the marketplace and the growing skepticism of the public towards “green” claims, I believe that the period of explosive growth in the “eco-friendly” campaigns is over for the forseeable future. Besides, it is expensive to be “green”.

2) Integrating Web 2.0 ( “social media”) into marketing for small business via tangible promotional advertising continues its steady growth. Many of the “new” ideas are simply reworking tried & true promotions from the past and adapting them to find ways to encourage consumers to interact with a company’s persona on the web. Moving forward, I believe this aspect of promotional marketing will provide small businesses an opportunity to develop and grow in their on-line presence, which is where the future of marketing is, right now.

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Filed under Professionalism, Promo Ideas, Social media, Trends

Setting Goals, Not Resolutions

“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind” – Seneca (Roman Stoic philosopher 4BC – 64AD)

The end of one year and the beginning of a new one is typically time for resolutions. This year, instead of resolutions, how about setting some goals instead?

What is the difference between resolutions and goals? Resolutions tend to be fairly non-specific generalities such as: “losing weight”, “getting organized” or “getting in shape”. However, goals tend to be specific and focused. Goals are: “I am going to lose 15 pounds by March 31st” or “I am going to run a 10K road race in May of 2010”. Resolutions are abstract, goals are concrete; resolutions are promises, goals are contracts.

Even though your life may be strewn with the wreckage of previous resolutions now abandoned, I want to encourage you to try it again this year, but this time take some time and set concrete goals for 2010. To assist you in developing a spirit of resolve as we face the future of a new year, here are 5 reasons you need to set goals for 2010 and 5 tips for setting effective goals.

Reasons to set goals.

  1. Goals establish direction for your life. If you never set a goal, how will you know where you are going?
  2. Goals identify results. If no goal exists, how do you measure your progress?
  3. Goals challenge you to grow. If you never set a goal, how do you move out of your comfort zone?
  4. Goal setting gives you confidence. Your frustration is immediately lowered when vagueness and doubt are replaced by focus and concentration.
  5. Goal setting is the foundation of success. A builder cannot construct a home without first outlining a blueprint. A pilot cannot fly a plane without first submitting a flight plan. A minister cannot deliver his sermon without first framing his message. You cannot design an extraordinary life without a solid foundation – goals.

Tips for setting goals.

  1. Goals must be specific. State clearly what success means. You will not “Eat better”, you will “limit your intake of saturated fats” or “consume 2000 calories per day”.
  2. Goals must be measurable. Have a clear target. You will not “lose weight”, you are going to “lose 25 pounds by June 1, 2010”.
  3. Goals must be reasonable. Make sure your goal is attainable. Don’t set a goal to sell $250,000 in 2010 if you’ve never sold more than $100,000 in one year. Have a reasonable basis to expect success.
  4. Goals must have a plan to attain them. If you set a goal to get 100 new customers in 2010, make sure you have in place a method that can generate 1.923 new customers per week or 8.333 new customers per month.
  5. Goals must be written down. A goal is nothing more than a wish until it is written down. Write your goals down on a 3”X 5” note card and keep it in your calendar or pocket. Written goals must then be taken out and reviewed daily, if not more often.

Clearly defined goals and strategies are the single most important structure in the long-term effectiveness, profitability and sustainability of your business or career. Focusing on one’s goals helps make life more enjoyable and gives one a greater sense of control in their life.

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Its almost 2010. Let’s get engaged!

Promotional products can be one of the pillars of your social media strategy in 2010.

Engagement is a fairly new marketing term which you will hear more about in 2010. Engagement is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a companies’ brand or products.

Social Media is one of the pillars of engagement. By developing an on-line presence and reputation, you can create a positive feedback loop between you and your customer. Engagement, in its simplest form, is a conversation between you and your customer. But the question remains, how do you start the conversation and then keep it going?

Marketers have come to accept that there are four engagement methods including Platform (TV; online), Context (program; webpage), Message (ad or communication), and Experience (store/event). It is a good thing for all marketers that promotional products manage to fulfill all four of these methods.

  1. Platform – The physical presence of a product in their pocket, purse, auto or on their desk, etc.
  2. Context – The actual giving or presenting of the product to the targeted consumer.
  3. Message – The brand, logo or message that is imprinted on the product.
  4. Experience – (This is where it gets REALLY good) The on-going use and enjoyment of the product (and your message)

If your marketing plans for 2010 include a social media strategy (and they should), be sure part of the strategy includes promotional products. They can become an effective part of your overall strategy.

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Filed under Promo Ideas, Social media

Global Warming = Enron?

The “Global Warming” brand has been severely compromised.

If you have been paying attention to the “new” media in the past week, you are probably aware that “Climate Change” is quickly becoming the public relations equivalent of Enron. By that, I mean a well-known, apparently highly successful “brand” that has been shown to have some serious, fundamental flaws.

The scientists in the global-warming-is- caused-by-mankind camp built their case by trying to ridicule anyone who doubted their science and by attempting to destroy the reputations of anyone who stood up to them. Well, now we come to find out their their “science” seems to be based on fudged numbers, manipulated computer models and data that seems to have been “dumped”.

I will leave it up to the two sides of the debate to finally settle the issue. However, without a doubt, the scientists involved in this scandal (dubbed Climategate) have a real public relations disaster on their hands.

There is a marketing/public relations lesson to learn in all of this hubbub. This controversy show us the ultimate importance of being authentic in today’s economy. Web 2.0 has given every consumer the power to force transparency on anyone or any business. If an individual desires, they can find out virtually anything they want to about you – in the case of these scientists, they can even steal your secret conversations and share them with the world.

The lesson to learn then is to present yourself honestly to the world, make sure you can deliver on what you promise and do everything you possibly can to make sure the content on the web that you can control is accurate. This means your profiles (Facebook, Linked In) are up to date and that any comments made about you or your company are accurate.

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