Category Archives: Promo Ideas

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

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

In Their Kitchen

Promotional ProdKitchenucts Association International (PPAI) recently asked 1,005 average American consumers how many promotional products they had in their kitchen. The response? Overwhelming …

More than three-quarters of the group (828 people) had at least one promotional product in their kitchen, while the bulk reported having anywhere between two and 11 or more. But, here’s the part you can really sink your teeth into: The product/advertiser recall was through the roof! A whopping 86% could name not one, but two promotional products in their kitchen, while 50% of those could name the corresponding advertisers.

So, what’s the takeaway? If you are looking for a low-cost way to say “thank you” this holiday season, think “kitchen.”

This time of the year, the kitchen becomes the center of the home for family meals and friendly gatherings. Put your company name or logo on centerstage during the holidays.  Something as simple as a hot pad or as elegant as long stem wine flutes, there are many great ways to express your appreciation to those who are important to your business. The bonus factor in kitchen promotions is that these same customers will interact with your brand for years to come.

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Sharpening the Axe

axeAbraham Lincoln once said: “Give me 6 hours to cut down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe.” He knew that proper preparation improved performance.

Education and preparation are the keys to performance today. If one wants to perform one’s duties better, faster, smarter, one has to learn from the best in their profession.

Last week, I attended a workshop given by Cliff Quicksell, a man recognized as one of the most creative and effective people in my industry. Cliff has received more awards for creativity than anyone else in the industry and he has a long track record of building successful promotional campaigns for his clients.

I spent a day with Cliff, learning about his successful approach, his attitudes towards serving his clients and sharing marketing ideas with him.  The day was a great experience and I came away with new ideas and attitudes about  how to better serve my clients. I was sharpening my axe.

The surprising and disappointing aspect of the day was how few of my colleagues in my industry attended. There were only 25 people in attendance and only 15 of those attendees are actively involved in the business as promotional consultants (sales). My professional organization UMAPP, has a membership of about 1000 individual members, which represents about 25% of the total companies involved promotional products. It is estimated that there are over 1000 people in Minnesota selling promotional products.

My questions (and concerns) are these: why were there only 15 of us trying to sharpen the axe? Why are only 1.5% of the people in my profession out in the field calling on customers interested in finding new, better ways to serve their customers?  Those are questions for them to answer.

Here are couple question for you to answer. Is the person you work with for promotional products one of the 1.5%?  How would you know?

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Filed under Professionalism, Promo Ideas, Responsibility

A Light in the Darkness

She had been driving for what seemed like the entire day. The weariness that comes from being “busy” but not really accomplishing anything had settled on her like someone had thrown a leaden shawl around her shoulders. No matter how she turned her head or arranged herself in the car seat, the ache in her neck and between her shoulder blades would just not go away.

Even though she had made the meetings on time and had said all of the right things, she didn’t feel much satisfaction. All of her training, all of the preparation had not helped her deal with the negative attitudes she had encountered that day. Some days she wondered exactly why she put up with this crap. The traveling, the bad diet, the ever escalating expectations of her boss. Her feelings toward this job had changed from an initial impression of opportunity to a dread-filled vision of one huge dead end sign.

Her thoughts were now fixated on dinner, followed by a date with a deep tub filled with hot water and lots and lots of bubbles.

She let her mind wander, drifting along with the Sinatra tune playing on the radio. Suddenly, she felt a huge thump and immediately her car began to leap and buck, the wheel pulling suddenly into the oncoming traffic lane. It took about 3 seconds for her to regain control of the car and for her to realize what had happened – a flat tire on the front left of her car. What next!

Once control of the car was affirmed in her mind, she eased the car over onto the shoulder of the road. What to do now? Her mind raced back to what she had learned in drivers training, so far back in the past. She could hear her father’s voice in her head – “Make sure you pull far enough off the road, so you don’t get hit by some knucklehead not paying attention”.

After she had pulled over, far over off the road, she made the call on her cell phone. The AAA guy was sympathetic, but it would take him over two hours to get out to her. Perfect! Here she was, on the side of the road, in the dark with sore feet, sore neck and now a sore disposition.

It was then she remembered the road side emergency kit she had gotten as a “Thank You” gift from her insurance agent. She went to the trunk and looked inside of the nicely logoed plastic case. There, she found a flashlight (one of those nice ones that stands up on own), jumper cables, first aid supplies and emergency road markers (to warn oncoming drivers). Also, there in the kit were instructions on how to change a tire safely!

Suddenly feeling empowered, Sally made a quick decision – she wasn’t waiting for any stinking tow truck! She dutifully put the lighted emergency road hazard markers out, read the tire change instructions and went to work.  Using the flashlight to illuminate the work area, she had the blown tire off and the temporary spare on within 10 minutes. Within 15 minutes of the original blown tire, she was back on the road and on her way home.

Thanks to the thoughtfulness of her insurance agent, what could have been a major hassle turned into the best thing that could have happened to her.

“He is a really great guy”, she thought, “how can she ever thank him?”  “I know” her thoughts continued “I’ll give him my insurance business for the rest of my life”:)

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Filed under Facing Adversity, Promo Ideas

A Different Type of Search Result

OktoberfestI received a marvelous real-life lesson in engaging an audience this past week and I received it right here in my own backyard. My city, Pierz, Minnesota has an annual festival every year called Oktoberfest. It is a nice little end-of-the-summer touchstone for residents, relatives and tourists, celebrated on the last weekend of August. (Yes. Oktoberfest comes in August in Minnesota).

In addition to a parade, music and an afternoon of fun activities (including a beer garden) on Sunday, there is a week of events leading up to the weekend, one of which is the Oktoberfest Button Hunt.

This insidious little contest is comprised of having one of the Oktoberfest Poobahs hiding a specially marked Oktobefest button somewhere in the City of Pierz. Clues are given to the whereabouts of said button each day throughout the week. The rules are simple; the specially marked button is hidden on public property, no climbing to reach it, not near the river or on the golf course. In other words, don’t be an idiot, be respectful of private property and stay safe.

I am usually very successful at not being drawn into this little drama. Each year, I pay scant attention to the clues issued daily and I give only a cursory look around my neighborhood. The button is usually found by Wednesday or Thursday of the week and life can get back to normal. However, this year was an exception.

This year, my 11 year old son really got involved in the search. I was drawn into the search by doing my best to interpret the clues and giving suggestions as to where the treasure could be found. (Button worth $500.00 in “Pierz Bucks”.) The week wore on and as no one was able to find the button, I began to get further involved. Thursday morning at 6:00 AM found me on the local website (www.mcrecord.com) publishing the fresh clue for the day. I was drawn in.

The local populace was drawn in also. I stopped on my Thursday morning jog at  the local football field at 6:30 AM, convinced that I had figured out the hiding place. I was somewhat crestfallen to find three cars parked in the same spot, I had been beaten to the prize! There were 6 other hunters with the same interpretation of the clues. However, no luck. Friday morning’s clue brought no insights and by Friday night, no prize had been found. The stake were raised, as Saturday was the final day of the search and that morning’s clue would surely reveal the hiding spot.

Saturday morning at 5:55 AM, I was right there, at my computer screen, waiting for the fateful hint. By 6:00:15, I knew the final clue. It had  practically drawn a map to where the button was hidden – it was less than a block away from my house! I hit the front door at a sprint and was looking in the designated location within a minute. Already, there was a person there before me, frantically searching. Within 15 minutes, there were over 50 people raking through the grass, combing through trash and climbing all over the area.

Let me pause to emphasize that fact. Within 15 minutes, there were 50 people searching through an alley at 6:15 AM on a Saturday morning! This in a city with a population of about 1000 people. 50 people searching in the dark, in 40 degree weather, totally energized. Anti-climatically, the button was found within 15 feet of where I was searching.

The marketing message in this example is profound.

This example demonstrated that the right contest can still cut through clutter, busy schedules and the inertia of modern life. The people reached by this little contest reached across all demographics. The lesson to be taken from this example is that the properly constructed promotion can energize and mobilize any audience. The recipe to create a memorable event for your company is; have some fun, be creative and inject some competition into the mix. Want some ideas on how to do that? Give me a call or click here.

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Filed under Creativity, Promo Ideas