Marketing Ideas

How to plan and implement a sales award incentive trip

How to plan and implement a sales award incentive trip

The President’s Club (or CEO Club, High Achievers Club, etc.) has become a common way for companies to honor and recognize their high performing employees.  Usually this exclusive “club” is targeted towards sales representatives as a way to motivate them throughout the year to hit their sales targets and to see all of their hard work pay off in a big way when the sales numbers are final.

Top performers are announced within the organization and then typically taken on a trip to celebrate their successes. Sounds great, right? Hit your sales goal, board a plane and enjoy a week in paradise – sign us up! But, someone has to plan this trip. Maybe that someone is you, and you’re not sure how to structure the parameters of the contest let alone plan a weeklong vacation at a resort. Don’t stress! Today we’re sharing ideas that should make the planning process easier.

Set the contest parameters

Prior to deciding what resort you’ll use, what gifts you will give away, or any of the “fun” stuff, you’ll need to determine how you want to structure this contest, and what goal the sales representatives will have to achieve to be considered for this coveted award.

First, have a number of attendees in mind. You’ll need to establish your budget early on in order to make the most of this trip, so knowing how many employees you’ll need to provide transportation and lodging for is extremely important. Once you have that number in mind – maybe it’s 5% of the sales force or more like 10% if you have a larger budget or a smaller group of employees – try to avoid having this contest pan out with winners from only one region.

Your reps will be more motivated if they know the playing field is even from the jump. For example, award the two top performing sales representatives from each regional territory and then the top two overall nationally performing reps. This way, you’ll get a great group of employees from diverse locations across your company’s territories.

Location, location, location

Now that your parameters are set, and your number of attendees is roughly mapped out you’ll need to pick the location for the trip. Some of the most popular destinations for President’s Club trips are tropical resorts or getaways outside of the United States. Interested in a pro tip? Don’t cut corners when you choose the resort. You want this trip to be highly desirable, and also serve as motivation for years to come.  If the President’s Club winners return from the trip and spread the news that the trip was hardly worth the effort they put in all year long, you’re in trouble. All-inclusive resorts are a budgets best friend, you won’t stress out about additional costs like food and beverage, which can fluctuate greatly and are hard to predict.  Don’t forget to account for transportation when you’re planning this getaway – your winners will need to get there somehow!

Announce the winners and send some swag

Once the sales contest has concluded, typically at the end of the year, you’ll need to determine your winners and announce them to the organization. Once your finance or accounting team has had a chance to review the numbers, now comes the fun part – letting the recipients know they’ve won! You can announce the winners of the competition in so many ways, but here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Schedule a conference call or webinar with the entire sales organization and executives
  • Include the announcement in your weekly Sales Newsletter if you have one

Personalized phone calls to the winning reps prior to the announcement to the rest of the organization would be a great way to personally acknowledge their hard work and prepare them. After the organization and recipients are aware that they are being rewarded, send out some customized swag.  We like to call these packages “hype gifts”.  The goal is to acknowledge the winner’s hard work, but also get them excited about the upcoming trip.

If you’re going somewhere tropical, which you most likely are, play up the location theme. Items like branded sunglasses and beach towels are great gifts to get your winners in vacation mode. You can customize these items with your brand logo or even come up with a logo and tagline specifically for the President’s Club trip – we love this option.  It provides a great keepsake and reminder of the hard work that the rep put in to earn the trip and the swag.

Some other great hype gifts are items that make traveling more enjoyable – think Bluetooth earbuds for the plane ride, or a portable phone charger to make sure that all of the devices are charged up and ready to take photos of the trip.  Another great option is to create a short video with footage from the resort so you can really drive home how amazing this trip will be that they are about to embark on.

It’s time for the trip

So it’s finally time for the President’s Club trip to actually take place.  All of your planning and all of the sales team hard work is finally over, and it’s time to enjoy the resort that you meticulously planned out.  You want to make sure that your team feels comfortable and welcomed to the resort when they arrive, and the best way to make sure this happens is with some welcome gifts, or as we like to call it “room drops”.  In a nutshell, room drop gifts are personalized products sent to the resort ahead of time and placed into the employee’s rooms for them to receive once they arrive. It’s always exciting to walk into your room and see that someone at your company has thought of you enough to send a gift to surprise you! The perfect way to choose a room drop gift is to think of what your employees will want to use while they’re enjoying their week in paradise.  Customized apparel – think tank tops, tee shirts or hats – is always a great choice; your employees can sport their branded apparel proudly throughout the week.  Vacuum insulated tumblers are thoughtful room drop gifts; they’ll keep your employees beverages nice and cold.  Backpacks and Bluetooth speakers are also guaranteed crowd pleasers – winners can stow their belongings and bring their favorite tunes to the pool.

Another way to welcome employees is to have a member of Sales Management or maybe even someone from the Executive team, depending on who is attending this trip, meet employees in the lobby of the resort with a smile and a glass of champagne.  Toast the hard work of the individuals who ushered your company towards success over the past year.

Don’t forget that this trip also serves as a fantastic way for members of the organization to get to know each other and network in a no pressure, off site environment.  Don’t be afraid to plan some activities for downtime at the resort, but remember that mostly your employees will want to relax and kick off their shoes after a productive year of sales.

Gather feedback

After everyone has returned from the trip and had some time to get back into the swing of things, send out a survey to gather feedback.  An electronic survey allows employees to anonymously give their honest feedback about the President’s Club Trip.  Ask what they liked or didn’t like, what they wish would have been a part of the trip, or what the company might try to improve upon for next year.  This is a great way to improve upon the quality of the award year after year.

Posted by Lee, 0 comments
Georgia’s hands-free law in effect July 1st 2018

Georgia’s hands-free law in effect July 1st 2018

In our home state of Georgia, the way we use our mobile phones in our cars is about to change. On July 1st, 2018, Georgia residents will join those of 15 other states and Washington, DC, and will no longer be allowed to use hand-held cell phones while driving.

Though texting while driving has been illegal in Georgia for some time, House Bill 673 also prohibits holding or supporting your phone with any part of your body. What does this mean for drivers? Does it mean you can’t talk on your phone? Does it mean you can’t use an app like Google Maps or Waze? What about streaming Podcasts or Audiobooks? Can you still post your stuck traffic selfie on instagram? How can companies benefit from this law (besides having their employees arrive alive)?

Can I talk on the phone while I’m driving?

Though recent studies have advised against it, you can still use your phone for calls. But you must use the phone’s speaker, your car's bluetooth connection, or a hands-free device like a bluetooth headset while your car is in motion.

Sprinter Bluetooth Headset

Bandz Wireless Headset

You can also use the bluetooth headset to use the voice-to-text feature. But beware - no touching your phone to fix typos!

What about GPS? How do I know where I’m going?

While we can't definitively answer the second question, let's try the first. You may remember the days of going to MapQuest and printing out directions to your destination. Or even...and this may date you...using a paper map! (Fun trick for the parents reading this: give your kids an AAA map and have them try to fold it...hours of enjoyment!) But once smartphones became commonplace, those paper printouts were replaced by apps like Waze or Google Maps.

While these apps do speak directions out loud, we’ve all been there...driving along in the left lane when all of a sudden your phone tells you to make a right, RIGHT NOW. So for most people, having a sense of what the next turn will be is important.

According to the law, you can have your phone in the passenger seat or cup holder and look at it. However, that would take your eyes off the road momentarily, defeating the purpose of the law. What many opt to do instead is use a cell phone car mount.

There are several varieties to choose from - the most popular being ones that mount to your dashboard or windshield or ones that attach to your car’s air vent.

Windshield SmartPhone Holder

Auto Phone Mount

I’m in traffic for over an hour each way - can binge-listen to Serial?

This is perhaps one of the most confusing parts of HB 673. According to Heads UP Georgia, streaming apps like Spotify, Audible and Pandora can be used IF the driver starts them while they are parked. However, you *can* use your car's built-in audio controls. So if that Nickelback song comes on mid-drive, you're stuck with it unless you turn off the radio for the next three and a half minutes.

What about social media? I swear I only post selfies while I’m stopped at red lights.

That’s a big fat no. No, no, no.

No quick Facebook updates.

No Instagram humblebrags.

No adding to your Snapchat story.

No replying to an email and no Googling the nearest Starbucks. Also not allowed - Skyping or Facetiming (or any form of videochat), even if it’s done hands free. The law states that a driver cannot record or broadcast a video while driving.

How can I do my part to make sure my fellow drivers are following the law?

Stiff penalties should help deter drivers from breaking the law; up to a $150 fine and up to 3 points on your license. You can also get ahead of the law and help your employees by purchasing branded products that will help them to follow the law – like a branded car phone mount. If you’re in charge of giveaway products for your company, think about choosing a phone mount or promotional bluetooth headset. Associating your brand with safety while saving your customers and employees not only money but their that’s a win-win.

While these laws have been in effect for years in several states, they are new to Georgia (and presumably more states to come). Depending on your habits, complying with the Hands Free Law may be a piece of cake. Or if you’re guilty of busting out your phone while you’re in bumper-to-bumper traffic on 285, you’re going to have to rethink your ways...or pay. It may take some getting used to, but hands-free laws have shown to significantly decrease traffic accidents and fatalities.

And that’s worth sharing...just not while driving.




Posted by Benjy Rose in Marketing Ideas, 0 comments
Top 5 retail inspired drinkware products

Top 5 retail inspired drinkware products

Consumers are demanding more and more out of their drinkware – more capacity! more quality! more features! Brands such as YETI, S’well, Thermos, Tervis, and Nalgene are prominent in the drinkware industry because they have mastered the needs of their consumers. Putting your logo on these retail brands is an investment – with all of the "more"s comes a higher price point – and for many, a worthwhile one. A branded YETI tumbler carries a high perceived value that is as much gift as it is marketing piece.

But not every company wants to spend brand-name money for brand-name products. For those companies on a budget, some of the manufacturers we work with have created more affordable versions with many of the features that consumers love about the retail brands. These are not cheap knock-offs, either – they're quality drinkware products made from quality materials that carry a cachet of their own. Here are five examples of promotional drinkware pieces that are comparable — if not better — than the name brands.

Himalayan vs. YETI Tumbler

The YETI brand has exploded into the market as a forever fan favorite for superior drinkware. The brand has not only become the leader in drinkware for the rugged/outdoor market — hunters and fisherman — but lately they've become known as a high-end luxury brand, while retaining their outdoorsy roots. A great alternative to the YETI is a customized Himalayan tumbler, which provides the copper vacuum insulation and stainless steel strength of a YETI, and is the perfect choice for both hot and cold beverages. The snap-on, spill-resistant thumb-slide lid is a great feature for people on-the-go. The fun colors that are offered in the powder coat finish are also reflective of YETI’s famous appearance. The Himalayan is the perfect quality piece of drinkware that will never disappoint.

In addition to branding on one side or a full wrap, the Two-Tone Himalayan Tumbler can also be customized with a full color packaged box, which means more branding real estate! This is a great tool to use if you are looking to go one step further with the way you present a quality drinkware piece to your customers.

Check out the Himalayan tumbler here >

h2go force vs. S’well

Unless you live under a rock, you have most likely seen a S’well bottle. Maybe you have one...or five. Why are people still hyped about this bottle? Maybe it's the easy-to-hold shape. Maybe it's the solid stainless steel insulating qualities. Maybe it's the wide variety of colors and patterns that are perfectly on-trend. Whatever the reason, people, and companies, think they're, um, S'well.

Our selected alternative, the h2go force, comes in iridescent colors that mimic the numerous colors and patterns of the S’well bottle. The h2go force is offered in a number of sizes – choose from 17 oz., 26 oz., or 34 oz. to fit your needs. Perhaps your customers want the smaller 17 oz. bottle so it fits into their purse or backpack but they want the 34 oz. bottle for camping trips to hold more beverage, whether that be water or wine (we won't judge).

ARRIS Group Inc. provided these bottles as a gift to the interns at the end of the ARRIS Internship Program. They wanted a drinkware piece that was affordable, low minimum order quantity and a quick turn time. They were so pleased with the quality that of the item that a second order was placed only two months later.

Check out the h2go force tumbler here >

Punch vs. Contigo

A huge player in the travel mug industry is of course, Contigo – simple, sleek, and spillproof. The Punch tumbler mimics the Contigo style and is perfect for the on-the-go fashion-forward consumer. The Punch tumbler is easy to hold and drink while also fitting perfectly into a cup holder. Whether you are an iced coffee person or if you prefer the traditional hot coffee in the mornings, the tumbler will keep your drink hot or cold with the double wall construction for insulation. Thanks to the snap-on sip through lid, no more worrying about spills on your lap! If you want to travel smart and in-style, the Punch tumbler is your cup of tea...or coffee!

Our tennis division, Netknacks, offered these travel tumblers on their website and they became a huge hit (get it??)! The customers loved being able to use them for a variety of reasons, whether it was the early morning match over the weekend or morning-commute coffee during the week.

Check out the Punch tumbler here >

Tritan vs. Tervis

Let’s face it – it isn’t easy to find a drinkware piece that's attractive to all ages, but the Tervis Tumbler is definitely an exception. Its impact- and shatter-resistance and double wall construction to hold and cold liquids makes it indestructible whether you are a child, teenager or adult! The customized Tritan tumbler is a perfect lower-priced alternative with its optional snap on lid and 9” straw, making it the perfect sippable giveaway. The Tritan tumbler is also known for the unique customization capabilities where the decoration is inserted in between the clear double walls of the tumbler and sealed to provide insulation. You can put your logo on an embroidered round patch, screenprint on a white or silver full wrap insert, or customize on an oval dome. This USA made product is a true American classic.

Check out the Tritan Tumbler here >

h2go wide vs. Nalgene

Whether consumers are planning a picnic, mountain climbing, cycling, or just need a new water bottle for their kid to use in grade school, Nalgene is the go-to pick because it is easy to handle. The promotional h2go wide tumbler offers the same lid retaining loop of a Nalgene for anyone who is on-the-go. For all the parents out there, this water bottle design is perfect for cleaning due to the wide neck so say goodbye to those terrible odors. And for all the non-adults out there, the h2go wide becomes a canvas to put your own personality on. This large and in-charge (34 ounces to be exact) drinkware piece is a great choice due to its convenience and durability. In fact, all 52 regions of Teach for America use the h2go wide for recruitment through the year. They are clearly experts in understanding their target market!

Check out the h2go wide tumbler here >

If you are looking to leave a lasting impression without breaking the bank, these promotional drinkware pieces are perfect giveaways and corporate gifts. These quality promotional items take all of the best features of popular name brand drinkware and deliver them in a more affordable way...everybody wins!

Check out all of our drinkware – name-brand and comparable alternatives – at



Posted by Benjy Rose in Marketing Ideas, 0 comments
Top 5 t-shirt styles for Casual Fridays

Top 5 t-shirt styles for Casual Fridays

by Sarah Gricius, Merchandising Manager

It’s casual Friday at the office and you rummage through the closest trying to figure out which company branded t-shirt to wear until you realize your favorite one is in the dirty clothes….UGH! Guess you will have to wear that stiff and scratchy one that is bundled up in a ball at the bottom of the dresser. Don’t be that company that gives your employees “those” t-shirts they never want to wear. Give them the option to wear your logo proudly on a comfortable, great-looking t-shirt they will wear over and over again.

On, we offer hundreds of different t-shirt styles, so how do you know which is the right one? Well, I've done all the hard work for're welcome. Below I've detailed my Top Five Casual Friday T-Shirt Styles – each one is not only a personal fave of mine, but each style receives outstanding reviews from our customers. Make sure to ask for a sample from our team here at Pinnacle so you can experience them for yourselves.

1. Alternative Unisex Keeper Vintage Jersey

check it out on >

This shirt is hands-down my all time favorite and I would buy it in every color! To begin, Alternative is a retail brand known best for comfort, simplicity and its commitment to sustainability. The items produced by Alternative are specially washed which provides a soft texture that pre-shrinks them as well.

The Keeper Vintage Jersey is a 50% Cotton / 50% Polyester blend which offers stretch in the material. Blends are known for versatility and durability, they can maintain shape and the color of the shirt will not fade through several wash cycles. The 4.4 ounce weight of the shirt allows for a lighter and more breathable fit. I like to consider the Vintage Jersey as an "athleisure" piece in my wardrobe. When screenprinting on the shirt, I would suggest using a soft hand ink without a white underlay to match the soft texture of the shirt. This will prevent the logo from being stiff which is never a comfortable feeling.

Colors available: Black, Blue Sky, Maize, Navy, Red, Silver, Smoke Grey, Southern Orange, Vintage Coal, Vintage Iris, Vintage Navy, Vintage Pine, Vintage Royal, Vintage Stone, White

Sizes available: XS - 3XL, Unisex fit

2. Next Level CVC Crew

check it out on >

I own several of these tees and love to wear them as my Sunday lounge attire. What I refer to as the Champion of Casual but better known as the Next Level CVC, Chief Value Cotton, Crew is a Pinnacle pick throughout the office. The "CVC" in the name refers to a cotton and polyester blend with a heavier percentage of cotton. This tee has a make up of 60% cotton and 40% polyester, making for a great quality and budget-friendly t-shirt – a win all around. Polyester threads are strong and tend to have more stretch and memory compared to a Rayon thread. Rayon threads are relatively weak and often need to be dry cleaned therefore they have the tendency to shrink if not cared for properly.

Almost all colors in the this t-shirt feature a heathered look but it's most prominent in the gray color family. Another great feature is the tear-away customizable label so you can really brand every inch of the shirt. Print on the shirt AND the label for ultimate customization. The shirt is only 4.3 oz., so it may feel like a thin material, but from personal experience the quality and print holds up through several wash cycles.

Colors available: Apple Green, Banana Cream, Black, Bondi Blue, Cardinal, Charcoal, Cream, Dark Heather Grey, Espresso, Ice Blue, Indigo, Kelly Green, Light Olive, Midnight Navy, Military Green, Mint, Neon Heather, Neon Yellow, Orange, Purple Rush, Red, Royal, Sand, Silk, Stone Gray, Storm, Tahiti Blue, Turquoise, Warm Gray, White

Sizes available: XS-2XL, also available in Men's style

3. ComfortWash by Hanes 5.5 oz. 100% Ringspun Cotton Garment Dyed T-shirt

check it out at >

My Hanes were all over this shirt when I received my first sample in the Deep Forte (medium purplish-blue) color. I was in complete shock when I first saw the brand of the t-shirt – I usually think of Hanes as the cost-effective brand that is great to buy for value, but the ComfortWash tee from Hanes has the softness of a blanket. It's made with American grown cotton and enzyme washed which gives it the ultra soft feel. With the Hanes ComfortWash, I don’t have to sacrifice softness to get the look I love. This tee definitely keeps my skin smiling!

Colors available: Anchor Slate, Black, Concrete, Coral Craze, Crimson Fall, Cypress Green, Deep Forte, Mint, Navy, New Railroad, Purple Pim Raisin, Soothing Blue, Summer Sky, Summer Squash, White

Sizes available: S-3XL

4. Threadfast Apparel Unisex Triblend Short-Sleeve T-shirt

check it out at >

Heathered, or what I like to call weathered, shirts are a trendy take on casual wear that I hope never goes out of style. The marbled appearance of the fabric provides a visual interest on an otherwise simple piece of apparel. The Threadfast Jersey Short Sleeve T-shirt is retail inspired and the smooth surface of the tee is ideal for screenprinting. I would suggest a simple one color imprint on this tee since there is already a natural marbled background. This tee consists of 95% polyester and 5% cotton so it can easily be considered a top pick for the sportswear industry as well. I like to wear my Threadfast tee when I take my dog out for walks or if I plan on spending a day outside at the park.

Colors available: Black Triblend, Cardinal Black Triblend, Cream Triblend, Green Triblend, Grey Triblend, Mint Triblend, Navy Triblend, Orange Triblend, Red Triblend, Royal Black Triblend, Royal Triblend

Sizes available: S-2XL, Unisex fit

5. District Made Scorecard Tee / Game Day Tee

check it out at >

The District Made Scorecard Tee (mens version is called the Gameday Tee) adds just the right flair to the basic tee. This tee screams retro game-day with the distressed printed stripes on the sleeves! It is one of my favorites because it brings me back to the University days where I loved sporting my school spirit! As a company, you can bring that spirit to life with your company logo printed on this tee, and the Game Tee gives you a chance to have fun with your logo and retro-fy it. Remember, what was old will become new again.

The 4.5 oz. weight of the shirt is right in the sweet spot: not too heavy and not too light which makes it the perfect tee to wear outside! The build up is another 60% cotton and 40% polyester blend and features a tear-away label. With the vintage look and great quality material, this tee will score year 'round.

Colors available: Heathered Charcoal and White, Heathered Nickel and White, Heathered True Navy and White, Heather True Royal and White

Sizes available: XS-4XL, also available in Men's style (Gameday Tee)


There are hundreds of different t-shirt styles to put your logo on, and although this post only highlighted my 5 top styles, it is a great starting point for your next project. At Pinnacle, we pride ourselves on being experts in the products we offer – you can trust that any one of these styles will be a great quality t-shirt to Make the Right Impression on your employees and customers.



Posted by Benjy Rose in Marketing Ideas, 0 comments
NetKnacks Booth Sales Diary: USTA Southern Sectional Championships, Mobile, AL

NetKnacks Booth Sales Diary: USTA Southern Sectional Championships, Mobile, AL

March 9-11, 2018

by Darlene Jefferson, Program Director, NetKnacks Tennis Awards

NetKnacks is all about spreading the love of tennis, and one of the most rewarding things I get to do for NetKnacks is spread that tennis love at USTA Sectional Championship Events. Players have worked really hard to earn their spots at these events and get one step closer to a National Championship.

At these events, NetKnacks sells USTA Sectional Championship attire and other imprinted items so each player can commemorate this special event. We just attended the USTA Southern Sectional Championships in Mobile, AL, where there were over 1200 players from across the southern region – Adult, 18 & Over, & 40 & Over, Men’s & Women’s – and I can’t say enough about how excited they were to see us in attendance.

Southern is one of the best-attended events for our booth sales program, and preparation was an adventure. The day before the event, we drove from Atlanta to Mobile in the largest cargo van I have ever driven in my life, completely filled to the brim with our booth and all of the tennis promotional products we could stuff into it. Luckily, we made it in one piece. As we do before every booth sale, we went to the site to stake out the best spot. We always try to choose a location where everyone has to pass our booth – of course they'll love what they see, so they'll stop by!! The Mobile Tennis Center folks were the perfect hosts and let us set up in the front of the parking lot, at the entrance to the tennis center and right by the food trucks where everyone would be getting their lunch throughout the day ( trucks…).

We arrived very early – in the dark (5:30 AM to be exact) – the Friday of the event, since players begin to show up at 7:30 AM and we knew we needed to be ready. We start out every booth set-up by putting out our product options on our three tables and our amazing hanging rack so everyone can see all the apparel options, just like at a rock concert merch stand. And we sure did feel like rockstars. Within 15 minutes of being open, the players took over the booth and we were non-stop ringing up sales with long lines of people waiting to purchase. We kept busy until we closed the booth that day at 5:00 PM. We reorganized, packed up and went directly to bed exhausted from a very successful booth day. And then we did it again. And again. We repeated this process for two more days until the event ended and we were almost completely sold out!

I drove the very large – and empty – van back to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon thrilled with the results of the weekend. Everyone wanted their own special item to bring home to show that they made it to this championship event. Some players even came back several times over the weekend – some could not decide on just one item, and some decided to purchase some of our items as gifts to use throughout the year.

We are constantly bringing new products to the booths and only bring the best quality so that our players will love them and use them over and over again. For USTA Southern, the merchandise we selected included practical drinkware and apparel options as well as fun items like our wine sippy cup, our LOVE Koozie, and our LOVE Net Check. Practical items include Nike Hats and Visors, Tennis Attire, Pullovers, Jackets, Tennis Towels, Coolers, Grips & Drinkware. In Mobile, we sold out of our wine sippy cups within the first hour of being open, a record for us!! I guess Alabamians are thirsty.

NetKnacks primarily sells our items via our online store (, so it is a real treat to see personal reactions of how actual players receive our products. We also learn from them when they give us new product ideas to add to our offering. We meet with our suppliers on a monthly basis throughout the year to see what is new and exciting in the market and what item is the current craze (i.e. fidget spinners) so you never know what you will see at our next booth!

This is just the beginning of a great 2018 tennis season and we look forward to attending sectionals all over the United States in the upcoming months!! Next stop, USTA Southwest in Tucson, Arizona – here we come! I don't think I'll be driving the van for this one.

Posted by Benjy Rose in Case Studies, Marketing Ideas, Promotional Products Around Town, 0 comments
The paradox of overchoice: how many options are too many?

The paradox of overchoice: how many options are too many?

by Dave Weintraub, CEO

Luckily, I do not go to the grocery store very often.

When I do go, I usually spend three times what I was planning on spending and often I forget what I was originally supposed to buy and have to go back. Recently, I came home from work one night, and my wife asked me to go to our local Publix to get pasta sauce. “No problem” I replied, grabbed my keys and headed down the street thinking it would be a quick in and out.

Wow, was I wrong. How hard can it be to buy a jar of sauce at a grocery store? How about 45 minutes hard.


Jars and jars and jars....

I walked into the store and immediately headed for the pasta aisle. Prego. That was the name stuck in my head. My thought was to walk right over, grab the first jar I see and then head straight to the express checkout. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

First, Prego has about 35 different kinds of sauce. You have to make a choice. Do you want a Favorite, a Classic Italian, or a Premium? What about a Prego Farmer’s Market version with organic ingredients? There was traditional, tomato basil with garlic, fresh mushroom, homestyle, meat-flavored. Seriously!? I was absolutely overwhelmed...and that was just one brand. There’s also Newman’s Own, Bertoli, Ragu, Barilla, and the private-label Publix versions of all of these. With all of the combinations, there had to be at least a hundred different options staring back at me.

"This is what you want."

I was just standing there staring at the shelves for 10 minutes when the stockperson came up to me and asked me if I needed help. “I don’t know” was all I could say. The reality of the situation was that I was actually scared to choose something because I knew that if I came home with the wrong jar my wife would just send me back out again.

The stockperson and I went back and forth for another 10 minutes. Did I want garlic? Vegetarian or meat? Peppers and onions? My head was spinning until suddenly I heard a familiar voice, “What are you doing?” Thankfully, it was my wife’s best friend. She lives down the street and happened to be shopping. After begging her not to tell, I explained my predicament. She laughed, reached over my shoulder, grabbed a jar, and said “This is what you want”. I took it, said thanks, and ran.

Overchoice defined

In the car on the way home I started to wonder what just happened. I don’t usually have a tough time making decisions, but this was different. It wasn’t that there was a right or wrong decision to make – I would imagine that all of the sauces pretty much taste the same. The question is, what do you do when you have to make a decision between items that all seem the same?

That is the paradox of choice…or what psychologists call the phenomenon of “Overchoice”. The simple definition is that people have a difficult time making a decision when faced with too many equivalent choices. The process was first named and written about in 1970, but there have been numerous studies since then that document the struggles of choice.

We’re all faced with this every day from college options, to career options, to romantic relationships. Modern technology makes our increased options even greater, with easy access to information. We’ve all been there. When was the last time you went to Amazon with the intent to buy something you were certain about and ended up leaving the site with nothing? It happens to the best of us. We read the reviews, look at “similar” products and then just get frustrated and overwhelmed and can’t bring ourselves to press 1-click to order.

How many choices are too many?

A few years ago researchers put together a study to gauge just how many choices are too many. They went to a grocery store and put out six jars of jelly. Forty percent of the shoppers stopped to take a look at the selection and a whopping 30% actually purchased something. The next week the researchers put out 24 varieties of Jelly. Just as you would expect, it attracted more people! Sixty percent of the people stopped to take a look at the layout – a huge number. But, surprisingly, only three percent of the shoppers actually bought something.

The researchers concluded that having such a large number of equally good options is too mentally draining because each option has to be weighed against the others. Initially, more choices leads to more satisfaction, but as the number increases, it peaks and then people tend to feel more confusion, pressure, and potential dissatisfaction. A smaller number of choices leads to increased satisfaction and less regret. The pressure of choice is even more extreme when you add in limited-time constraints.

The solution: how to overcome overchoice

My sauce-choosing experience was just a small example of what a typical consumer is faced with during the day, but I also see it a lot at work. At Pinnacle Promotions, we sell imprinted promotional products and corporate apparel. As a distributor, the choice options are almost endless. We literally have access to about 700,000 different products on which a company can print its logo.

We have a phenomenal website with hundreds of categories, tens of thousands of products and a multitude of imprint methods. But what do you do as a client when your boss tells you to find products that you can give away at a trade show? It can be simply overwhelming. You can go to 10 different websites and everything looks the same – Overchoice in all of its glory.

Here’s the thing, though. My wife’s friend knew what I wanted because she knows me and my family. She spends enough time with us to know what would satisfy our needs, fit in our budget, and make me look good. This is how you overcome the Overchoice dilemma – with individuals who understand what you are looking for, know the questions to ask, and people that you can trust to help narrow down your choices to a manageable level.

And that's exactly what we do at Pinnacle – we train our staff to be product experts so that they can help you find exactly what you need at the right price.

The stockperson at Publix was there to help, but he didn’t really know what I wanted, so his suggestions only made me more confused. It took someone who had a relationship with me and my family to get me where I needed to go. Easy access to products and information can give you more choice, but is it the right choice?

My suggestion: make choices easier in your business life and surround yourself with partners, vendors, and suppliers that take the time to learn what your business is all about and learn about you as a human being, not just a potential sale.


Dave Weintraub started Pinnacle Promotions with his brother Mitch in 1994. In the ensuing years, he's seen the options for branded merchandise – and the access to those options – expand dramatically. His goal with Pinnacle is, and has always been, to take all of these options and narrow them down to just the right ones.


Posted by Benjy Rose in Marketing Ideas, 0 comments
5 super-important visual merchandising tips to design a product showroom

5 super-important visual merchandising tips to design a product showroom

When you walk into many businesses, you see photos or displays that tell a story about the company. As a promotional products company, our story is products: we sell thousands of different products across a broad spectrum of product categories. Rather than jamming as many products as possible onto shelves to show that broad spectrum, though, we strive to present a retail experience.

Our showroom at Pinnacle Promotions displays a tidy collection of product groups that highlight items we can customize. These products aren’t arranged that way by accident – they are visually merchandised with intention to help the products sell themselves.

While our business is primarily online, our office does get foot traffic – many of our larger clients visit for regular check-ins, and we bring prospects through to see the breadth of our promotional agency. It's important that our showroom effectively presents the products we sell to help our customers (and our employees) understand their uses and intentions, just like a retail showroom would.

Good merchandising drives traffic to your business (think window shopping) and influences customers to purchase once they're inside. Merchandising can have a positive impact on sales by providing a memorable experience. Customers are more likely to return in the future if they find a business that is well organized and attractive. According to the article, Why Visual Merchandising Matters More Than Ever, 65% of individuals say they are visual learners and visuals increase message retention by 42%. Therefore, visual merchandising combines both a creative and scientific aspect to help get the message across faster with more impact.

Not really sure how to get started with visual merchandising for your business? The following five actions will help you create an effective visual merchandise display to catch your customer’s attention and get them to spend money with you!

1. Define your target customer

We all respond differently to different messages, and those differences are generally affected by our age, income, and education level. Diving deeper, you can look at buying behaviors and psychographics – values, opinions, attitudes, and interests. Knowing more about your target customers' lifestyles will help determine your displays' product selections, layouts, and messages.

This may seem obvious – if your customers are predominantly women, you'll want to display items that will appeal more to women – but it goes beyond the surface demographics. If your research determines that your target customers tend to be interested in music, you would be wise to pepper your displays with music-themed products, even if you're not selling music products. The more you can hit your customers' hot buttons, the more effective your displays will be.

2. Group like items together

promotional product themes | Pinnacle Promotions

Product bundling will offer an easy shopping experience for your customers. Grouping products together will entice the customer to purchase more – we're all about convenience. Product grouping can be based on any attribute: start with theme, color, type, or size, and let your mind go from there. Just think of the layout at your local grocery store: the bread is right next to the peanut butter and jelly and the lunch meat is right next to the cheese.

At Pinnacle Promotions, we base our displays around themes. Using themes gives our customers a better understanding of how to use the products while making the experience more interesting. Our showroom currently displays the following themes:

Spring Fever
These products incorporate the pastel colors of spring to highlight seasonal trends.

Rugged Outdoors
These products are inspired by the great outdoors which will motivate you to get outside with products designed to perform.

On-the-go Tech
These products have an elegant design to help you stay organized, light on your feet, moving at the speed of sound, and help navigate your busy lifestyle.

Retro Style
These nostalgia and vintage-inspired items are making a comeback as they trigger a happy feeling of the past. In an era of #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday, retro products are becoming a trend again!

Natural Serenity
These products have a timeless quality that allow you to escape reality with materials and styles taken from nature.

Global Community
These products feature unique patterns borrowed from around the world. They merge the best of our ancestry with today’s modern aesthetic for one of kind pop of pattern that is designed to bring you to a whole new world of style.

Corporate Premiums
These unique and high-end products can make a great impact on customers or employees as a way to leave a lasting impression.

3. Follow the Rule of Three

Rule of three | Pinnacle Promotions

A principle that most visual merchandisers abide by is the Rule of Three. When creating a display, try to work in sets of three instead of having items side by side. Displaying products in groups of three provides visual interest – the eyes always have something to focus on and continue to jump from product to product. This concept derives from the Pyramid Principle, which suggests that displays should have a triangular (pyramid) shape. The largest item is placed at the top center and the smaller items are on the outside, creating a step down from the focal point. The principle allows for variety in the surface so displays do not feel flat. The article by Barbara Wright, Principle #3: Pyramid Power, gives some great examples of how to use the principle with glasses displays.  

This method is also employed in writing, economics, film, photography, and many other disciplines. Here are some tips when using the Rule of Three for merchandising:

  • Choose closely related products
  • Experiment! Try moving around the products to show different angles
  • Make these products the focal point of your display

4. Refresh your displays

Customers like to see new and unique products when they return to a store, and it falls on the visual merchandiser to create innovative ways to display the products. Maintaining the same displays over time will produce a stagnant environment and discourage repeat customers, while constantly refreshing displays will create interest and enable merchandisers to show more of the breadth of available products.

Additionally, refreshing a display can help the visual merchandiser experiment and help with identifying what really makes the brand stand out. Try it, measure it, adjust it, repeat... Learn from what worked previously and grow from that knowledge!

5. Keep brand consistency

The consistency of visual branding and messaging throughout a store strengthens your brand identity and creates a positive sentiment for your company. When a brand shows consistent messaging, customers will feel that your brand is more dependable. Imagine going to a retail store where everything is well organized and the customer service is remarkable but when you return two weeks later, the sales reps are flinging clothes around and not being attentive. You would get mixed messages and wonder who and what the store is really about. It works the same way when merchandising a showroom; if you maintain consistency through your brand, customers will have the feeling that they can trust you.

At Pinnacle Promotions, our reputation is built on ensuring brand consistency for our clients...and for ourselves. From the people that work here to the products we sell we all have understanding of how to Make the right impression.™

So, in conclusion...

Creating the perfect product display requires a number of factors to take into account. First, know who your customers are...and what they want. Group your products together by whatever method makes sense for your business. Try the Rule of Three. Keep your displays fresh and new. And be consistent with your messaging.

Experiment with these techniques and keep your eyes open to new trends so you can continue to add to your merchandising knowledge. It is important to track what works and constantly adapt based on the needs of your target customer. Now, armed with these visual merchandising tips, go forth and see how much you can increase sales with effective product displays!

Posted by Benjy Rose in Marketing Ideas, 0 comments
Planning the perfect golf tournament

Planning the perfect golf tournament

If you’re looking for a fun (and productive) way to raise money for a charity or organization, but are tired of hosting the same old events, a golf tournament can provide the perfect fundraising platform. With close to 26 million golfers in the US alone, a golf outing is sure to attract lots of participants.

Planning and executing a golf tournament can seem like a daunting task, but we’re sharing some tips of the trade to make the planning process a breeze.

Define your budget

It's important to determine your budget early in the planning process to guide the rest of your decisions. Make sure to take into account marketing & advertising, course rental, municipal fees (if any), outside tournament planners, food & beverage, and participant gifts. If you've never organized a golf event before, it may be wise to hire an outside planning firm to help get you going.

Pick the appropriate golf course

Once you have determined the parameters of your budget, you’ll need to decide what course is appropriate for your golf event. Think about what types of players will be participating in the tournament – are these causal or novice golfers, or are they basically PGA pros? The main objective of the outing is to make sure your golfers are having a good time while helping you to raise money for your cause, so you want them to feel comfortable and equipped to take on whatever course you choose.

Anticipate attendance

Don’t be afraid to put a cap on the number of groups that you allow to enter the event. No one wants to spend 8 hours golfing 18 holes, so taking some time to get to know the course and the ideal number of golfers it allows for is crucial. When in doubt, reach out to employees at the course hosting your golf outing so that they can lend their professional opinion.

Sign up sponsors

We can’t say this enough – sponsors are essential to executing a successful golf outing! Define levels of sponsorship so that local businesses have options when it comes to how much they are willing to donate to the cause. A headlining sponsorship could include having the businesses name and logo on all golf outing digital and printed advertising, whereas a "hole sponsorship" may just include signage at a particular hole on the course and a table where employees from that business can sit and network with golfers as they complete the course. Sponsorship could also take the form of food and drink donations — don’t confine your sponsors to monetary donations. Bottled water, chips and snacks, pop and adult beverages are all necessary so ask businesses if they would be willing to donate any of those.

Advertise, advertise, advertise

Now that you’ve got your budget, course and sponsors worked out, you need to spread the word about the outing with an invitation. This invitation can be printed or digital, but you’ll want it to include all of the important details (where, what time, sponsors names, entry fee, etc.).

When it comes to sending out the invitation think about your organization's established channels of communication and use them to your advantage. Do you have a massive social media following? Post that invitation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Or maybe you have a solid list of email contacts – send out the invitation that way. Use whatever channels of communication you know work best for your organization. It could even be dropping in to local businesses in person and asking them to hang the invitation on a bulletin board.

Gather your army of volunteers

To pull off a smooth and successful golf tournament, you’ll need to have lots of helping hands. Enlist volunteers that are familiar with your cause or organization, knowledgeable about the game of golf, or in a perfect world, both! Try to have at least a few volunteers that know enough about golf that they can answer questions that some of your less knowledgeable volunteers may have about the game. Break your volunteers into groups so that it’s easily to delegate tasks – registration, food and beverage, course supervision, etc. are good places to start. The more clear your volunteers are about their jobs on tournament day, the more efficiently they will be able to pull of their roles.

Keep the food and beverages flowing

Your golfers have paid their entry fees to support your cause, so make sure they are well taken care of on the day of the tournament. Have a group of volunteers ride around in golf carts throughout the day to make sure that golfers on all parts of the course have whatever they need. Don’t forget to coordinate with the golf course to make sure they have on-site food for after the event, or can contract with a caterer. It’s common to throw an after-outing bash in the clubhouse or at a nearby bar or restaurant so that participants can enjoy dinner and some prizes (we’ll get to that part shortly!).

Make it memorable

A common way to make playing the 18 holes even more fun is to host contests at specific holes along the course. Awarding prizes for the longest putt, longest drive, and closest to the pin are ways to keep competition high throughout the day. Photo booths, live music, and selling mulligans prior to tee-off are also unique ways to ensure golfers will remember your golf outing for years to come.

People love prizes….and raffles

Back to that after-outing bash we talked about before! Having raffles or silent auctions during this party can be a great way to raise extra funds. Talk to your participating sponsors or local businesses and professional sports teams to see if they are willing to donate prizes for the raffles. Sports memorabilia, tickets to a local sporting event, golf clubs, gift cards and gift baskets are all great prizes that golfers are sure to bet big on. In addition to raffles or silent auctions, think about awarding trophies or other promotional gifts (glassware, business bags, high tech gifts) to the winning team.

Titan Deep Freeze 2 Day Lunch Cooler

Titleist® Pro V1 Golf Ball

Titleist® Players 4 Stand Bag

Don’t let your golfers leave without a swag bag

Everyone loves a good swag bag – so make sure you plan out some appropriate golf promotional products products to give to your golfers either upon arrival or when they depart the outing. A good mix of golf specific products and more general products is critical to pleasing the crowd. Tumblers, Bluetooth speakers and golf towels and tools are sure to be a hit with golfers. Here are some of our favorite pieces for golf outing giveaways:

The Tugo Copper Vacuum Tumbler and Can Insulator is a perfect giveaway for the day of the outing. Hand this tumbler out to your golfers upon their arrival so that they can use it on the course to hold their cans and beverages.

Umbrellas top the list of the most useful promotional giveaways, and the 62” Tour Golf Umbrella is no exception. Featuring a large decoration area for your organization’s logo, this piece will remind golfers of your outing and your cause long after the day is over.

This high end Cutter & Buck divot tool is a 3-in-1 wonder. Featuring a bottle opener, magnetic ball marker and a belt clip – this tool will become a staple every golfers bag.

Ask for feedback

Last but certainly not least, send a thank you note or email to all of the golfers who participated in your outing – after all, without them the event would not have been possible. Take a photo of the entire group after play is finished on the day of your outing and include this photo in the follow up, it’s a great reminder of the fun they had on the day. Also include a survey to ask golfers what they liked about the outing and what you could improve upon for the next year.

Posted by Benjy Rose in Marketing Ideas, 0 comments
Why do recipients keep promotional products? (Top 5 Reasons)

Why do recipients keep promotional products? (Top 5 Reasons)

Have you ever considered the reasons why people actually own promotional products? Of course, many organizations hand out promotional products during events, and there's the occasional instance of accidental pen thievery, but what are the motivations for hanging on to these giveaways? Gaining insight to why people opt to keep your custom pens, branded polo shirts, and logoed tumblers can help you choose the most effective promotional items for your company to invest in, increasing the likelihood of impressions, brand interest, and cause awareness.

In a 2017 consumer study conducted by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), over 1,000 individuals were surveyed on the reasons they chose to keep a promotional item. Of the top 10 reasons listed in the study, here are the top 5 that we feel are most important to our customers:

#5: Symbolism

17% of people surveyed keep promotional products because the item represents a cause they align with. While many organizations build brand and cause awareness through fundraising with inexpensive, high-quality promotional products, these items also make great giveaways at local events, as well as symbolic keepsakes for community volunteers and donor appreciation!

Non-Profit Organizations and other Associations participate largely in symbolism because of the affordability aspects, as well as the reach of cause awareness through passionate supporters and advocates.

USA Made Canvas Tote Bag

Wooden Cube Blossom Kit

The Cinema Light Box Key-Light

#4: Loyalty

22% of people keep promotional products because they support the brandWhen consumers like the company's products or services offered, or when they’ve had an exceptional experience with a company, they talk about it. Receiving a promotional product from a brand they’re loyal to generates more positive referrals from devoted customers.

Here at the office, we wear and carry a LOT of Pinnacle Promotions branded promotional items! Shameless plug, yes, but aside from what WE like, it’s common to see promotional items being carried by local gym members, college alumni, hipster Apple fanatics and so many other loyal consumers! Brand loyalty sometimes extends to the brand of the product itself. If your brand is less well known, consider investing in name brand promotional products like Nike or YETI, customized with your logo, as an opportunity to increase brand awareness. Your customers' loyalty to the manufacturer can be shared with your company, giving your brand an added boost.

OGIO Shuttle Pack

Corkcicle® 9 oz. Canteen

Toddy Gear Micro-USB Cable w/Apple Lightning Adapter

#3: Experience

28% of people keep promotional products because they have memorable value! Consumers are everywhere participating in everything from local community events to national conventions and festivals. In recent years, it has become an expectation of consumers to be reached at a personal level and there is no better way to create a resounding connection at these events than with a promotional item!

This is evident if you’ve ever seen an authentic Woodstock t-shirt, or a bag from SXSW, or a button pin from HOW Design Live, or a Koozie from the local arts festival down the street. People keep things that remind them of an awesome learning experience or an amazing time they had and if your company is participating in any type of similar event, you’ll want to show up with custom promotional items in hand!

Burlap Little Buddy with Neoprene Pocket

Sport-Tek Heather-On-Heather Contender Tee

Full Color and Pantone Matched Drawstring Bag

#2: Design

43% of people keep promotional products because they fit their style or personality. Show of hands, who hasn’t seen a neon chartreuse or chevron printed, anything?! To help customize niche marketing campaigns, it’s imperative to keep up with industry and retail trends. Trendy promotional items attract people to your brand through colors, textures, patterns and construction! If there is something out there that speaks to your clientele specifically, it can, in most cases, be made into a promotional item.

Poppi Glass Tumbler - 20 oz.

Marble Hard Bound JournalBook™ Bundle Set

Allen Wood Tone Sunglasses

#1: Functionality

The number one reason that people hang on to promotional items is for functional purposes. In fact, 85% of people own promotional products because they’re functional! We can venture to say that a majority of people enjoy products that serve multiple purposes or make their lives a little easier. No matter what your business is, no matter how big, or how small, a promotional product that is also functional will always be a successful option for gaining impressions, brand interest or cause awareness.

Multi USB Cable Key Chain

Onyt App-Enabled Smart Button

Stockton Junior Tech & Conference Journal

Your company can use these promotional product buying reasons to create connections that resonate with your existing clients, potential clients, and employees. Promotional products help your brand stand out from the competition and establish a solution for your brand’s offline marketing challenges. With the benefits of promotional products, you can achieve all of these goals through an increased positive perception and overall brand image, as well as a higher likelihood of recommending or becoming a patron of your business. Considering the average duration that a recipient keeps a promotional product is one to four years, the quality of the promotional products you select is essential to the long term impact you see on these goals.

Posted by Benjy Rose in Marketing Ideas, 0 comments