Marketing Ideas

Promotional Kits for National Preparedness Month

This morning on my way to work, a shining beacon of inspiration hung above the highway: an illuminated Georgia DOT sign encouraging commuters to ‘Get Prepared for Preparedness Month.’ I immediately felt smug as I glanced in the rear view mirror at my automotive emergency kit. However, that comfortable feeling soon disappeared as I began to consider the opacity of the suggestion on the sign: ‘Get Prepared’ for what? I might have a couple of promotional kits in my car for first-aid catastrophes and vehicular issues, but that was the extent of my preparedness. As soon as I got to my desk I started in on a little research and development and was relieved to find that there is a promotional kit to prepare me for any unforeseen circumstances, from a lost button that needs reattached to an impromptu craft party. Get prepared…

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Promotional tools for home improvement

I purchased my first townhouse last November and have slowly and steadily been making little and big improvements here and there. I completely understand now why a homeowner’s work is never done. I never would have thought of promotional tools as being a helpful or useful household tool, but with practicality being a driving factor in how more and more Marketing departments determine what promotional products they will purchase, a promotional tools sounds very fitting. I definitely could have used several more promotional tools over this past weekend as my parents and I tried to widen a doorway within my home. I will get my home there, slowly but surely.

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Pets love promotional items too.

This weekend in Atlanta a benefit concert will take place to help raise awareness and funds for several local animal foundations. It really got me thinking about how important pets have become in our society. So why not pamper your cuddly pals with promotional pet products, they deserve some fun too. The most common promotional pet products for dogs would be of course a dog-friendly frisbee, but nowadays there are so many more fun and unique promotional products to choose from. One of the coolest new products I have seen lately is a pet travel bowl just for dogs, it works so well you can’t leave home with out it!

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Promotional Products Giveaways and Wedding Dances that Truly Make an Entrance

Every girl knows that planning a wedding is a lot of work. From finding the perfect dress to the best wedding favors (see Stephania’s blog post for ideas on promotional products giveaways), there are many factors to consider. These days, it seems as though one of the most important features of the wedding- after the ceremony and vows of course- is a couple’s first dance.
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Today I become a homeowner. Wonder if I’ll leave with a promotional product of sorts. Maybe a promotional key chain?

Today’s the day my husband and I become homeowners. It’s a modest ranch style home, and we cannot wait to move in. It has been quite a process for us to find a home, and finally get to this stage. With home prices being so low in the current economic state, the market for first time home buyers has proven to be über competitive.

I’ve likened our search to that of a relationship. You fall in love. Go through a bad breakup. Maybe multiple. And then finally, finally, find the one to spend the rest of your life with – or at least the next few years. Well we have finally found the one, and are excited and nervous to find what challenges the closing will bring.

As we wrap up the last final details before the closing, I can’t help but reflect on the entire process and have to give credit to my Realtor for being such a help to two newbies entering into the grown-up world of homeownership. Through our journey, we’ve developed a strong business relationship with our Realtor, Mark, and know exactly whom we will turn to when it’s time to upgrade to our next home.

Mark met the needs of his customers. That’s great. He did his job. He found us a home and will (finally after 7 long months) be getting a commission. However, to earn this position as our “family” Realtor, Mark had to do more than simply meet our needs. Pretty much anyone could have found us a home. But Mark did more than just find us a house. Mark was a trouper through it all. He’s gone on many day-long house hunting trips in nearly ever city in the metro-Atlanta area. He’s found us homes that were on budget, under budget and a few that were simply perfect. He has answered my calls at 6:00 on Saturday night asking him to show us the house we just found online – preferably next day.

He not only met our needs, but went above and beyond to make the home buying process as seamless and as straightforward as he could for two people who have never experienced this before. This type of service is what earns a lasting spot in the cellphones, address books and planners of your customers.

When you as a business go above and beyond by providing a friendly disposition, corporate branded gifts and stellar customer service, you earn a lasting place as a company of choice to your client base. Build your business, earn clients for life and bring in referrals from happy customers.

Could the premise be simpler?

Meeting needs = closed deal. Great! That’s money in the bank. Meeting wants = customers for life. Excellent!! That’s a closed deal + repeat business + referrals. Which would you prefer?

So, I’m off to my closing. Keep your fingers crossed that it’s smooth sailing! And that maybe we leave a shiny new promotional key chain to hang our new keys on.

Kim
Marketing Coordinator

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Blue Moons and Promotional Hats

This blog posting is mainly a reflection of how the thought of promotional products can truly infiltrate one’s everyday life. Try and follow me on my literary journey to how I found another perfect occasion to supplement one’s marketing efforts with promotional items…

If you happened to take a peak at the full moon shining above on New Year’s Eve then you got a special glimpse of what is called a “blue moon,” meaning the 2nd full that occurs in a single month (there is generally only 1 full moon each month). Even more special is the fact that this blue moon occurred on New Year’s Eve, a correlation that has not happened since 1990, and will not happen for another 19 years. Colloquially, a blue moon refers to a very rare event, and inspired the phrase “Once in a blue moon,” (which actually occurs about once every two and a half years) whose usage dates back to the Medieval Times in England.

This idiom made me think of another popular expression, “Hats off to you,” which is an expression of admiration or praise said to have evolved from the action of actually taking one’s hat off to show respect to someone. Upon my search for a deeper history of this tradition, I discovered that January 15 is Hat Day, which would be the perfect occasion to advertise one’s business and services with promotional hats!

And finally for your listening pleasure, the ballad “Blue Moon” written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934, here performed by Dean Martin.

Jaime
Team Lead – Multimedia

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Information Overload: Why Buyers of Promotional Products Should Care

lil'bearAs a newbie in the world of marketing, it is hard for me to imagine how the industry functioned before the introductions of the Internet, TV, and cell phones. It must have been much simpler for marketers to communicate their messages to their target audiences, but they also lacked the extent of efficiency and information available to marketers in today’s society. But has some of the value of that information diminished in importance because of what author Guy Kawasaki refers to as, “information obesity?” When I came across an online article written by Kem Meyer and edited by Kawasaki the other day, I knew I had to dedicate a blog post to Meyer’s topic of discussion.

The premise of the article is that NONE of us are immune to the presence of information overload. Alvin Toffler coined the phrase, “information overload” to explain the phenomenon which occurs when individuals are presented with an excess amount of information and lose sight of the task(s) that they were originally trying to complete.

People are exposed to hundreds of thousands of marketing messages daily, so as a marketer, it has become increasingly tougher to break through the clutter and get your voice heard. There is a fine line between “over-selling”, which runs the risk of potentially offending end users and invading their personal space, and not being aggressive enough, which may cause a campaign to be ineffective and quickly forgotten.

Meyer provides valuable information about how marketers can maintain a happy medium, and I have taken the liberty of adapting a few of her recommendations to apply to the more specific marketing subset of promotional products.

1. Stick to the facts. Provide the necessary information to enable consumers to make a decision. In the promotional products industry, this can be applied by limiting the amount of text imprinted on a given item. For example, customizing a promotional pen with the name of your organization, phone number, and website address may be sufficient to drive sales.

2. Stick to the point. In my experience, this step cannot be emphasized enough. Meyer states, “Start with the end in mind before you take action.” As marketers, it is our job to inspire people to think and act in accordance with our desired objectives. If you are unsure of what you hope to achieve by executing a promotional products campaign, how can you expect your audience to follow through on your call to action?

3. Deflate your self-importance. There is a time and place for a sales pitch, and generally, promotional products are not appropriate vehicles on which to deliver lengthy monologues stuffed with industry-specific terminology. As Meyer eloquently explains, “Work hard to think like your audience to find ways to connect.” In the Healthcare industry, maybe this means tailoring a promotional healthcare products campaign to the needs of nurses, whose job descriptions and equipment often differ greatly from those of physicians or other medical providers. Take on a tone that demonstrates a clear understanding of these professionals and they are likely to appreciate the individual attention paid to them by your brand.

 

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Motivate and Reward Employees With Promotional Awards!

glass awardsWhile salary and benefits certainly are factors in regards to motivation for employee productivity, research has shown that a personal sense of accomplishment and being rewarded for hard work are more powerful motivators when it comes to output in the workplace. In fact, the Wall Street Journal found that 4 out of every 5 employees stated they would switch companies for the same salary if they knew that they would receive praise and recognition for their work in the new company. Thus, companies today are beginning to create corporate awards programs for their companies as they realize the magnitude of the effects recognizing and rewarding employees has on their performance.

Awards can be presented to employees for a range of purposes from simple recognition or appreciation awards, awards for service or anniversaries, incentive or achievement awards, and even awards for the attainment of specific goals like those relating sales. When giving these awards to employees, companies just need to make sure they maintain fairness and consistency regarding the efforts that delineate receiving such honors. Each person who makes the same or similar contributions should have equal opportunity to receive an award for these efforts. Each month at Pinnacle Promotions for example, we give out beautiful glass awards for the “Employee of the Month,” a worker nominated by their peers for the hard work and dedication, as well as a “You’re So Money” Award to the sales employee with the highest gross margin for the month and an “ABC – Always Be Closing” Award to that employee with the highest total monthly sales. (Katie Barnes, this month’s “Employee of the Month”  is pictured with her glass award above!)

Additionally, companies should also consider giving awards that acknowledge certain groups of employees or even the entire company, as it is the dedication of all employees that contributes to a business’ success. At Pinnacle Promotions, in addition to our monthly individual awards, we have a monthly sales contest that sets goals for the company to achieve as a whole. If we meet these particular objectives, we are all awarded with a company-wide prize that ranges from a catered breakfast, to a cash grab bag drawing, to a balloon popping contest like we had last Friday for attaining our September goals! Pinnacle employees gathered to the front of the office and chose a balloon to pop. Inside each balloon was a gift certificate with a variety of offerings. In this way, the company created a fun, motivating event and everyone was a winner!

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Promotional Gifts to Lift Any Grouch’s Spirits

According to Sesame Street, today, October 15, is National Grouch Day.  Obviously in honor of the famed Sesame Street character, Oscar the Grouch, it is said to be a day for grouches everywhere to revel in their way of life, spreading grouchiness and misery far and wide, and only ever shedding happiness upon the misfortune of others.

Oscar the Grouch is a Muppet character that has been a part of the celebrated television series since its very first season, which aired in 1969. He has a green body, no nose, and lives in a garbage can (I can only infer that designing the character without a nose was a strategic move on the part of the creator, enabling him to be well suited for his place of residence). And while he is characterized by his petulant nature, and purports a desire to spread his ill-tempered ways to everyone around him, Oscar is actually used to teach children about respect and tolerance, rather than enforcing his poor behavior. Through Oscar, children are meant to learn that people with different outlooks and lifestyles can not only coexist peacefully, but actually be friends. In fact, Oscar is quite friendly with many other characters on the show, including the trash man Bruno, his girlfriend Grunfgetta, and even Big Bird.

So while this day does provide free reign to express one’s ultimate grouchiness, it also can make one aware of the negative effects grouchiness can produce in the office. Recurrent displays of a poor attitude and “grouchy” behavior can certainly lead to discontent throughout any workplace, as it is easy to spread to others, even resulting in overall reduced productivity and a general feeling of discontent. While the office is one of the easiest places to fall victim to this with the prominence of stress and pressure typically overarching a corporate culture, it is important for companies to examine the presence of such moroseness in their business and take steps to amend it if need be. Offering promotional gifts to show appreciation for employees’ hard work and efforts is one way to do so. A promotional gift can have a greater impact than one realizes and is sure to halt any grouch’s foul mood, and bring a more positive overall aura to the workplace. Even Oscar can exhibit feelings of happiness in regards to his favorite thing – trash. But go ahead and be grouchy for today…

Fun grouch fact of the day: Did you know that during the first season of Sesame Street in 1969 the character Oscar the Grouch was orange? A green Oscar appeared on The Flip Wilson Show in 1970 and explained that he had recently vacationed at “Swamp Mushy Muddy”, where the slime and mold had turned him green overnight. Here he is in his original orange, singing his classic hit, “I Love Trash.”

Jaime
Team Lead – Multimedia

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Promotional Products to Keep Your Kitchen Area Safe

I’m usually pretty handy in the kitchen. As I’ve said before, I love to cook. But this weekend, I made a tiny little mistake that ended with my finger wrapped up in a bandage.

While I was chopping baby carrots for the grilled chicken salad I was making, the tiny carrot unexpectedly decided to roll on me. Unfortunately, this little roll moved my index finger directly into the path of the oncoming knife.

I’m okay. Don’t worry. I quote the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “tis only a flesh wound.” But still, it hurts. Okay. Yes. I’m a baby. My brother, “the cook,” is still teasing me for my patheticness. But my incident drives home why safety and preparedness in the kitchen is so important. Where else do you work with fire, oil, glass, gas and knives (not to mention the countless other chopping, blending, mincing, slicing, and dicing tools) all in one place?

The kitchen really is no joke. You have to take caution when working with dangerous/sharp/flammable materials. Make sure your kitchen (or at least a room nearby) is stocked with a few basic safety essentials. First aid kits are great for minor wounds. Also, make sure you know where your fire extinguisher is located, and be sure to keep up with all related maintenance requirements. It won’t help if it isn’t working.

Happy Cooking!
Kim
Marketing Coordinator

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