Archive for February, 2009

Our Love Affair with the Promotional Product

February 5th, 2009

Premiums, advertising specialties or promotional products – What ever you call them they are an integral part of daily life.

Check your desk, your closet or your morning mug. I bet there is at least one promotional product in the effluvia of your daily life. Have you ever noticed that promotional products have a weird way of becoming some of your favorite items? I never noticed this phenomenon until I started working in the world of premiums. Please note that this is not only personal conjecture – there is statistical data that proves that theory. Millions of us receive, keep and continue to use those cute little advertising specialties.

Steeling Hearts with Promotional Products
Steeling Hearts with Promotional Products

Why do we love them so much?

Is it because they are free? Heck, the beauty industry has made a fortune out of the “gift with purchase” promotional bag, tote or pouch as a way of moving product.

Is it that a useful item at hand is easier than reaching for the phone book? How many countless times have you gotten the number from your penscratch pad or the calendar on the wall.

Is there a coolness factor? Remember as a kid waiting for the next great item in the cereal box? You must remember Mom ordering you to finish a box of something you totally disliked because you made her buy it for the premium it contained. What else can explain the frenzy to stand in line for what may seem like hours for a complimentary gift bag or the anxiety that goes with not knowing if they will run out?

Is fondness triggered by allowing us to relive a moment? One of our Reps cheerfully announced the day after Super Bowl XLIII that he had spotted one of our Cardinals V8 inline bead products in a pre-game interview. This is a very satisfying experience for those of us who make these things. My favorite piece of this year’s Super Bowl’s promotional product memorabilia is the picture of the two lovely Steelers Fans attached. They are decked out in full IMC extreme fan regalia, which we all know has mystical qualities to improve your team’s chance of winning.

Times are tough and uncertainty is high, but some things never change. I will still get that phone number off the wall, drink tea from a logo’d mug and stand in line to get my goodie bag. Promotional products are influencing the way we purchase and winning us over every day.

For research data and statistical information regarding promotional products, link to the following trade organizations:

www.asicentral.com

www.ppai.org

www.sageworld.com

IMC Marketer – Promotional ProductsPromotional Product Consultingwww.imcsuccess.com

Social Media – A Brave New World

February 3rd, 2009

What do you do if you were born before the rise of the information age and have woken up to find yourself amidst a sea of blogs and tweets and acronyms that defy translation? The way we communicate has gone through yet another Kirkegardian leap and requires a bit of a mind shift for those of us used to the “old way” of keeping in touch.

Here is my short “to do” list for the over 40 crowd (or anyone really) trying to keep up with the pace of change.

The Mind Shift

Think of social media as a giant cocktail party in space. When you attend tradeshows, seminars, or simply go to the grocery store you meet and chat with perfect strangers all of the time. It might not be your natural inclination to be chatty but you can do it.

The halcyon days of privacy are virtually over. Get over the fact you do not want anyone to know anything about you. The next generation is an open environment of free association. Yes, you should put a picture of yourself out on LinkedIn or Facebook. I am thinking about using a picture of Tina Louise in the hey-day of Gilligan’s Island so that my former colleagues and classmates cannot determine my official weight gain.

Please note that you will be stalked by people you used to know looking for friends and contacts. You do have some control over who you accept in your personal network. From what I have determined, in my short tenure in space, there are two types of networkers – accept almost no one or accept anyone who asks. I am not sure if this is a “who gets the most wins” scenario or not . . .

Types of Social Media

I recently attended a social networking seminar that made me feel as if I could actually brave the social media world. It was where I finally realized I was not alone. Aside from delivering a great introduction to the medium the speaker boiled things down to six types of social media:

Social Networking – Creates communities and connections (Linked In, Facebook)

Blogs & Microblogs – Content used to drive SEO efforts (You are reading a blog! See it’s not as hard as you thought to participate, Twitter)

Social Broadcasting – Visual medium of interest used to drive SEO and promotion (UTube, Flicker)

Social News – Vote driven, SEO driver (Digg, Topix)

Social Bookmarking – Creates communities of similar interest (StumbleUpon, Delicious)

Social Pages – Create content about anything, keyword driven (Squidoo, Hubpages)

My life is now a much better place being in “the know”. Now, I write a blog, have online identity and visit all sorts of webinars and groups. I challenge you to check out some of the sites listed above. You don’t have to participate initially – but it will give you a good feel for what the experience is like. Be joyful and tweet!

The seminar I attended was called LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter … Now What?

Hosted by Caroline Melberg at Melberg Marketing at www.melberg.com