Archive for the ‘products’ category

Choosing the perfect promotional product: Who is the recipient?

May 29th, 2013

Knowing your audience and what makes them tick is central to choosing a successful promotional solution. Demographics and psycho-graphics are key to choosing a promotional product that will resonate with your target market.

Creating a persona that describes the individual or group you are trying to reach is a great way of tapping into what kind of advertising specialty product will be memorable. Asking yourself a few simple questions can make the difference between a “thanks but its heading to the junk drawer” and a promotional solution that the recipient uses on a regular basis. Some things to consider when choosing a promotional product:

  • Male, female, or unisex? This might seem simple, but if you choose a promotional product like a tee shirt, you might want to consider what size and cut will work best.
  • Age will give you insight on what popular trends or pop culture references your audience will recognize. The coolest promotional product on earth makes no difference if the recipient doesn’t see its relevance. Speak to them in a language they will understand.
  • What do they do? What are their habits, hobbies, and preferences? Knowing what your target market likes to do can point you in a direction you might not have considered before.

Developing personas is a great way of bringing creativity into your promotional product decision making process.

 

 

Leveraging the “TEXT” for Promotional Marketing & Engagement

September 24th, 2012

According to the Gallup Management Journal, brands that deliver functionally and emotionally for customers result in indexed loyalty scores three times higher.

A bold statement for bold marketers. Promotional marketing is all about engagement. It is the technique of triggering an emotional connection between the customer and brand through relevant function.

Texting has evolved into a mainstream behavior. Ease of use combined with instant gratification has made it more popular than ever. Mobile-based promotion has evolved as well. Enter mobile decoder marketing.

Mobile decoder marketing is basically short code on steroids. It delivers on both the functional and emotional levels by combining popular technology, advertising, and the thrill of a “chance to win”.

The other side of engagement for marketers is data capture. Most promotional products have the ability to engage but do not have the capacity to collect feedback from customers, much less measure the level of engagement. Use of modern communications technology can deliver for marketers too. Optional feedback mechanisms along with measurable statistics make mobile decoder marketing a texting win-win for everyone.

Interactive Direct Mail: Tapping our inner human through Decoder Technology

August 20th, 2012

Human beings are social by nature. We crave interaction, looking for ways to stimulate our natural sense of curiosity. We also love being entertained. Advertising has seen a progression from the simple hand-printed sign to interactive advertising using the full power of today’s technology.  

The goal of advertising has always been to alter behavior and to create a forum for interaction with a brand or product. Direct mail has been a stalwart and proven tactic for marketers for decades. With all the emphasis on sexier social outreach, direct mail has been relegated by some as an outmoded technique for promoting products and securing customer engagement.

 Enter Decoder Marketing. It is the use of a proprietary print technology to deliver a hidden message that can be decoded using on-site verifiers. How effective is this at changing consumer behavior? As it turns out…very effective .

IMC recently sent out a campaign to important clients we wanted to connect with at an event. The direct mail piece was imprinted with a hidden message that could be revealed at our booth location. Clients simply had to bring the card with them to the show. The results speak for themselves. Traditional direct mail has an industry standard response rate of around 1%. The addition of Decoder Marketing technology resulted in a response rate of 38%. Yes, you read that correctly – 38%. Results vary but decoder technology response rates hover around 30%.

The moral of this story: Dust off your direct mail program, have faith in human nature, and give yourself a lift.

The Game Changer: Titanium Sports Accessories

June 21st, 2011

Titanium wristbands and necklaces. Ionic sports accessories.
If these terms are new to you, it’s time to get in the game.

From professional basketball courts to Main Street and everywhere in between, titanium and ionic sports accessories are taking the world by storm.

Why the buzz? Titanium sports accessories have been reported to enhance focus and stability and accelerate recovery time. Ionic necklaces and bracelets have become the hot new sports trend, popular with a variey of sports enthusiasts.

With massive consumer appeal and endless customizability, titanium and ionic sports accessories are ripe for the advertising specialties industry.

The best part? Built-in product exposure courtesy of the countless professional athletes who are already sporting these ultra-trendy items.

As a promotional product, this trend extends way beyond sporting events: they’re in demand for company events, reward and recognition programs, corporate gifts and loyalty programs.

Why not get your brand in the game with fully customized ionic sports accessories? It’s a surefire win for your home team.

Baseball inspired promotions and hot product trends

May 4th, 2011

Springtime means the return of the three Gs: Green grass, Grilling, and GAME DAY (baseball, that is).

 Baseball is called America’s national pastime, but that isn’t just PR. With annual major league attendance at nearly 80 million, baseball captures the country’s attention every year from spring training to the World Series.

 Get into the spirit of the game with your promotions – tap into and capitalize on this rampant fandom. Baseball-centric advertising specialties are perfect for spring-themed promotions.

These days, the only items hotter than the swinging bats are “Ionic Sports Necklaces.” Professional ballplayers have been spotted wearing these titanium-infused, must have accessories! Ionic necklacesgenerate negative ions to combat the postive ions created when the body is under stress. They have been reported to help with balance and healing. Ionic sports accessoriesare now available fully customized for your brand. A uniqe promotional item inspired by America’s greatest pastime.

 Looking for more baseball-themed promotional items? Consider any of these fully customizable promotional products:

 And for kid-sized fun off the field, how about Authentic Jersey Backpacks, custom old school lunch boxes or message fans?

 When advertising specialties meet up with the baseball craze, it’s a surefire home run. Play ball!

Where did you get that? Promotional Products for Unique Contest Delivery

April 6th, 2011

Where did you get that?” Those five words are music to the ears of anyone involved with promotional products or advertising specialties. Especially when the response leads interested consumers to YOUR booth or display so they can check out the eye catching promotional item for themselves.

What’s the only thing better than being able to reach consumers? Getting them to come to you. And stick around. And get excited about your brand.

We’ve learned that contests are a great way to attract, delight and engage consumers, but you should never underestimate the power of the delivery mechanism. How you deliver the contest should be as engaging as the contest itself. Why not create buzz and draw them in with a snazzy, attention grabbing promotional product?

The possibilities are endless. Customize a device that’s just right for your contest and your brand. Consider the following options:

Instant Win Contests
Peel & Win, Scratch & Win, or Peel-to-Reveal type contests can be part of direct mail campaigns to drive traffic to a particular location, or used on-site to facilitate prize allocation. The excitement surrounding instant gratification and the ability to create buzz when administered on site, are tried and true, evergreen promotions. 

 

New Technology Contest Delivery
QR Codes are the newest delivery method out there and are changing the way we explore our world. Drive customers to customized contest landing pages via smart phone technology. Customers must have the reader app downloaded on their phone. Codes can be delivered in printed format on paper items, apparel, mugs – virtually on any kind of promotional product.

Contest Delivery via Unique Products
Blinking pins are a great way to draw attention and create excitement around contests. When they blink you either win, or with multi-timer units you go the next stage of the contest. Used to keep people on premise (like in a casino or bar.)

Magic 8 Balls are another unique way of using a retro-toy to deliver your contest results. They also provide the end user with a fun momento of your event.

Edible Contest Items
YUM! Delivery methods like food afford a great way to administer your contest AND provide a sweet treat. Fortune cookies, chocolate bars, or prize inside carmel coated popcorn are fun AND tasty ways to engage your audience!

Excited consumers are valuable assets. When promotional products generate excitement, your consumers just amplify the buzz. They might do this by crowding around to see the results of the contest, or simply by carrying the promotional product around the event.

After all, it’s that kind of visibility that generates that magic question: “Where did you get that?”

Advertising Specialities might be greener than you think

April 1st, 2011

The Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) and annual tradeshow Brew Expo, held in San Francisco this March, saw a significant increase in attendees over last year. A whopping 3900 folks came out to demonstrate their passion for beer and the craft of brewing. Attendance however, was not the only thing we noticed had grown in this segment. 

We noticed a real focus on sustainability across the board. Not surprisingly, brewers with a passion for handcrafting beverages have a high interest in recycled products and sustainable prodution for their promotional needs.

The ability to reuse existing materials or produce in a facility that generates its own solar power is quite a positive. Then I started thinking about products in our industry in general. There is a whole lot of reuse going on out there. Here is a short list of promotional products that you wouldn’t normally think of as “green”.

Mardi Gras Beads
Can be made from reground plastic or corn plastic.

Bags and Totes
Made from recycled bottles (PET), bamboo or post-consumer waste.

Coasters
Can be made from a variety of reclaimed materials including recycled circut boards, vinyl LP’s, street signs, and blue jeans.

Mugs
Made from recycled blue jeans, yellow pages, or old money.

Lapel Pins
Made from post consumer recycled iron.

Combine this with water or solar powered technology and fast-growing renewable resources like bamboo,  and the advertising specialties industry is a bit greener at heart than you might have imagined.

Reusable Bag Alternatives: A Growing Promotional Opportunity

March 23rd, 2011

So goes California, so usually goes the nation.

California has been a leading force in pushing forward environment-based legislation. The most recent  is a ban on plastic shopping bags that will be impacting supermarkets, convenience and liquor stores, and pharmacies by the city of Santa Monica beginning September 1, 2011. Fines for ignoring the new ban – $75 per violation, with criminal prosecution possible for repeat offenders. Ouch!

Why should marketers care? Three communities in California and one in Texas have passed plastic bag bans this year. Nationwide, 19 plastic bag bans have been enacted or approved overall, beginning with San Francisco in 2007.

What about paper? In some places they are still offered for free, with a discount going to those who reuse them. Some stores are now charging for them. As grocery prices soar, one can only think that saavy stores may even consider discontinuing them as well another way of preserving margin and keeping product cost low.

Some statistical tidbits from the 2010 Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, conducted by the Advertising Specialties Institute are as follows:

-  Impression rate leader: Average of 1078 impressions per month
-  Kept for an average of 6.7 months
-  One of the lowest per impression costs at .001 cents per impression

Never has the reusable tote had such opportunity to gain in popularity. With a large live area for messaging, high impression rates, ability to spur favorable attitudes toward advertisers, the bag is a promotional item poised for growth.

IMC Trend Report: From Pop Culture to Promotional Products

February 24th, 2011

You don’t need to be a professional trend spotter to notice when a pop culture phenomenon has taken hold of the public’s attention. Rather than watching the craze from afar, savvy marketers become active participants in these phenomena.

Infusing your logo into a pop culture powerhouse is like an instant facelift for the brand. What brand can’t benefit from a jolt of on-trend freshness?

It’s a marketing no-brainer: When the market experiences a hot new pop culture trend, the public’s demand for the product has already been demonstrated. All a company has to do is introduce a well-conceived promotional product at the right time, through the right avenues and aimed at the right customers.

83% of people in the U.S indicated they can identify the advertiser on a promotional product they own, and 41% say their opinon of an advertiser is more favorable after receiving a promotional product.

Translating popular trends into unique advertising specialties is far from a new idea. Pop culture products have been successfully permeating the promotional marketing space for decades, and the industry’s getting better at it with every new craze.

Here are just a few examples of items with pop culture presence and promotional power:

     1997 – Beanie Babies

    1999Mardi Gras Beads

    2009Molded Silicone Bandz

    2011Ionic Sports Accessories

The best pop culture/promotional product crossovers don’t just grab attention; they make an indelible impression. When it comes to consumer recall rate, research shows that promotional products tower over TV, print and online advertising.

Promotional products generate a 15-50% higher consumer recall rate than TV, print and online advertising.

The key to success lies in recognizing an up-and-coming trend and knowing how to infuse your brand to maximize potential and resonate with the public. Find a skilled partner who has been through the process before and knows how to capitalize on a trend.

Why shouldn’t your brand be part of the next big trend?

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[i] Visnevsky, Jennifer “Promo Products Rule ROI” Advantages February, 2011 [http://advantages-digital.com/publication/?i=58573&p=109]

[ii] PPAI research via http://www.ppai.org/research and http://www.youtube.com/user/PPAIHeadquarters#p/u/29/8yjZF0d1Wny

The High Cost of Low Price Promotional Products

February 8th, 2011

If there’s a more ubiquitous buzzword than branding, we don’t know it. There’s a good reason for this: Customers know you through your promotional products.

Visibility is a key component of a brand. But what about when a brand is being represented on the glasses at a bar in Austin, or the backpacks at a baseball game in Boston? Brand integrity hinges not just on exposure, but also on quality and consistency.

You can’t be everywhere your brand is, nor should you be. What can you do? You can take steps to ensure that your company’s brand integrity is both protected and enhanced by each impression from Boston to Austin — and everywhere in between.

Simply put, best price does not always equate to best choice. Here are some drawbacks of cut-rate deals when it comes to promotional products:

Quality Issues

Poor design. Cheap construction. Ineffective placement. Promotional products with any of those drawbacks have less staying power and therefore are less visible. Instead of a positive impression, you may create a negative impression, and those have notorious staying power.

On the production side, cut-rate equates to materials substitution, assembly shortcuts, and production delays. Profitability is a concern for everyone – including the factories. Increases in materials and labor continue to drive up cost and negatively impact margin. Something has to give in the equation. Quality at some level is sacrificed.

Production Issues

The reality is that manufacturing is based on a repeatable process. Substitution or short-cuts outside of the normal process can create a variety of issues. These include things like skipping quality control steps, use of untried and proven materials or delays and errors in retraining the line.

The road to hell is paved with the best of intentions. This old adage proves itself true when it comes to cutting price to the bone. Attempting to get a “deal” can lead to the worst of outcomes when price is king. Watch your assets. Protect yourself and your brand’s bottom-line. In the end, if your brand is represented on an inferior product, it doesn’t matter if you scored a cheap deal. You will end up holding the bill for damages which is far greater than what you may have saved up front.