Make Marketing Magic with These 4 Fundamentals

Originally published by 4imprint 31 July 2017

How to best market your organization may seem like a mystery. Maybe you’re in charge of a large marketing team. Or maybe you’re the wizard behind the curtain doing it all: making trash disappear, conjuring leads, and casting spells on customers (tasks we non-wizards like to call marketing). Let’s face it, the Wizard of Oz® was just a normal, enterprising guy with access to cool technology. But he knew how to market himself, and knowing those skills is how you make magic.

If the marketing magic depends on you, it’s time to study the book of tricks. In this day and age, not marketing is simply not an option. Without a rabbit or two to pull out of your hat, your organization is likely to vanish into the thin air.

Starting your marketing journey

If you’re thinking, “Advertising, social media and personalized promotional products, oh my!” it’s time to find the wizard within. Put on your ruby slippers, Dorothy, this is your chance to feel at home with marketing. In this Blue Paper, we offer four fundamental ideas—and some promotional products—that will help you unlock your marketing potential.

So, let’s start at the beginning! No, not in Kansas. Let’s start wherever your business is right now. We promise, this Blue Paper will have you easing on down the road to marketing success.

Pinpoint your brand

Remind customers you’re different from the competition. Imprint what sets you apart on the Soft Touch Pique Sport Shirt and gift to your best customers.

Tip 1: ‘Witch’-ever way you go, find your true identity

All marketing wizards in training must first understand the importance of branding. You want your organization to stand out in the crowd and be immediately identifiable. Think of the Wizard of Oz witches. One glance at the green face, black outfit and gravely, nasal voice told you a lot about the character. The same goes for the sparkly, elegant Glinda. The point is, you don’t have to peek behind the curtain to understand them. Their names, actions and color palettes give you a good feel for who they are and what they stand for.

Know what sets your organization apart

Mike McCracken, President of Hawkeye Aircraft Acquisitions, LLC, is like many entrepreneurs: he says he is President, CTO and COO of his aircraft acquisition company and his wife is CFO and janitor. With all the hats he’s wearing, he is also managing the company’s marketing, and he’s doing it well.

“We are a small shop, and we’re competing with people who have been in the business for lots of years and have lots of fancy offices and fancy advertising,” McCracken said. “But there’s something to be said for being small and boutique. You hire me and I’m like an employee on your staff. You’re a customer in one way, but basically we’re partners.”

By celebrating what differentiates their business model from the competition, McCracken has defined his company brand, and leveraged that to attract customers. Their tagline: “See The Difference.”

Like Hawkeye Aircraft, your organization already has a heart. Your company brand is essentially the heart of who you are as an organization. Most importantly, it’s how you want your customers, clients and key stakeholders to perceive you. Many companies rely on experts to help cultivate their brand. But if you are on a limited budget and need to do it in-house, don’t worry: you’ve had the power all along! Head to the brainstorming table and bring along your employees. No one knows your company better than the people who work there!

Reinforce your brand

Define Your Company Brand—Your brand is the essence of who you are.

Define your brand by looking at its very essence and then determining how that should look and feel to your target demographics. Once you’ve pinpointed what’s at your heart, build your brand through consistent use of your organization’s identity, including:

  • your company name
  • your logo, tagline and colors
  • style guidelines
  • your mission, vision and values

Your brand should be reflected in everything you do, including when you shop for custom giveaways for companies. (Examples to come, we promise!)

Tip 2: From munchkins to millionaires: Define your target market.

Define your target market—Determine what they love and need, and give it to them.

Defining your target market goes hand-in-hand with building your brand identity, because you want to make sure the brand speaks to your target market.

To define your market, first think about your product or service, and ask yourself:

  • Who are my current customers?
  • Who do I want my future clients to be?

Then, really drill down to get a clear picture of whom you are trying to reach with your company’s offerings.

Define your target customer

Some companies will develop a fictional persona that exemplifies their target customer. They’ll even name that persona and define the following:

  • Are they male or female?
  • What age group are they in?
  • What is their income level?
  • Where and how do they prefer to receive communications?
  • Where do they spend their time?
  • What motivates them?
  • What are their problems and how can our company address those?

Companies will use this information when it comes times to make decisions. They’ll frame pertinent questions through the filter of their target audience personas, and ask, “What would Patty want?” or “What would John think?”

Think like your target customer

McCracken knows his target market well. They’re high-income business leaders, often company CEOs, who are interested in buying a jet. They are the kind of people who are tough to shop for, because they seem to have everything. That poses a challenge when you want to buy meaningful, useful personalized promotional items for giveaways, but McCracken had an idea. He searched for giveaways that reflect his brand and tagline.

“Everything we’re doing is trying to focus on how we are doing things differently. We view the world differently,” he says.

To help his customers and leads “See The Difference,” he gives them cleaning cloths that can be used on eyeglasses. The Full Color Cleaning Cloth – 5” x 5” hit the right note. McCracken says he was at an event recently where a business associate pulled out the custom cloth and confessed she carries it everywhere.

Choosing the right giveaways is important. To get there, you need to know your audience.

Tip 3: Take it from the wizard: Create a marketing strategy.

Create a Marketing Strategy—Be a marketing wizard.

You know your target audience, and you have an understanding of what your business is at heart. Now it’s time to plan how you will reach your key stakeholders with your message. Obviously, you can’t do it all, so choose carefully based on where your audiences are and how they like to get their news and information.

You may want to develop a marketing strategy for the full calendar year or the fiscal year. Either way, revisit it at least quarterly, to make sure you’re on track and your organization’s goals have not changed. Remember marketing is an investment. You’ll want to determine how you will measure success with each strategy to get a clear picture of your ROI.

Decide how to best reach your target audiences.

For Mike Nitroy, assistant manager of the Millersville University store, the decision was obvious. College students always have their phones with them. So, he did some research and found an app that could be used to launch promotions, answer questions, reward customers and engage students online. “It gets people thinking about shopping here and gets them in here,” he said.

To launch the app and quickly gain attention, the store offered free sunglasses for those who downloaded it. The app allows students to share photos of themselves in-app and on social media. “When people saw the quality and look of the sunglasses, they were quick to jump on and download it.”

The app also allows the store to offer incentives to repeat customers. Every time someone with the app shops at the store, they get a virtual punch. Those with 10 punches get a free prize during finals week, or they get to choose a grab bag. In the wake of their marketing success, Nitroy offers this advice for those looking to up their marketing game.

“Find a way to get your message through to your audience,” he says. “This was a good way for us to do it. It’s really cool because I have a master app where I can go and see analytics.”

In the industry, we call that wizardry ROI.

Listen to your customers and prospects.

Join the online conversation. Social media is where it’s at, and most audiences want to connect with you online. Do some research on which social networks your target audiences tend to use, and then stake your claim. But remember, social media isn’t a one-time project; it’s an ongoing conversation. Be responsive and helpful, engaging and, when appropriate, fun! Just make sure to stay true to your brand. Crossing over into non-brand related topics could alienate the audience you’re hoping to reach.

Say something new and share it widely.

Make wow-worthy content. If you’re in the industry, you’ve no doubt heard the marketing adage, “Content is king.” But if you’re new to marketing, the concept might be a bit of a mystery. Content marketing using blogs, e-newsletters and web articles is a powerful way to leverage SEO purposes or to improve online engagement. Keep your target market personas in mind as you develop content and give them stuff they crave. That’s a winning strategy.

Plan your public relations.

Will you host events? Attend trade shows? Have a booth at the local festival? Speak to local groups? Figure out where your target market will be throughout the year and where the best places will be for you to set up shop. Then determine what marketing materials you will need at those events. Give your brand a professional look with imprinted event banners, tablecloths and embroidered polo shirts for your staff.

Make yourself memorable.

Remember to order creative marketing promotional items and custom giveaways. Giveaways for companies are appreciated and sought after at any event or meeting. Creative and engaging promotional products keep your customers thinking about you long after the event ends.

Tip 4: Release the flying monkeys! Leverage guerilla marketing

Leverage Guerilla Marketing—Flying monkeys optional.

Guerilla marketing could be your ticket to marketing wizardry, particularly if you’re on a tight budget and are open to being creative. What’s guerilla marketing? Simply put, it’s a marketing strategy using unconventional, memorable and low-cost tactics. Creativity can help you rise above your competitors because it makes you memorable. Think about it. Most people vividly recall the movie scene with the flying monkeys because it was so unique and well-presented. Brands can do the same thing, no monkeys required.

Chelsea Baratto, founder, writer, and self-proclaimed “one woman show” for 700smiles, launched a hashtag promotion recently in tandem with her blog, which takes an unflinching look at motherhood. After struggling with infertility, getting pregnant, learning her baby had a cleft lip, and overcoming all of the hurdles of being a new mom, she realized how much moms could use some encouragement.

“No matter which way you get pregnant and go through labor, it’s just really hard. And being a mom in general is really hard,” Baratto says. “And in this age of social media, everyone is just showing their best face and looking like they have everything together. I just feel like we’re kind of in a lose-lose right now because of all the pressure we put on ourselves and society puts on us.”

Inspired by the movie Bad Moms, she decided to start a #goodmom movement. She sought out an affordable way to pay it forward. Her guerilla marketing tactic was born.

“I was just brainstorming how we could set this in motion. And obviously social media is really powerful, but I wanted to think of something more personal. So the best thing that my mom brain could come up with was Post-it® Notes,” Baratto says. The idea was simple: Enlist the public to stick mom-positive messages on cars, in bathrooms, anywhere moms who could use a lift might be. The message: “Hey momma, you’re doing a great job.”

Let customer momentum carry you

The idea quickly became popular and Baratto got the chance to see its impact first-hand with the help of two personalized promotional items. She brought custom Post-it Notes – 3″ x 4″ and logo’d Massager Pens to a recent new mom expo. Mothers clamored for the 500 massage pens, which were gone within the first hour. But the Post-it Notes gave Baratto the chance to talk about the #goodmom movement.

“I explained the Post-it Notes, and people started crying. It was emotional: I was crying, and they were crying. These were strangers that it really struck a chord with.” Baratto said, “I guess I feel like I’m really on to something here.”

Bottom line: Deploy your target audiences to join you in your guerilla marketing efforts.

You’re off to BE the (marketing) wizard with a plan in hand

Being tasked with managing the marketing for an organization is no small endeavor. It’s like magic: Those who do it well make it look so easy. But for those who struggle, it can seem like a trick gone wrong. With the right tools in your marketing toolbox, and the helpful tips in this Blue Paper, you can be a wizard in your own right. With the power of personalized promotional items, you can make them feel right at home with your brand. And there’s no place like home.

SOURCE: Make marketing magic with these 4 fundamentals

Choose the Perfect Promotional Bluetooth® Speakers and Headphones

Originally published by 4imprint 3 July 2017

As video chats replace conference calls, Bluetooth audio is replacing headphone jacks. In fact, more and more cell phone makers are dropping the old 3.5mm plug, creating a spike in wireless adoption. While headphone sales are growing at a rate of 18 percent per year, Bluetooth headphones growth is double that. Promotional Bluetooth speakers and headphones are becoming timely business gifts as customers and employees look for new tech options.

How do you figure out which Bluetooth speakers and headphones are right for your customers and employees? This guide will help you choose wireless audio options they will love.

Finding branded Bluetooth headphones for your promotion.

Bluetooth headphones come in all shapes and sizes, from moisture-resistant sport earbuds to over-the-ear cans. Many Bluetooth headphones have built-in microphones so they can answer phone calls or use personal digital assistants. Some also have volume and playback controls on the headphones so they can pause and play music and podcasts without having to pull out a phone. And they all have built-in rechargeable batteries. To find the right branded Bluetooth headphones for your promotion, first you need to understand your audience.

Nab these on-ear and over-ear headphones.

If your employees or customers prioritize sound quality or they love the look of classic headphones, consider on-ear or over-ear headphones. Perfect for the workplace or a home office, these custom Bluetooth headphones tend to be bulkier than earbuds, but deliver rich, full sound. Some styles fold for easier portability.

For the constant traveller, pick up Wireless Bluetooth Headphones. The comfort fit headband is a feature they won’t want to live without. Plus, a full charge provides up to 10 hours of music or 11 hours of talk time.

For dependability with a modern look, the folding Adina Wireless Headphones look sweet walking down the street. Switch between talking and tunes without ever touching your smartphone.

Audiophiles will love the Jam Transit Wireless Headphones. On-headphone controls allow users to adjust volume and pause, play or skip tracks with ease. The integrated speakerphone makes answering calls from a smartphone effortless.

Select the perfect earbuds.

If your customers or employees prefer something smaller, go for custom Bluetooth earbuds.

Start with Brax Bluetooth Ear Buds. These lightweight earbuds feature built-in music controls and a mic that enables users to switch between playing tunes and taking calls.

If your customers or team members are into fitness, choose earbuds with hooks, such as the Sporty Bluetooth Ear Buds. These rechargeable earbuds stay comfortably attached when working out or walking.

There are no wires to get in the way with the Tonic True Wireless Ear Buds. These buds can be used up to 33 feet away from your device, and when fully charged, they offer 90 minutes of rockin’ playback at full volume.

Choose the right promotional Bluetooth speakers.

Sharing sound with others, without the need for a cord, is what makes Bluetooth speakers the perfect business promo.

In the office or working from home, the Bluetooth Speaker Media Stand provides impressive sound and up to six hours of play. Bonus—this powerful promo doubles as a stand for a tablet or smartphone.

If your team or customers are on the go, choose a Bluetooth speaker to match. Clip the ultra-portable Response Wireless Carabiner Speaker to bring audio to any location.

For something fun when work is done, employees and customers will appreciate the Disco Wireless Speaker. It has groovy multicolour lights and includes a built-in FM radio.

Make your choice.

No matter what Bluetooth gifts you’re looking for, from branded Bluetooth headphones and custom Bluetooth earbuds to promotional Bluetooth speakers, the options are endless. Knowing your audience and what will appeal to them most will help you make a “sound” choice.

2017’s Hottest Trends in Promotional Apparel

Originally posted by 4imprint 1 May 2016

Clothing trends come and go. The same holds true for promotional apparel: What’s hot today may be replaced by something more colourful, stylish or full-featured tomorrow. What promotional wear is on-trend this year? We’ll show you the latest styles, so you can put them to work in your organization.

Rock a retro look for 2017 promotional apparel

Just like the remakes hitting movie theatres and playlists. The biggest splash in promotional wear is a retro-inspired. The 2017 versions of retro-inspired headwear and shirts give a nod to yesteryear but add a stylish modern twist.

The “dad” hat

Tops among retro-inspired looks is the “dad hat.” While previously associated with unhip fathers everywhere, this look is making a comeback among the cool kids!

To pair this look with your brand, try the Prestige Two-Tone Cap. The two-tone colour scheme gives a retro vibe while organic cotton material and a unique flip buckle give it contemporary class.

Want to kick your promo up a bit? Grab the New Era® Stretch Mesh Contrast Stitch Cap. It features Spacer Mesh panels for extra ventilation and a stretch fit for perfect sizing.

The ringer tee

If you want a retro-inspired look, but prefer promotional shirts, try the ringer tee. Once reserved for baseball and softball, these shirts are now popping up at community events, trade shows and team-building outings.

To connect this look with your organization, check out the Canvas 3/4 Sleeve Triblend Baseball Tees. Though it looks vintage, its sizing and styling are completely modern.

Likewise, the Euro Spun Cotton Baseball Tee provides the perfect canvas for your brand. This shirt is made of 100% combed and ring-spun cotton, making it both super-soft and super-comfortable.

Go high-tech for 2017 promotional apparel

If the retro-inspired look doesn’t suit your brand, take a high-tech approach to promotional apparel. Technical fabrics add a contemporary twist to traditional promotional apparel, offering benefits from stain-repelling treatments to performance-enhancing styles.

Repel stains with high-tech promotional apparel

Nothing spoils a workday faster than a spill, especially when your team members are meeting with customers, exhibiting at a tradeshow or speaking to a service club or community group. That’s what makes the stain-repelling Foundation Teflon® Treated Cotton Shirt so popular.

Add moisture-wicking features in your branded shirts

When your team is required to do some heavy lifting as part of their day-to-day roles, the stay-cool powers of moisture-wicking fabrics are ultra-appealing. In these cases, choose moisture-wicking custom logo apparel such as the Concourse Performance Roll Sleeve Shirt.

Choose sun-protecting fabrics to help employees stay safe in the sun

For employees who spend their days in the rays, turn to the Columbia Stain Release UPF 50 Performance Shirt. Not only does this fishing-style shirt repel stains and wick moisture away, the high-performance fabric also repels water and has sun protection built in.

Modern promotional apparel gives your brand a boost

When you want to be sure your brand has an au courant look, pay attention to the promotional hats and branded shirts you choose. These are two of the five most impression-generating promotional products. When you choose a modern style for these, you help create an ‘of-the-minute’ impression that customers will see again and again.

Like what you see?! IAEE Members – receive a 10% discount PLUS 24 hour shipping here.

Source: 2017’s Hottest Trends in Promotional Apparel

Sustain Your Brand with Eco-friendly Promotional Products

Going green can help you make green. Surveys show 65 percent of people consider themselves at least somewhat environmentally conscious, and 64 percent say they are more likely to purchase from companies that make products that are recyclable or are made from recycled materials.Using eco-friendly giveaways can have a positive impact on your organization. In fact, 42 percent of people say receiving a green promotional product gives them a more favorable view of the advertiser. If you’re ready to highlight the green in your brand, use (and reuse) these ideas!

Find the “write” environmentally conscious business gifts.

Paper is the most commonly recycled product, making up about half of the recycled material in the U.S. each year. Notebooks and journals are a good place to find recycled paper and paperboard.


The Eco Design Recycled Color Spine Spiral Notebook is an easy way to highlight your commitment to the environment. The covers and pages are made from 100 percent recycled material.

Or, take your brand’s sustainability pledge a bit further with the Dew Drops Recycled Jr. Notebook & Pen. The covers and pages contain recycled material, and so does the matching pen!

You’ll also find recycled paper in the Vicenza Bound Journal Book, plus a cover made of 100 percent recycled cardboard and leather. Yes, recycled leather!

Beverages are better with reusable drinkware.

A Freedonia Group report finds U.S. demand for post-consumer, recycled-plastic grew by 6.5 percent in 2016. Eco-friendly promotional bottles and tumblers are among the growing number of recycled plastic products gaining popularity.

For example, the Insulated Auto Mug contains 30 percent recycled materials, giving your customers a way to take hot beverages on the go while helping the Earth.

The Bike Bottle helps them stay hydrated, and it is environmentally friendly. The BPA-free bottle is made with 95 percent recycled content and it’s recyclable.

Recycled bags are green to go.


Eco-friendly promotional products are getting creative, thanks to new designs and technology. The modern (and durable) Alchemy Goods Haversack Messenger is a perfect example. It’s made of 73 percent upcycled materials. The bag is constructed using inner tubes and the shoulder strap is made from automobile seatbelts.

The Tempo Sling Bag is another example. This high-style giveaway is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled PET plastic.

The Recycled Cotton Messenger bag gives a new look to the traditional cotton tote and is made from 85 percent recycled cotton.

Apparel can be sustainable, too

Because customers view eco-friendly promotional products so favorably, the range of products available is expanding. In addition to water bottles, travel tumblers and reusable totes, eco-friendly promotional clothing is becoming more common.

Outfit your team in the Charge Recycled Polyester Performance Shirt. This comfortable, business-appropriate shirt has moisture-wicking properties and is made of a combination of recycled polyester and mechanical stretch polyester. It’s available in both men’s and ladies’ styles.

Or, give clients an eco-friendly logo’d shirt like the Recycled Polyester Performance Pique Polo. Available in a variety of colors, this polo features UV-protection and moisture-wicking comfort. Best of all, it’s made from recycled polyester and polyester pique.

Choose eco-friendly promotional products for a sustainable advantage.

No matter which eco-friendly promotional products you choose, your customers will appreciate your thoughtfulness and know you’re doing your part to help the environment.

Get in on the Secret to Great Parade Giveaways

Originally posted by 4impint 3 April 2017

It wouldn’t be a parade without the big-brass bands, unicyclists, local dignitaries shaking hands and parade giveaways.

Nonprofits and entrepreneurs are spreading the word about their products, services and organizations with more than the customary candy toss. Distributing promotional parade favors is a terrific way to share your information with the awaiting crowd. If you’re looking for inspiration, set yourself apart from other parade entries with these show-stopping ideas.

Parade giveaway ideas for themed parades

Have you ever attended a Fourth of July parade? One for St. Patrick’s Day? Or for a school’s homecoming?

Everyone’s Irish at a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Give attendees a long-lasting memory of the event with a Shamrock Soft Key Tag. Parade goers venturing out in the evening might appreciate the added visibility of attaching a Flashing Shamrock Pin to their jacket.

Themed parades are a great opportunity for you to get in touch with the crowds. For added memorability, pick favors that keep with the theme. When accompanying your float through an Independence Day parade, stick with the red, white and blue décor, and hand out Patriotic Beach Balls and Stars and Stripes Lip Balm for surefire summer fun in the sun.

Get in on the homecoming parade’s fall fun with football-themed parade handouts, such as Foam Cheer Noodles or Rally Pom-Poms. Or add to the thundering crowd noise with a Football Clapper.

Other clever giveaways for parades

You don’t always have to tie into the parade theme to get your brand noticed. Choose unique parade giveaways that reflect your organization and (literally) put them in the hands of your prospects.

Hand out promotional products that link back to the services your business or organization offers. For example, if you’re a dentist or orthodontist, putting your brand on a mouth-shaped Mighty Clip is a handy way to be remembered by the crowd (especially when it’s clipped to their refrigerator or favorite bag of chips). A travel agency could give out Balsa Gliders, or a beauty salon could share Nail File Key Tags for convenient, portable fingernail fixes.

Parade spectators always need something to hold their candy and swag. A basic tote bag with your high-visibility logo on the front is a perfect parade favor. With bags generating more impressions in the U.S. than any other promo item, your logo will get lots of exposure.

Other great parade giveaways tie in to current weather conditions. Walk along a summer parade route with a cooler full of logo’d Bottled Water to help keep people cool and hydrated. Attendees will appreciate Foam Sun Visors to shade their eyes and Paper Fans to generate a breeze. If the forecast calls for rain, you can be the hero when you hand out branded Pronto Ponchos.

To really distinguish yourself from the competition, selectively hand out the ever-popular KOOZIE® 6-Pack Cooler. This portable insulated bag is just the right thing for your newly minted brand champions to tote around all summer long.

Keep your parade giveaways relevant and useful

Keep this in mind: When people are deciding whether or not to keep a promotional product, the item’s usefulness outweighs attractiveness by at least five to one. Why does this matter? Your brand won’t be remembered long if your giveaway ends up in the morning trash. Keep your name around by opting for giveaways that blend uniqueness and usability.

Have fun at your next parade!

SOURCE: Get in on the Secret to Great Parade Giveaways

Introducing 2017’s Best Giveaways for Trade Shows – Canada

Originally posted by 4imprint

Top trade show promotional products.

Planning a booth (or two or more) at a trade show this year? Not sure what trade show giveaways will get and keep your customers talking for days and months after the show? With thousands of branded items available, it can be hard to figure out what the best giveaways for trade shows are. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the latest promotional product trends so you can make sure your name stands out in a vast sea of competition.

We’ve pulled together some unique promotional products trends. Use these to separate your trade show booth from everyone else.

Technology drives the biggest promotional products trends.

Promotional power banks.

When you look at technology, everything is about going mobile and going wireless. And with 73 percent of people owning a smartphone and 49 percent owning a tablet, it’s clear that mobile devices aren’t going away any time soon. On the contrary, they’re going everywhere!

One of the big trends at trade shows is charging stations for mobile devices, including phones and tablets. Even more convenient: Taking portable power with you in your pocket. Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI)® says that 60 percent of consumers would be more likely to do business with a company that gave them a portable power bank, and 87 percent would keep one because it’s useful. An ultra-portable option is the Fusion Power Bank, or for more power to go, give a Marco Power Bank to customers and clients.

The 2017 PPAI® Expo featured adhesive cell phone wallets that attach to smartphones, giving users a place to store important cards without having to carry a bulky wallet in their pocket or purse. Two of the best giveaways for trade shows that will “stick around” are the Silicone Smartphone Wallet and the Samara Smartphone Wallet Stand with Stylus, both of which keep your brand in mind every time a customer reaches for his or her phone.

Another popular item category is wearables, including fitness trackers and smartwatches. About 10 percent of people use a wearable device, according to Catalyst® Canada. But wearable adoption is growing rapidly, with ownership doubling in the past year. To help remind your customers to get moving and to remember you, hand them a Pedometer Watch.

Some of the best giveaways for trade shows go green and natural.

Environmentally friendly promotional products.

Logo’d soft-sided coolers are also a popular trade show promotional item, especially if it’s eco-friendly like the Therm-O-Tote Insulated Grocery Bag, which is made from 100 percent recycled materials. Or, prevent plastic water bottles from filling up the trash with reusable metal water bottles. The Carabiner Stainless Steel Water Bottle not only can be carried by hand, but also by the trendy carabiner and strap.

Choosing the Best Trade Show Giveaways

People keep promotional items because they’re useful.

It’s important to note that the most effective trade show giveaways are items that provide high-quality, long-term value to the customer and work with the rest of your marketing plan to deliver a cohesive strategy. ASI states that 82 percent of people keep promotional items because they’re useful. With a little creativity and thoughtfulness about your audience, you can find ones that are unique and cut through the clutter. No matter which of the year’s best trade show giveaways you choose, you’re sure to get noticed in 2017.

SOURCE: Introducing 2017’s Best Giveaways for Trade Shows – Canada

8 Answers to the Question ‘Why Use Promotional Products?’

Originally posted by 4imprint

Whether used for branding, lead generation, gifts or fundraising, promotional products get the job done. The vast majority (87 percent) of recipients remember the business their promotional item came from. And, each and every time they use that item, they are reminded of the same business. Here are eight more reasons to use promotional products.

Lasting impressions start with promotional products.

Promotional products leave a lasting impression.Recipients of promotional products from a business have a more positive perception of that business, are more likely to recommend it and are more likely to buy from it.

Promotional products live on and on.

Promotional products live on and on.Sixty-three percent of U.S. consumers give promotional products to someone else when they’re through with them. Seventeen percent save their promotional items. Only 20 percent throw them away.

Promotional products are a form of advertising people love.

Promotional products at the top-rated form of advertising.Promotional products are the most-liked type of advertising. Newspapers, radio, magazines, television, internet and mobile fill slots two through seven, respectively.

Expect positive word association with promotional products.

Promotional products make people happy.When consumers were asked how they feel about organizations that gave them promotional gifts, they most often said: “happy,” “generous,” “awesome,” “grateful,” “great” and “good.”

Usefulness matters when it comes to promotional products.

Usefulness is the No.1 reason people keep promotional products.The No. 1 reason people keep promotional products is because they’re useful. Computer products, health and safety products, and promotional pens, pencils and highlighters are the highest rated for usefulness.

Promotional products take you closer.

One in three carry promotional products with them.Of people who received a promotional gift in the past 12 months, about a third of them carried the product with them. Talk about getting up close and personal with a brand!

Promotional products help you stay in touch.

Promotional products help you stay in touch.Buttons, badges, ribbons, stickers and magnets are most often kept for contact information. Electronics, electronic accessories and computer products also are retained for contact info. Only 35 percent of advertisers use promotional products to share contact information. What an opportunity!

Promotional products are used regularly.

Promotional products get regular use.Almost three-quarters of people who receive promotional products say they use them at least once a week. And, about 45 percent use the product daily. In the end, your brand has numerous opportunities to appear on well-loved and often-used promotional items. With so many choices, you’ll gain business and fans!

Promotional products can be a great way to leave a lasting impression. Give them a try for your business!

SOURCE: 8 Answers to the Question ‘Why Use Promotional Products?’

Your Guide to 2017’s Top Executive Promotional Products

Originally posted by 4imprint

Executive promotional products are a great way to not only look good to execs, but to make them look good as well. To get an idea what corporate giveaways will really win them over this year, keep reading.

For high-tech executive gifts, you can’t miss with Bluetooth® audio.

Wireless audio is a great giveaway for tech-savvy execs. In the first half of 2016, Bluetooth headphones drove more dollars than wired headphones, making it clear that people are taking their music everywhere they go and leaving the wires behind. With many top-end smartphones dropping their corded connections, the perfect personalized executive gift is a set of Mojave Wooden Bluetooth Headphones. They’re just the thing for catching productivity podcasts on the go. Or pump the tunes on the pint-sized yet powerful Addi Bluetooth Speaker.

Travel gear is an always-welcome corporate giveaway.

Outfit executives so they can travel in style.
With an estimated 457 million domestic business trips taken in 2016, busy executives are constantly on the go. Many executive promotional products are designed to make their lives just a little more comfortable. A Kinney Packable Jacket resists wind, rain and cold, yet rolls up into a convenient, compact size, just right for stashing in a travel bag. Speaking of bags, give a personalized executive gift that doubles as an office on the go–a fashion-forward Kenneth Cole Colombian Leather Dowel Laptop Bag or Isaac Mizrahi Sloan Laptop Tote.

Keep executives moving with terrific tech toys.

Portable tech is perfect for executives always on the go.
According to Pew Research, 68 percent of Americans own a smartphone. If the executive you know is always running out of cell phone power, give him or her a sleek yet powerful Dual Power Bank. It carries enough power to charge most cell phones—twice! Or if someone is counting not only calories but also their daily exercise, a Smart Wear Bluetooth Tracker Pedometer may be just what the doctor ordered.

Use personalized executive gifts to be remembered in the office.

Useful, professional items often find a home on an executive’s desk.
Because the average worker spends 35 percent of his or her time behind a desk, keep your name within clear sight every day with executive promotional products just for the office. An Executive Desk Pad exudes a first-class business vibe. To keep an exec’s favorite tech tool nearby—a cell phone—make it stand tall with the Brando Clock Desk Organizer. Or for a sleek and stylish way to get your name in front of everyone, hand your favorite executive a Prestigious Business Card Holder.

Some of the top executive gifts deliver a welcome break from work.

Executive gifts like games can create precious time with family.
Everyone needs to take their mind off their job sometimes, and busy executives are no exception. This is especially important when it comes to people with families. The Pew Research Center® says 39 percent of working moms and 50 percent of working dads say they don’t spend enough time with their kids. So, grab the 7-in-1 Traditional Game Set and have a family fun night. Or, for some fast-paced sports action, get your competitive juices flowing with an Air Hockey Desktop Game.

If you need to connect with those in leadership roles, executive promotional products can be a great way to leave a great impression that lasts long after the handshake.

 

SOURCE: Your Guide to 2017’s Top Executive Promotional Products

Platform Overload—Choosing the Right Social Media Sites for Business

Originally posted by 4imprint

Choosing the Right Social Media Sites for Business

First came the inaugural class of social media platforms: Facebook®, Twitter® and LinkedIn®. Then came the second wave: Instagram®, Snapchat® and Google+®. Now, there’s an entirely new team of social media players with an ever-evolving list of ways for people to connect, share and promote what matters most to them. From a user perspective, it’s a veritable buffet of delicious options. Choosing is as simple as finding where your friends or professional contacts are or selecting the venues that interest you most.

From a company perspective, it’s much more complicated. How do you choose the right social media sites for business? Bottom line: if you’re overwhelmed and don’t know which platforms to choose, we can help.

The importance of social media for companies

The truth is, social media for companies isn’t negotiable anymore—it’s almost an expectation and an issue of legitimacy and sustainability. Businesses that don’t have a social media presence are missing opportunities to engage key stakeholders, customers and employees, and are ignoring a potentially powerful pipeline for sales conversions and future success.

But where do you start? And more importantly, where do you draw the line?

Whether you work at a large company, or are seeking social media for small businesses, consider your budget. Resources often require businesses to focus their social media efforts. After all, the only thing worse than having no presence is having poorly-managed social media profiles. The implications can be widespread and potentially damaging to an organization’s reputation.

Managing social media for companies effectively depends on focused efforts on strategically chosen platforms. Don’t worry, we’ve simplified the legwork for you. Read on for your five-step guide to finding the right social media site(s) for you.

Step 1: Determine which social media sites your target market uses most

You already know who you want to reach, right? (If not, it’s time to define your target markets and/or develop your customer personas.) The first step is to figure out where your target audience is spending time on social media—and where they are active. In “Which Social Media Accounts Really Matter and Why” marketing expert Neil Patel explains that it’s important to look past big user numbers on social media platforms. “For example, there are over 1 billion Google®users, but only 35 percent of those users were active in the past month. Twitter, too, has a lot of members with [a] relatively low number of active members … A social media user needs to be active on a social media site in order for them to be of any use to you.”

That’s a key consideration when developing your social media business strategy. You can determine which social media platforms your target market is actively using in a number of ways.

Ask them.

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? You can survey your existing customers, clients and contacts by using one of the online free survey sites, or by polling them via your email list. Or, you can simply ask them when they enter your brick-and-mortar business or at checkout online.

Look at the research.

Social media demographics are widely available online, and the data is robust. You’ll want to know the demographics for your current clients and the target markets you wish to reach. Information like age, gender, income and education can be helpful in your decision-making process.

In “Social Media Demographics to Inform a Better Segmentation Strategy,” Michael Patterson says in-depth information is available about market demographics for many of the popular sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest® and Snapchat. Use that data to determine where the majority of users live, their income levels, their gender and much more. From there, you will be able to glean insight into which platforms your target markets are most likely using, and which social media sites for business are right for you.

This offers you a strong starting position, according to Dominique Jackson in “How to Find the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business.”

“For instance, if you’re primarily targeting women over 50 years old, Instagram probably isn’t the best option. You’re better off with Facebook or Pinterest,” Jackson says.

This is just the beginning of your process, but it’s a vital step. Patterson points out that the strategy you develop based on this data shouldn’t be written in stone. Rather, consider it an organic, ever-changing plan. “Smart marketers constantly tinker with their segmentation strategy, working tediously to ensure that the right message is reaching the right people at the right time,” he explains. “With the rise of so many platforms across the vast social media landscape, this has never been more important—or more challenging.”

Find where your content, or similar content, is already being shared.

Even if you aren’t on social media, chances are your name is there. Consider logging on to various sites and searching for your company name, related product lines, competitor accounts or areas of interest among your target audiences. Look for places where that conversation is happening: your target audience has a presence there that you can work with. As a bonus, you may also learn what your audience thinks of your business, what they wish you would consider tweaking, what they love about your products and services, and even how your staff is performing from a customer service standpoint. Jackpot!

But having the demographic data isn’t enough, Jackson says. “In addition to these statistics, you should also do a manual review of the social networks where you’re interested. Look at the content being published, and who are the actual content creators. If content related to your industry seems to resonate well, it’s a good sign.”

Lastly, consider which social media sites are already driving traffic to your business. You can do this with the help of Google Analytics. Jackson suggests checking out the data under Acquisition. Then choose Social and Network Referrals.

Step 2: Define your social media for business capabilities within the resources you have available

You know it. We know it. Everyone knows it. Resources—both time and money—are limited. Obviously, managing both wisely is important, especially when considering your social media strategy. So the question is: what is your team capable of doing within budget and scheduling limitations?

It goes without saying—poorly-used resources could result in a very low return on your efforts. Spread your time and staff too thin and your audience engagement could suffer. A single person with an existing full-time load of responsibilities likely won’t be as responsive as your social media audience would like. And at its core, that’s the point of social media: it’s a conversation, and it’s about building relationships. If it’s a one-sided conversation and customers can’t reach you, you may send the message that your business is not interested in providing excellent customer service. Customers have become accustomed to nearly immediate responses and online customer support with a real person on-demand.

In “6 Social Media Trends That Will Take Over 2016” Jennifer Beese said, “Social media thrives on real-time engagement, but each year the window for response becomes smaller and smaller.” According to Search Engine Watch, 70 percent of Twitter users expect a response and 53 percent want a response in less than an hour. That jumps to 72 percent when they have a complaint.

Allocating the right resources to the right platforms is essential. No one wants to wake up to negative reviews of their company. Make sure you have enough staff to stay on top of issues and address concerns. In 2014, consumers took to social media to complain about brands 879 million times, according to www.sproutsocial.com. Worse, the majority of those messages went unanswered, even after three days. The good news is that there are tools out there that can help. Automation and social listening tools can help you streamline your efforts and provide useful data to hone your strategy. Overall, they can help make the most of the time and money you devote to social media.

The bottom line: by strategically choosing your platforms and taking time to calculate what you can realistically do with your resources, you can maximize your return on investment (ROI) and delight your customers when they engage with you on social media.

Step 3: Decide what kind of content you will share

So far, you’ve considered how much of your staff and financial resources you can dedicate to your social media strategy. But don’t stop there. It’s vital to consider your strengths. Each social media platform has a unique set of capabilities, and some will be more applicable to your business than others. For example, if you run a professional photography school or an art studio, photo sharing sites like Instagram would provide a great platform to showcase the visual aspects of your business. If you provide drone videography services, you may find sites like YouTube® work better. Look at each channel and consider how they will work with your business. 

In “How to Choose the Best Social Media Platform for Your Business,” author and online marketing expert Scott Levy suggests, “When it comes to choosing which social media platforms you’ll utilize, select those that offer the best potential for reaching your ideal audience and broadcast the type of media you’ve decided is best suited for your company.” When it comes to selecting social media sites for businesses that are large, or social media for small business, most companies don’t have the resources to be successful on every platform. So, instead of having lackluster representation in a lot of places, be amazing on a few of them.

Here are some popular platforms and the type of content they work best with, according to Levy. 

Pinterest

This online bulletin board is great for content sharing because it allows users to save items for future reference—pinning—and share them. Pins are image-driven, so strong visuals are important. Users can comment on pins, and click on pins to access external webpages. Says Levy, “If you focus on wedding planning, travel destinations, interior decorating, fashion or foods, you can say a great deal about your products and services through your stunning photos or videos.” 

LinkedIn

According to Levy, LinkedIn is great for connecting people, engaging in group discussions about specific interests and showcasing your expertise. LinkedIn is also a popular publishing platform. It is a great option to get exposure for your original content, and to position yourself as an expert in your industry. 

YouTube

YouTube is a great sharing site for videos. The key, says Levy, is to make your video engaging, as no one will watch a boring video. But that doesn’t necessarily call for high-end production. What makes a video good? Levy explains, “It’s a good idea to watch a number of YouTube videos and see which ones generated hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of hits. Videos that show people how to do something, demonstrate your product or service, or introduce a new or unusual (visual) product can help you benefit from YouTube.” 

Twitter

This platform provides a continuous real-time conversation in short, text message-like posts. It’s ideal for companies that want real-time engagement with their audience and are willing to put in the effort to maintain it. “If you have breaking news, updates, questions for your followers, or if you want opinions now or even need to announce a recall, Twitter is the way to reach out to people,” Levy said.

Facebook

Facebook has extensive reach and power. Its worldwide user-base is enormous. While there is some sense of immediacy, Facebook doesn’t have the same rapid-fire vibe that Twitter does. It’s more about building a relationship with the audience. “Almost any business can benefit from having a Facebook page,” says Levy. “But Facebook isn’t about selling. Your goal in using Facebook for business is to let customers get to know the people behind the logo … If done correctly, your fans become loyal followers and Facebook can be a very significant lead generator.”

As you can see, the type of content you want to share has a big role in choosing the right social media platforms.

Step 4: Consider large, medium, small and niche platforms

The temptation for many businesses is to focus on the largest social media platforms, like these:

Big Social Networks’ Monthly Active UsersFigure 1: Big social networks’ monthly active users

Depending on the size and scope of your business, going for the most popular platforms could be a valid choice. But social media is about more than the number of users. It’s important to remember that the bigger the site, the more competition you face. A social media campaign that could easily get lost on a popular site could gain real traction on a niche site. So when you’re considering platforms, dig deep. It may require a little legwork, but you could see a huge payoff in market saturation. Here’s how to go about it according to Patel.

  • Consider joining what Patel calls the big four: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Patel says Google+ is a social media game changer. “When you combine Google authorship with the world’s dominant search engine, and create a social media platform that integrates them, it’s no wonder that Google+ is turning up as a dominant form of online social interaction.”
  • Consider what Patel calls the lesser three: Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. You may also want to consider location-based sites, such as Foursquare® and Yelp®, particularly if you have a brick-and-mortar presence.
  • Consider even smaller sites. Patel clarifies that these sites are still massive, but they appeal to people who have shared interests. These sites include Tumblr®, StumbleUpon® and Reddit®.
  • Lastly, explore niche sites. A social network that is specifically created for your target market may provide more return on your investment of time and energy. How do you find the right niche social site? Patel recommends simply putting your keywords, along with the words “social network,” in a search engine to see what’s out there. Niche sites won’t have the big user numbers that Facebook has, but you’ll get a more accurate sample of your target market when you find the right group.

Step 5: Research future social media platform capabilities and rise to meet them

Remember how we said your social media strategy shouldn’t be set in stone? In “The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends Dominating 2016,” author Jason DeMers says it’s helpful to look at the trends that are taking center stage in social media right now. This information allows you to tweak or even overhaul your social media strategy to capitalize on current conditions. Here’s what’s trending:

  1. Hyper-relevant content rules. Users are beginning to prefer in-the-moment content, and most platforms sort posts by relevance. That means better posts get better play.
  2. Live streaming is gaining momentum. Video has been increasingly popular on social media, but these days, users want more. With the advent of Facebook Live, chances are, demand for live-streaming content will only increase.
  3. Social interaction is changing. New types of interaction are emerging, including one-sided conversations on Snapchat and applications like Messenger for Business on Facebook, aimed at customer service. The range of options is constantly growing and new capabilities are emerging. Staying on top of this can put your business on the cusp of the next big thing.
  4. A more personalized experience. As we mentioned, users want content that is relevant. Social media platforms have heard the demands for customization, and they’re doing their best to meet those demands.
  5. Social media apps are trying to keep people in-app for as long as possible by offering greater functionality. Experts say this trend will increase as it relates directly to app revenue. “Some of these functions include in-app search functions, embedded content, and in Facebook’s case, even a personal digital assistant,” DeMers says. Savvy marketers don’t have to adopt all of them, he says, but will want to recognize that broader app functionality is a trend that will likely shape the future of social media marketing.

So, there you have it: five steps to finding the right social media sites for business. Once selected, you’re well on your way to discovering success in user engagement, sales conversions and brand loyalty. Remember, you don’t have to do all platforms well; the key is to select the platforms that work best for your business. Focus on communicating effectively. In time, armed with a thoughtfully-developed strategy, your business can experience measurable ROI, improved customer relationships, and business growth through the power of social media.

SOURCE: Platform Overload—Choosing the Right Social Media Sites for Business

Desktop Promotional Products with Style

Originally posted by 4imprint

If you are looking for promotional products that customers can’t wait to get their hands on, take a look at these calendars, sticky notes and notebooks.Perpetual Block CalendarIf you plan to give your customers a calendar as a year-end gift, the Perpetual Block Calendar is a fresh alternative. Bold colors will draw attention to your brand.Perpetual Block Calendar l 123645 l Promotional Products from 4imprintThe playful design features the month at the base, while the cubes can be turned daily to display the date. The calendar is easy to assemble and perfect for a small space on a desk or shelf. And, its perpetual design means this promotional product can adorn a recipient’s desk year after year.

BicTM Sticky Spring Note

To combine a bit of fun with a traditional office product, try one of our new paper products, the Bic™ Sticky Spring Note. As its name implies, these notepads spring open like an accordion!

Bic Sticky Spring Note flat l 131869 l Promotional Products from 4imprintBic Sticky Spring Note l 131869 l Promotional Products from 4imprintThe die-cut comes in three other options—a star, heart and house

Coaster Desktop Calendar

Just like its name suggests, the Coaster Desktop Calendar does double-duty. Monthly calendars double as coasters while the coaster-holder stores pens and pencils.

 

Coaster Desktop Calendar l 123648 l Promotional Products from 4imprint

The calendars come in a variety of styles so you can personalize the gift according to recipients’ tastes. Choose from Tapestry (shown above), Craftsman, Watercolor and Craft Brew.

Sorbet Pocket Notebook with Curvy Stylus Pen

For a notebook customers will reach for again and again, try the Sorbet Pocket Notebook with Curvy Stylus Pen. Available in a range of bright colors, this 4imprint exclusive includes a customer-favorite, the Curvy Stylus Pen.

Sorbet Pocket Notebook with Curvy Stylus Pen l 125649 l Promotional Products from 4imprint

A cover pocket – inside and outside – makes it easy for the on-the-go user to stash must-have documents.

Vintage Calendar Cards

These vintage Calendar Cards will add a work of art to an office desk every month.

Calendar Cards Vintage l 129055 l Promotional Products from 4imprint

A small easel keeps the calendar propped up to bring style and fun to any workspace. The cards come with a decorative band for easy storage. (But, who would want to keep these beautiful vintage graphics hidden?)

As these promotional products show, bright colors and fresh looks can help you turn a useful promotional product into an unforgettable giveaway customers will reach for throughout the day.

SOURCE: Desktop Promotional Products with Style