Being Brave Might Mean Honeysuckle

2011 Color of the Year

Toward the end of each year, I shudder somewhat at the thought of finding out what the trend color will be for the following year.  Last year it was turquoise and now this year it is honeysuckle.

Shudder you say?!!  Last year’s turquoise wasn’t too bad but the year before it was celery and the year before that it was pistachioCome January I will be contacted by various clients that are having their Spring golf outing and they will (yes they will) ask me what the newest color is for Spring so that they can get golf shirts for participants.  Unless it is a Ladies Golf Outing, I have spent the last three years shuddering when that question has been presented to me.

During the celery year, I learned to say “light green”.  That worked well with pistachio also.  Now comes Honeysuckle

First, most men are not going to know what color Honeysuckle is.   I have had so much fun with taupe.  What I have learned is that the “Mother” color for Honeysuckle is red.  So am I misleading my clients if I say a softer shade of red

The shades of colors, or I should say the names we give them, always becomes an issue with the gentlemen and the ladies it is the styles. 

Thanks to all of us out in the field, we finally instilled in the vendors that our female clients deserve equal attention to fit and style.  I don’t know about you, but only several years back when we participated in any charitable event, we always got the “adult” shirts, jackets, vests, etc.  Adult means “men’s”.

So I have filled you in ever so briefly on one of my 2011 changes that I will have to deal with.  Have you determined what is new in your industry and how you will have to adapt?  Love to hear your comments.

Innovative Go Green Idea for Businesses

Go Green ~ Plant a Tree

Go Green ~ Plant a Tree

 Give your clients a Branded card with your logo, they are sent to a Branded site with your logo and they receive a Branded certificate with your logo thanking them for their donation. 

 Plant-a-Tree Cards are an easy-to-use online promotion that is delivered through a branded card and unique Reward Code. Card holders simply go on-line and show their support by planting a tree for free in a global reforestation project. Upon redemption, consumers can download a branded certificate in honor of planting of their tree. Altered expiration dates, custom shaped cards and rush service available. Seeded paper cards available.   2 1/8″ L x 3 3/8″ W x 30mm Thick    Click here for more specific info =>  seedthefuture   Please inquire Diane@marketingbyDM.com

Just had to share this with you because it is such a unique, innovative, impressive, inexpensive give-away with lots of rewards.

What do you think?

You did it! No…you did it! No…you did it!

Looking like monkies

This Is What The Blame Game Looks Like

During this terrible oil crisis in the Gulf, we have certainly heard, seen and spoken about the most overt exhibition of the “blame game” that we have ever experienced.  While there are many opportunities for a blog post just on that subject alone, it brings to mind how in our everyday business dealings we must resist the temptation to look outside ourselves for reasons why something didn’t go well. 

Really…why would we want to look like these three monkies?!!

Best practices guide us to do certain problem solving first when a client does not receive what they expected, when a vendor ships the wrong product, if an expected service is incorrectly applied.  Our clients are extremely intelligent and know that something went wrong but they don’t necessarily care who’s fault it was…at least initially.  Wasting a client’s time is not only costly to them but will definitely impact your relationship with them in the future leaving you potentially a difficult time ahead solidifying your brand all over again.

When we talk about exceeding the expectations of our customers, we are including how you handle issues.  Anyone can handle business going smoothly…at least I would hope so…but the true test is, what do you hear, do and say when an issue arises.  You want your clients to have confidence that they are not concerned about the error because they know you are going to resolve it…PERIOD.  End of story. 

Before I decided to enter the Promotional Product business, I was in various Marketing positions and ordered advertising specialties for years.  Can’t tell you how many stories I got as to why it happened…the vendor did it, the secretary did it, I didn’t clearly state what I needed, there was a turnover in staff, someone was on vacation, etc.  Truly didn’t solve a thing.  After the problem was solved, I would be happy to listen to any explanation as to why we can take steps so that it wouldn’t happen again.  However, it serves no purpose whatsoever, to drone on and on blaming someone/anyone without solving the problem first.

A much better practice is to immediately take the client’s side meaning that their side is simply they did not receive what they expected.  Remember…we are talking about what they expected.  It may be exactly what they ordered but not what they expected!!  It doesn’t matter, at least YET, that they made the mistake.  What matters most is that you are going to immediately come up with some solution or solutions.  Extremely important to not put them on the defense.  We want them to continue to listen to us and hear what we are saying.  Just tell them you will check out what the next step will be for them to get what they actually need, timing, etc. and you will get back to them immediately.  Believe me…you are creating the “WOW” factor in their mind.

If it is your mistake…own up immediately.  However, do not dwell on it.  Again, you must advise them you will take whatever steps are necessary including cost to get this corrected.  Likewise, if it is a vendor error.  You and the vendor can work it out later.  Don’t waste time with calls back and forth to the vendor over the error.  Your client doesn’t care.

Retention is the name of the game in the continued success of your business.  The Blame Game is not compatable at all with retention.

Go Green Can Be Confusing When It Comes To Cotton

This poor gentleman is so confused. 

All he wanted to do was get some #Green polos for a Golf Tournament!

Organic Cotton Polo ~ Go Green

Go Green with Organic Cotton Polo

Did he want Certified Organic Cotton, Recycled Cotton, or the very Eco-Friendly Natural Bamboo.

We are going to give you some simple definitions here to help when you are in the decision-making process. 

Certified Organic Cotton  This is 100% cotton wovens which are grown without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.  They contain no chemical bleaches and/or dyes which in turn reduces the amount of pollutants in the environment.

Recycled Cotton  Made from clippings.  Textile waste or clippings are collected from pre-consumer venues: new cotton-knit cuttings, upholstery and trim fabric, yarn waste and industrial fibers.  Cippings re sorted by color and chopped into fine linty material called “Shoddy”.  Shoddy is then spun into a yarn that is used to produce product.  This information provided by AnvilRecycled Tees.

Eco-Friend Natural Bamboo  Without the use of pesticides, bamboo grows faster than any other plant on earth making it one of the earth’s most renewable resources.  Fabrics made from bamboo offer a luxurious feel (I can attest to that….so very soft and cool on your skin).  It has inherent performance characteristics like UV protection and moisture wicking properties.

This summary information is shared with you from information provided by www.vantageapparel.com, one of the best apparel vendors in the industry along with their amazing award-winning decoration choices.

A Twitter friend of mine inspired this blog when he went to buy a suit and was showed a suit made of Bamboo. 

Next week we will review moisture wicking, breathability, moisture management, and climate control.  All terms that need some clarity.

Flash Drives Are Not All The Same

 

Just when you think something is an easy decision and can quickly be processed….most of the time it is not!!  

Flash Drives as a promotional give-away, website driver, tool for clients, special promotion, etc. are of great value but only if you ask some questions first:

1.  Are they Tier 1?

2.  Are they Grade A?

3.  Do they have a Lifetime Warranty?

4.  How long is pricing good?

5.  Are they NEW….never been used?

6.  Does the vendor Upload for FREE?

7.  What capacity do you REALLY need?  64MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, 4GB …… (well you get the idea)

Now you can purchase Flash Drives!!  Enjoy.

Any questions?

Is There A Golf Event In Your Future?

For most, I know golf season can’t come soon enough.  Actually….WHAT AM I SAYING!!  Golf season is all year long.  But for our purposes here, let’s imagine we are all on the east coast and sitting, wishing, wanting the rain to stop and the temperature be more predictable. 

We have arrived!!  Being in the promotional product business has propelled me to be thinking GOLF this time of year and for someone that can only hit the silly ball 100 yds….but straight guys…it does make me chuckle that I have become a Golf (product) expert. 

So that brings me to the point of this blog.  You all know that I want to be helpful and take some of the decision-making dilemma out of the mix when putting these golf tournaments together.  It is always nice to have a very special incentive for golfers to participate in your event but what makes yours more unique than others.  You have to take into account the economy.  Unfortunately it is a fact and in order for these events to be very special, they are not successful without value. Here are several ideas that can get all the foursomes you need.

1.  Relax first of all.  Take things step by step.       Important to determine what other events, not only golf, are going on in your area.  Also find out when other golf events are going on and set yours first.  You should be planning this at the very least six months in advance.  Once you acquire this knowledge, you can set a date for your event.  Another piece of advice would be not to choose Monday.  Not received well by business professionals for two reasons; start of the work week and is most popular to be taken as an extended weekend.  Thursday or Friday is best.

2. Pricing Your Event (now you should still be relaxing) ~ Decide NOW what you wish to have as your enticement, give-away, prizes, tournament prizes, gifts for registrants.  Only then can you price the event correctly.  This is where you can make your event UNIQUE.  Golfers expect to pay for the pleasure of playing in a well-run event and as long as they feel they are getting value, they’ll sign up for your event.  Even if it is a non-profit event and the money is going toward a worthy cause (and we know that they are all worthy), you still have to market it correctly, determine the best PR and promote it.  A “hook” may not be ideal at times on the golf course, but when it comes to persuading golfers to your event as opposed to others, get those “hooks” in place.  Point is….don’t under price your event which then leaves you with doing far too many 50/50 at event and Silent Auction.  Build what you need into the price to play.  If attendee is going to get a pair of Nike or Calloway golf shoes at the event, you’d be surprised what they will pay to play.

3. Call ME!!  Truly I can help.  Remember it’s me…..I hit the ball very carefully straight and I’ll get you there safely, securely and without getting in the rough. 

Do you have a golf event you are putting together?  What has been the most popular give-away?

Competition sharpens our skills

Why hate me....I'm just being me!!

Competition is a good thing…right?

Motivates us to be the best we can be, helps to keep us up-to-date with what’s happening in our industry, teaches us to be more responsive to change, sharpens our skills, tests our values.

With all of these positive responses set forth above, why do many view the competitor as the “enemy”.  It takes far more energy to study and complain about what someone else is doing or not doing, rather than developing our own strengths, deepest values, passions, and commitments so that what we are competent at is NOT JUST A JOB.

Keep in mind…somewhere down the line, that competitor may be a potential client and no door should ever be closed.  Respect for the way a person does business should be across the board.  Author Dr. Henry Cloud, “Integrity”, encourages us to be aware of the “wake” we leave behind us as we go through life and interact both with our personal and business relationships.  Smooth or very little waves are good!!

Focusing in on your own worth and value to your client is a whole lot more beneficial to them than comments about what your competitor is or is not doing.  Approach all with respect and it will come back to you ten-fold.

“I have been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.” ~ Walt Disney

Branding with promotional techniques

Just when you thought Branding, T-shirts, Logo Integrity cannot be part of the same  promotional product….take a look at this shirt that is laser etched to give a more professional look to even the least expensive wearable.  Don’t have to spend a lot on the product, when vendors are offering cutting-edge decorating technology.  This technique is offered by Vantage Apparel along with several other interesting methods of  logo embellishments.

Most recently, they introduced a new laser decoration technique called Reserve Burn-out Applique’….a trendy option for fleece, t-shirts or denim.  This reverse method gives a debossed impression which adds dimension to the logo.

Promotional products should always have a value no matter how little you budget or how much.  Consideration given to imprint method as well as product, when given the proper guidance, you might just find that a $2.50 t-shirt could be quite an exciting give-away (not throw-away) when you discuss with your promotions expert imprinting methods such as Etched and Embroidered, Etched and Applique, Digital Photo Imaging, Heat Seal, Crystal Tansfers.  How about YOUR company logo heat sealed on the inside of the product replacing the main label….tagless.  Yeah!  These unique imprinting methods can be more expensive than screen printing but the ROI makes it worth it.  You can always get samples!

Budget Constraints for Advertising Specialties Necessitate “Exact Count”

Businesses, even in this struggling economy, are still budgeting some monies for special client gifts as well as recognition rewards for their employees.  When doing so, it is important to understand that a majority of advertising specialty vendors do not perform an exact count when processing orders. This can come as quite a surprise when you receive your order and invoice, especially if the vendor adds 5% – 10% additional promotional product when your budget didn’t allow for this.  If you order 200 pens, 5% additional product is not a big deal but if you order 200 Digital Frames and the vendor adds 10% additional product that could be $400 – $500 additional on invoice.

You do have a choice.  It is recommended that any time you are ordering a specific quantity of promotional product, you ask what is the vendor’s policy for “exact count”, is there a fee for exact count and/or can you accept an underrun only?  Sometimes the fee is not that much and is worth it.  Other vendors may not charge at all but the request has to be put on the order itself  by your distributor.

My advice would be to check it out every time you order….. at least throughout 2010 so that you you can stay within the monies you set aside and  fully understand how much product you should receive.