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?

Name Awareness Is Serious Business

I’m so shiny and Red….pick me, pick me!!

Choose me please…don’t ask why!

Have you said this… “I/We need a pen” or “I/We need a mug” or how about “I/We need a notepad…maybe sticky notes”?   Now, you may very well like to have these for various reasons but there are so many questions to be answered before you invest in these promotional products….and how many!!

There are over 85,000 promotional products and all too often business executives are not working with a marketing consultant or promotions director when they are in the decision-making process.  No matter what your budget is, there are products that will represent your business more specifically, will have “hang around” time, and will successfully meet your branding goals…..and not just because it is the color of your logo.

Even if it is a tradeshow and you want to spend $.30/piece, a pen is NOT the only answer.   It could be if you are an accountant and you found a nice, smooth writing fine point or a real estate agent and it is a pen with several imprint areas or a corporate law attorney where many documents are signed.  Well you get the picture.  Questions to ask yourself:

  • Where are you giving these out
  • To  whom are you giving them
  • What value do you expect in return
  • Did you look at this promotion from a marketing perspective

In this economy, it is tempting to eliminate name awareness opportunities.  The dictionary says “…..tempt ~ draw into a foolish or wrong course of action“.   Well no one I know is foolish and positive that with the correct guidance would not make a wrong decision.  Consult with a marketing professional with promotions expertise so that you get the direction you need.  A recommendation would be cut-back but don’t cut-out either marketing, PR or promotions…..have to add Social Media as well.   By the way, I have a pen and a mug for retention and leave behind gifts…..very different than give-aways no matter what the event.

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

Marketing under the big tent: 5 things we can learn from the circus

Marketing under the big tent….

“… if the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying ‘Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday’, that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.” If the town’s citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.



Strategize getting value in return.


Bring brand to the attention of potential and/or current customers


Keeps brand in the minds of customer which in turn stimulates demand


Helps public to understand company/product

What would you cut-out…..hopefully nothing!!

Branding Lessons Learned in Childhood

Count Artell, Aristocrat of Magic

Long before Branding was recognized as crucial to continued success, retention and referrals, my Dad, known as “Charlie” to all who knew him well, was practicing the best branding techniques and in turn I was learning.  He didn’t even realize he was teaching me.  Here is how Charlie and Count Artell, the magician, did it:

  • Basically believed everything and everyone was “all good”

Vaguely remember hearing him talking on phone with either agents or customers recommending his competition if he thought his act would not suit the audience as well. He never understood about nationalities either….if you asked him his background, he would say he was an American.

  • Reduce pricing, undersell, underquote a colleague

Also, overheard him many times being asked to “underquote” a colleague….he just would not do it.  Just wasn’t fair to him.

  • Code of Ethics

I am sure everyone knows the “Magician’s Code” and believe me, growing up we took it very seriously.  Kindof the right thing to do.  Growing up I traveled with my Dad to all the conventions and most of his shows.  He and I were buddies.  I learned early on in my youth that holding true to an ethical standard was truly rewarding.  Building TRUST resulted in respect…..and let me tell you Charlie was extremely respected.

  • Customer Service

No matter what….the show must go on.  Count Artell was always polite, upbeat, gave of himself and truly enjoyed pleasing all that came to see him.  Backstage we would only know that he had a cold, or his back was bothering him or we just came through a raging snowstorm….he never transferred his woes on anyone must less his customer.

  • Personal Image

As he got older, he started to get arthritis in his hands and couldn’t do card manipulation as well as he used to.  Instead of dwelling on the negative, he tailored his act with tricks that appealed to his audience just as well because his business (magic) was never about him but about his “customer” (audience).

Bottom Line: We are impacting our youth with everything we do and say.  They may seem as though they are engaged in listening to something else or not listening at all but the fact is they are better at multi-tasking than we ever were.  When I started my own business five years ago, I just knew what my standards would be as a business person but I recently realized, I learned everything from Charlie, Count Artell and my Dad.  In the end he got Alzheimer’s and didn’t even remember he was a magician but he knew me, “D”, and he provided me with  guidance, high standards, caring, accepting, right thing to do and marketing savvy that only a magician can.

Great customer service… When? Is the question

Bringing  your car  in for inspection should not necessarily be a wonderful experience, however, when you are talking about a 15 year excellent relationship with your service department it can be.  Besides they take great care of the paternal twins in our family.  Oh….perhaps I should clarify that.  There are two 1995 Ford Explorers in the household, both white, equally have about 120,000 miles on them, however, interiors different and sunroof on one of them.  Love my Ford.  The other difference is one of them does not stop and ask directions…but I digress.

Now mind you, I get superb customer service every time but this last time it brought to mind a question.   This is where you come in! Here is the scenario.  The dazzling Ford Explorer of the family was scheduled for inspection, potentially needed brake linings based on last inspection and I asked for the tires to be rotated.  I arrived, was greeted by extremely friendly staff, given a ride back to my office and they would pick me up when it was done.  Super great!! Only took about 3 minutes.  When I picked it up they said the inspection was FREE because I bought the car there, I still did not need brake linings because of the low mileage between visits and the tires were checked for wear and did not need to be rotated.  It was stated that they don’t charge for something unless it is really needed.  ALL GOOD!!  Right?  Certainly was for me.

QUESTION:  Would it have been better to mention all this wonderful news upfront…especially if I were a new customer? For instance, “I see you brought you car here, you will not be charged for inspection”.  “I see you haven’t driven the car too many miles since the last time it was in, so you still may not need brake linings”, and “Even though you asked for tire rotation, we’ll check for wear first because we don’t want to charge you for rotation if you don’t really need it”.  Again, I was perfectly pleased with everything but my thought was that some of these subtle differences could make or break a new business relationship especially.  Do you think it makes a difference?  Should we remember to advise our clients the benefits of working together rather than telling them that when they get the bill?

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.