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 pistachio. Come 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.
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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?
Spending marketing dollars wisely gets you company recognition and client loyalty.
It is that time of year again where you may be asked to come up with a gift of appreciation for your employees and/or a gratitude gift for some key clients or just an overall gift of appreciation for all your customers.
We all know about budgets, however, a note of caution here….decision-making would best be made on quality NOT price. Quality CANNOT be sacrificed. Both of these can be achieved as long as you have engaged the services of a Marketing/Promotions expert that exhibits the following:
- Understands each level of client and/or employee you are recognizing
- Searches for product that will convey a uniqueness thereby exhibiting a caring thought process
- Vendor loyalty by a Promotions specialist will not give you the best chance at highest quality choices
- Choices from highest rated vendors. Vendors are rated from A+ – F.
- Listens to you, communicates directly and doesn’t always say “I can beat anyone’s price!”
- Builds a relationship not just sells
- Evident that YOU will always come first. It is always about YOU.
- Follow up after you receive product….is it what you expected?
After you are clearly comfortable with whom you are working, now you can discuss price because it doesn’t matter how little or how much you spend for a promotion or ad specialty. If it is worthless and poor quality it is your hard earned dollar that was wasted. A true promotions professional will guide you in the right direction.
If you follow the guidelines above, I am sure your Promotions Budget will be well spent. You will stand-out among the rest and your client loyalty will be evident.
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.
When working with clients on Branding intiatives, whether it is promotional products, events, wearables, connecting with clients and potential clients, missions and/or goals, it is so important to impress upon them the importance of viewing the dollars spent as Investment dollars as opposed to spending, buying or purchasing…or “it’s in the budget”!!
We wouldn’t just take money that was in the budget and invest in any stock because you were ready to purchase. You would consult an expert, develop some scenarios, consider either short term or long term gain, understand the value as best you can, and make an educated decision. Well, let’s take that thought process and apply it to Branding intiatives.
Who is your expert…really?
Again, your hard earned dollars would not be put in the hands of just any Investment Advisor, you would get a referral, ask many questions, see if they have earned your trust. The same holds true when selecting a professional that you are consulting for promotional product. Are they selling or advising? Do they only have your interest in mind? They should! What makes them the expert? This is so important because initially your are investing your time to even meet with them.
Is there a thoughtful discussion regarding what you expect as a return?
Getting to the heart of your needs takes a professional with marketing, PR, and/or branding experience to, what we call, “drill” down (not a popular term nowadays) to your true expectations. Some rewards may not all be immediate. Especially when it comes to events. You should always have an expert that is considering the years ahead that will consistently propel you to the next level.
You are driving the decision…at all times?
Don’t let anyone else Brand you. Let’s take the example of wearables. The most popular fabric out there may be recycled polyester, but organic cotton supports your top client’s efforts or yours. Your expert should be listening to your Branding message and not using their sales skills to get in the driver’s seat and swaying you to use an item that may be from their favorite vendor. That is only an advantage to you, price-wise, IF you will get the expected return. That return for the moment may be your top client’s respect and appreciation but we all know with that comes loyalty as a customer. Besides, we are not at price yet!! Experts invest a lot of energy in caring about your needs, they pride themselves in giving the best advice first.
OK…the infamous ROI?
Certainly when we invest in stock we do expect a monetary increase in our original investment. Upon examination of what you wish to accomplish when it comes to branding initiatives, if you are having a thoughtful discussion, you will conclude that at times the return you expect is greater name awareness, consistency of brand, future loyalty (especially when it comes to events), respect through choices, outreach to potential clients, convey Company positives, personal trust…notice we haven’t even mentioned monetary return but it is there. The old “hard sales” way of doing things is over….certainly at least for now as I see it.
So many business professionals are budgeting marketing/promotional/branding dollars and certainly delighted to hear that. Please be sure your are working with someone that is interested in how your Investment will impact the success of your business. Just because something is the hottest item, more expensive pen, cool tech item doesn’t mean you can expect a return. Thoughtful decision-making must be part of initial discussion.
This poor gentleman is so confused.
All he wanted to do was get some #Green polos for a Golf Tournament!
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.