Effective Promotional Products and Why You Should Consider Them

lego man marketing promotional products

This is a guest post by Philip Piletic, more about Phillip at the end of this article

lego promotional products marketing

Successful promotional campaigns might seem random, but here’s 6 key factors that you should consider

Here’s one: Have pens made up with your company logo and information on them, and hand them out everywhere!

“Wait – what’s creative about that?”

Nothing! But pens are effective largely because they are useful. That is a huge asset to any promotional product. Nearly one hundred percent of Fortune 500 companies and the fastest-growing startups give away promotional pens. So, before we start getting creative, we are reminded that “effective” is the goal.

Creativity is often a dynamic component of a successful promotional product or campaign; it can also make it quirky in a bad way, forced or disjointed and ultimately unsuccessful. Watch some of the lowest-rated commercials for visual proof of this concept. By the way, going for the “so bad it’s great” angle is risky.

Studying these success stories will get your creativity flowing.

Useful & Effective

  1. Logo Cups that Change Colors

Add something cold to these cups, and they change colors. Made in about a dozen warm/cold color combinations, the cups can be printed with the logo, message and information you want to share. These cups work best at outdoor events like festivals, concerts and fairs when there’s enough light to see them change.

Reason it works: It’s a novelty. The recipient will find it interesting and then play “show and tell” with it, “Hey, Jason, look at this…Serena, watch what this cup does.” You’ve produced enthusiasts who will demo the cup, holding up your branding information for others to see. The novelty is key. People don’t go round saying, “Will, see this ordinary pen I just got!” We’ve made the case for pens, but if the item can be exceptional, it will get a wider audience.

Interesting

  1. Silly Bobblehead Pens

OK, then, here’s an extraordinary pen – the pen with a suction cup cap at one end and a ridiculous bobblehead at the other. Highlighters with the same scheme are produced too. You can take this idea to the next level of fun (and expense) with the bobblehead pen that talks! The one we came across says, “Hey, don’t forget to smile, laugh and have a great day” when its button is pushed.

Reason it works: The items are useful, puts a smile on peoples’ faces and makes them want to show them off, right along with your company information.

Fun

  1. Erasers that Save Memories

Erasers get rid of stuff…like Alzheimer’s Disease erases memories. Alzheimer’s New Zealand enjoyed a successful campaign by fitting real erasers around USB drives, and printed, “Alzheimer’s Erases Your Memories. Save Them.” On one side of the eraser. The other side featured the organisation’s logo and contact info.

Reason it works: It’s useful, so will be kept, but it has become a widely used example because there is an immediately grasped connection between the effects of the disease and an eraser.

Awareness

  1. Bendable Yoga Straws

The Y+ Yoga Center in Shanghai, China had straws printed with a woman in yoga gear positioned right on the straw’s bendable region. You get the picture. Every time the straw bends, the yogoist shows off her flexibility in a new position.

Reason it works: Like the Alzheimer’s campaign, the “get it” factor is immediate. Take time to think about, and brainstorm with your team, commonly used items that could be used to produce an immediate connection with your products or services. Thinking is hard work, but it is free and can yield amazingly creative, fun and successful promotional product and campaign ideas.

Connection

  1. Ketchup Splatter Detergent Packs

Vantage Detergent, a brand produced in Brazil, was marketed using small packs of detergent in the color and stylized shape of a ketchup spill. The packs, about 100,000 of them, were divided among restaurants in São Paulo, and were snatched up by customers in three days.

Reason it works: The colorful packets encapsulated a standard marketing strategy – identify a problem, and provide the solution.

Solution

Putting it All Together

Let’s compile our list of keywords, principles really, that give tremendous guidance for choosing or designing promotional products and using them successfully as part of your marketing mix:

  • Effective
  • Useful
  • Interesting
  • Fun
  • [Producing] Awareness
  • Connection [between the item and your product or service]
  • Solution

Build as many of these into your marketing efforts, including the use of promotional products, and you will enjoy far more hits than misses. This is especially true when you tailor your product, product design and campaign strategy to your target demographics. Take an hour today by yourself or with your team, and think, think, think your way to creative promotional products and campaigns that will be effective. That’s the first principle and the one that will most affect your bottom line.

For more resources, and reading on strategies for growing your business follow this link to the first of The 7 Big Questions that all small business owners want answered

philip piletic Guest article by Philip Piletic: Philip’s primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business and marketing. Freelancer and writer, in love with startups, traveling and helping others get their ideas off the ground. Unwinds with a glass of scotch and some indie rock on vinyl. You can read more of Phllip’s work on his Linkedin profile here: https://au.linkedin.com/in/philippiletic

Marketing when the client is your competitor

Marketing Strategy Competition

Marketing Strategy Competition

Education is the first step if you’re competing against the Do-It-Yourselver

In August last year everything suddenly came together for me. In a period of 6 weeks I signed up 7 new clients. I was very excited. Finally, after all the years of pushing and pulling, trying every approach under the sun to market myself to my target clients, it suddenly all fell into place. I even found myself starting to get concerned how I might handle things if the deluge continued.

But I needn’t have worried. Since then it’s gone back to drought. I’ve had virtually no serious inquiries in the 7 months or so since then.

Back to the drawing board.

I’ve written before that business is really simple (on my blog, and in this article in Linkedin Pulse) and that for business to succeed we must only do two things:

  1. Do great work
  2. Make sure lots of people know about it

And the thing is, I do do great work (my clients tell me so frequently and I have lots of glowing testimonials here for example) and increasingly, lots of people do know about me. And yet, after 12 years I continue to have these lengthy drought periods.

Honestly, It’s doing my head in every now and then.

I’m reminded, that sometimes, things aren’t quite as simple as those two time honoured rules imply. If you have a blocked toilet, or you want to go to a restaurant, or buy a fridge, a car or a home, those two rules apply without exception. All that the marketing and sales strategies of the plumbing company have to achieve, is that the client is convinced that this plumbing company will fix the blocked toilet quicker, better, cleaner, friendlier or cheaper than any of the other plumbing companies out there.

But there’s a third secret

But things get a little trickier if you are an architect who designs and manages renovations for home owners, or an HR consultant who helps small business owners manage staffing and recruitment, or a PR agent who helps small business owners gain publicity, or an SEO consultant who helps small business get found on Google, or a wedding planner who helps people have a great wedding. If you are a professional like that you have a third thing you must do.

Not only do lots of people have to know about you, you also have to convince your prospects that hiring a professional is much better than, doing it themselves, DIY. Your services cost money over and above the actual thing they want doing. Recruitment services for example can easily cost an additional 10% on top of the wage of the new employee. The PR agent might cost you $3000 per month or more. The architect might charge upwards of $25,000 on top of the build-cost of the project.

Your client is your competitor

You’re not competing with other professionals, rather the first competitor you have to face is the actual client. The client needs to be convinced that they really shouldn’t go DIY. They shouldn’t try and manage their own renovations, run their Facebook advertising campaigns, organise their own wedding, or find and hire a new employee.

I strike a similar issue with some of my potential clients. Most small business owners think they ought to be able to do it themselves. To go looking for help from someone like me, can be a significant investment and can feel like admitting that they’re not upto the job of being a business owner.

Nothing is further from the truth of course, my most successful clients have always been the ones who have no hesitation in asking for help, but it’s often a hurdle I have to overcome with small business owners.

Timely reminder

The recent drought has reminded me, that the first marketing step for people like the architect, the PR agent, the wedding planner and myself, is to educate the clients.

The PR agent has to educate his clients that having a PR agent (not necessarily him personally) take charge of gaining publicity for the client is vastly more effective than DIY. The architect has to educate her clients that engaging an architect leads to much better renovations than DIY. The wedding planner has to educate her clients that the wedding is going to be so much more fun when a wedding planner is running the show than DIY. And I have to educate my clients about how a business coach can help transform your business, rather than DIY.

I’ve actually known about this issue for a long time, but forgot over the past few years. It’s time to focus on education again. In the next months I am going to create a bunch of case studies and stories in article and video form to help small business owners understand that engaging someone like me (not me specifically) can transform their business and their lives.

I suggest that you think about the question as well: Who is your greatest competitor? If it’s actually the clients themselves, you should change your marketing strategies to focus on education first… I promise you.

For more resources, and reading on strategies for growing your business follow this link to the first of The 7 Big Questions that all small business owners want answered

#SmallBusinessMarketing #Competition #SmallBusinessGrowth #NewClients #SmallBusinessCoaching #BusinessCoachingSydney

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Frogmind, the Buddha and my Worries

anxieties worries

What I learned about my anxieties from the annual frog-orgy in our estate

Lady D and my good self have recently become Lord and Mistress of an ancient estate in Europe.

Said estate encompasses a pond, with a little waterfall, some 30 small goldfish and since last week a knot of frogs (Wikipedia informs such to be the appropriate collective noun).

The frogs suddenly arrived in our estate from foreign climes – the same Wikipedia article informs me that frogs are a bit like salmon, in that they return to spawn in their ancestral grounds.

And spawn they have. Since the frog’s arrival an enormous lump of frog jelly has formed in a corner of the pond (I marvel at the size of the lump versus the size of the little frog’s bodies). When the little black embryos become tadpoles it will get crowded in our estate’s pond. Next year’s “return to ancestral grounds” will be a spectacle.

Threesomes and moresomes

For a week, the pond was a hive of activity. There were couplings, threesomes and moresomes at any time of the day or night; lots of water spitting at stuff; pushing, shoving and clambering over the ever growing mound of jelly, and constant low rumbling croacking.

They’ve calmed down a lot by now. The knot of frogs is down to 5 from a peak of 12. The egglaying phase is clearly over, and they’ve started moving on, to the foreign climes they came from (more Wikipedia research required to find out where frogs hang the rest of the year).

What is it like to be a frog?

I’m fascinated by the frogs. I love watching them and listening to their croaking. And I wonder what it’s like to be a frog. Obviously, life is simple, being a frog in our pond, boring even – frog sex life is pretty intense when it’s on, but it’s limited to just a few days of lust in spring. Granted, life, even in our little pond, gets pretty brutal at times – there’s an enormous hungry heron who has the pond on his radar as a good spot for lunch – but it’s definitely simpler than my life.

My life is anything but simple. My life is full of worries and anxieties: anxieties about work, money, relationships and growing old. I worry about our living situations, my kids, my health and The Meaning of Life, and that’s just the tip of my anxiety ice berg.

I imagine frogs don’t have any of those worries.

The ultimate aim of many of the religions and philosophies of life, as I understand them, is to attain a state of mind akin to that of the frogs: Nothing matters, except being entirely present in the here and now. Being here and nowhere else.

Frogs are like that. I can’t look inside their minds, but I’m reasonably sure they have few worries in life, until the moment they see that long sharp beak of the Heron coming down for them.  But even then, it’s all “here and now”.

Frogmind

I’ve read about the Buddha, the Stoics and the Dao and I wonder if I should aspire to the simplicity of Frogmind. Cultivating Frogmind, is that the Ultimate? Is that the essence of the “7-fold path”, the path to happiness and fulfilment, the end of life’s suffering?

I’m not so sure, in fact I’m increasingly less convinced that getting rid of all my anxieties is going to make me happier, more fulfilled, or a better, more useful human being.

I think I am my anxieties. I think my anxieties are what make me human. They’re what make me unique, interesting, useful to the world around me. My worries are what make me strive to get better at life, at work, at love and at caring. My worries drive my creativity and resourcefulness. If I didn’t have my anxieties, I wouldn’t be so concerned about the wellbeing of other people. Without my anxieties I’d be an egoist, maybe a narcissist or even a psychopath.

Frogs are narcissists

I think frogs are probably narcissists, in that they simply don’t care about the wellbeing of others. The only thing that matters to a frog is: feeding, sleeping and fucking, and if any of those activities come at the expense of others, it’s of little concern to them, it causes them no anxiety.

None of this: “I better call Aunty Jane, or she’ll wonder if I’ve forgotten her”, or “Better not have another drink, or I won’t be fresh for my clients tomorrow”, or “I must remember to tell my wife I love her more often, or she might leave me”, or “Better not have that piece of cake, or people will snigger at me”. These anxieties don’t figure, when you practice Frogmind.

I sometimes meet people who have advanced a lot further along the path to Frogmind than I have. I notice their calm unflappability. Nothing touches them. Misfortune strikes, a friend gets angry, life’s challenges beset them and they just smile and carry on. Frogmind, no anxieties. I actually find such people difficult to be with, difficult to relate to. It’s like there’s something missing, something essentially human. In my world, anxiety is the essence of what it means to be human. We are meant to have sleepless nights, to cry, to get angry, to shiver with fear and also with joy.

I think Shakespeare said: “Nothing in life is bad or good, but thinking makes it so”. Undoubtedly that’s true, but without that thinking we might miss out on life’s mystery.

So I’m attached to my anxieties. I want to feel my fears and frustrations and joys and excitements and everything in between. I actually want to wrestle with my worries every day (well maybe not every day, it would be nice to have Sundays off, maybe).

But I do want to wrestle with them. I want to be equal to them, I don’t want them to conquer me, but equally, I do not want to remove them from the arena.

I’m glad I’m not a frog, and I’m glad you’re not either.


Change: Life is what happens when you’re making other plans

change planning coaching

From Pirates in the Bahamas to Danish women in Italian Piazzas

One of my favourite Facebook memes is:

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”

We grow up and find that the world looks quite different when we’re 30, 40, 50 and beyond, than we thought it was going to look when we were young.

I thought I was going to be a modern day pirate like Long John Silver (a fantasy recently revived with the swashbuckling Netflix series “Blacksails”), but it turned out I got violently seasick on the oceans of the world. And besides my wife and I had our first child and children don’t go that well on pirate ships.

Then I thought I was going to be a journalist of world renown, but I didn’t have the patience to make it through the ranks.

I set my sights on a boatbuilding business on Sydney Harbour, but what I knew about running a business in those days could be written on the back of a beer coaster, and the business failed.

Next I started a building business in Sydney. I developed it and ran it for about 20 years. At times it did very well, at other times not so much, but in the end I had enough of the never ending struggle between contractors, homeowners and architects. I was very happy when a former employee of mine offered to buy the business.

More or less at the same time my personal life took a 180 degree turn and where I’d always thought I would grow old as one half of a happily married couple, I suddenly found myself single (by my own choice I hasten to add).

The rest of my life

I was 45, single, without home or business or any immediate responsibilities other than to work out what to do with the rest of my life.

And I had no idea. None.

I figured I needed to create a bit of space in which to work out what direction to head and I took myself off to Italy. The idea being, that if I were to sit myself down on a piazza in Italy for long enough, the universe might speak to me.

And it did.

change planning coaching I actually remember the precise moment that it did: I was having dinner with a bunch of friends in a little restaurant in Perugia in Umbria. I got talking to a Danish woman who was in Italy for a month long sabbatical and she told me about her life coach. My ears pricked up. I’d never heard of the term life coach and I was equally intrigued and sceptical. Long story short. I did some research and decided to do a foundation coach training course when I got back to Sydney. I loved it and in the next few years I enrolled in as many studies and trainings in coaching and related fields as I could.

Various coaching practices

I set about building Life coaching, Executive coaching, personal counselling practices and combinations of all of them. In the end I created the thing I do now, which is all about helping small business owners feel great about themselves and their business and about making business Fun (with a capital “F”).

I love what I do these days and by all accounts I am actually really good at it. Until quite recently, I saw myself growing old in the inner-city of Sydney together with my new spouse, doing what I do now, connected with the community and my kids, grandkids and extended family and friends. But another change is coming down the pike, heading straight for us. Life is going to take another 90 degree turn. I can’t tell you exactly which direction this 90 degree turn is going to take, but it seems quite clear that we’ll be leaving Sydney in the next year or so.

Not happy

We’re upset and anxious about this prospect. It’s going to mean significant adjustment and changed circumstances, but really, the change is no greater than any of the changes I mentioned above, and those were just the tip of the iceberg.

There’s a good chance that the changes will turn out to be really positive in the long run and that we’ll look back and smile at the memories of our anxieties and dine out on the stories, just like I do now when thinking about the changes I mentioned before.

Life is indeed what happens when we’re making other plans. Planning is guessing. I’ve said it before when writing about goalsetting in business here, but it’s no different in life.

The one thing we can be sure of is change But us humans, it seems, are hardwired to resist change as much as we can. There’s a primal instinctive fear we feel in change, I believe.

But change is coming and In any case, I’m going to remind myself how positive the experience of change can be, especially in hindsight, even if it doesn’t quite feel that way now.

For more resources, and reading on strategies for growing your business follow this link to the first of The 7 Big Questions that all small business owners want answered

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