17Sep/19

2019 WBEC-West 16th Annual Strategic Procurement Opportunity Conference

2019 WBEC-West 16th Annual Strategic Procurement Opportunity Conference

WBEC-West 16th Annual Strategic Procurement Opportunity Conference


At Connect the Dots, we believe strongly in networking with and supporting small business – and even better when it can be with fellow female-owned businesses!  At Connect the Dots, we are a proud team of women and it has been our privilege to be a member of WBEC-West (Women Business Enterprises).  We always love attending their events and this year’s WBEC-West 16th Annual Strategic Procurement Opportunity Conference did not disappoint!

2019 WBEC Conference Highlights

WBE prioritizes the cultivation of sustainable relationships between certified Women Business Enterprises and Corporate America through certification, education, and targeted networking.  The WBEC-West 16th Annual Strategic Procurement Opportunity Conference’s theme was “Learn How to Uncover the Clues to Success” and was a 3-day event that fostered sustainable relationships through a myriad of networking opportunities including symposiums, luncheons, matchmaker opportunities, strategic mini-connections, and round table meetings with corporate partners, primes. Government agencies, and fellow WBEs.  It was a great event that really encouraged meaningful, industry-specific opportunities within each business’ target markets. 

Karie Cowden Wins Supplier of the Year – Class 1 at WBEC!

Most exciting of all – Connect the Dots Promotions‘ very own, Karie Cowden, won an incredible award! Karie won the Supplier of the Year – Class 1 Award.  She was honored to be nominated by the Salt River Project for this prestigious award.  If you know Karie, you know that she was more than deserving of this award because she works hard to be the best supplier every day for her clients!  The 2019 WBEC-West 16th Annual Strategic Procurement Opportunity Conference was a great time of networking, education, and fun and we can’t wait for the next one!

09Sep/19

New Promotional Products & Technology at the AZPPA Exhibitor Show

Learning About The Latest Promotional Products & Technology at the AZPPA Exhibitor Show

While there are some staple promotional products in the marketing industry, there are constantly new trends and technologies emerging.  And, while those staple products are not only time-tested and effective, the implementation of new technologies in marketing strategies often allows a business to reach a new audience or impress an existing audience in a new and memorable way.  At Connect the Dots Promotions, we love to stay informed about the newest products and technologies.  In doing so, we are able to connect our clients with unique promotional products that will set them apart from the competition and maximize their marketing budget.  We recently attended the AZPPA Exhibitor Show and had a chance to check out some really exciting new promotional items and technologies, as well as connect with industry peers.

About the AZPPA Exhibitor Show

The Arizona Promotional Products Association (AZPPA), hosts an annual trade show which we recently had the joy of attending. If you are unfamiliar with the AZPPA Exhibitor Show, it is a great Arizona-based trade show that features local and national suppliers as well as attracts distributors from throughout Arizona.  

Exciting New Promotional Products and Technology!

One of our favorite new technologies that we saw is an NFC-enabled pen.  If you are not quite sure what NFC technology is, you may be more familiar with it than you think!  NFC (Near Field Communication) technology is embedded in most new phone technology today.  For example, if you have an iPhone and have ever used Apple Pay, you have already used NFC technology.  Simply put, NFC detects and enables technologies in close proximity to securely share wireless data, without the need for an internet connection. But, there are many more applications for this technology and we were so excited to see how it can be leveraged as a marketing tool by embedding it in a pen.

How You Can Use NFC Technology for Business Marketing

An NFC-enabled pen simply needs to be waved near technology such as a phone, tablet, or other NFC-enabled device and the information can be securely shared.  There are many exciting and unique ways in which this technology can be used as a marketing tool.  First, it is a fast, easy, and economical business card!  Think of how easy it would be at a networking event to simply wave your NFC-enabled pen and share your business card with as many people you want in rapid succession. To use it as a powerful promotional product, consider embedding custom, branded pens with your company brochure, important contact information, photographs, music, games, website, event schedule, or any other information you want to share with your potential or existing client.  Then, that information goes with them wherever they go with the pen.  It is a convenient, economical, eco-friendly, portable marketing tool that is sure to be a hot promotional item in the months and years to come! 

If you would like to learn more about how you can utilize these cool new marketing technologies, we at Connect the Dots Promotions would love to talk to you about all of the new products and technologies we just experienced at the AZPPA Exhibitor Show!

23Aug/19

11th Annual UMOM Walk to End Homelessness

The 11th Annual UMOM Walk to End Homelessness is right around the corner!  On Saturday, September 21st, 2019 from 6-9am, we at Connect the Dots Promotions will be participating in this incredible event and looking to defend the Guinness World Record for the Largest 1K Thong Sandal Race!

At Connect the Dots, we love connecting our industry peers, clients, friends, families, co-workers, neighbors and more to love and support those in our community.

About the 11th Annual UMOM Walk to End Homelessness

The UMOM Walk to End Homelessness is a 1K race at the Phoenix Zoo that raises awareness and funds for families, single women, and youth experiencing homelessness in Arizona.

How You Can Be a Part of Defending a Guinness World Record

Whether you build your own team or join ours, we can’t wait to see you there in to walk in flip flops through the Phoenix Zoo.  This is the perfect event for individuals of all ages, making it a great family-friendly activity! There are lots of fun activities for participants and with your registration fee you receive all-day access to the zoo.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

20Aug/19

If You Don’t Have a Company Online Store Yet – You Need One!

Should You Be Using a Company Online Store?

If you do not yet have a company online store, you probably should get one! Company online stores have become a popular, efficient, and effective way to offer employees (and even customers) a place to buy unique branded items.  Whether you just want to provide your employees with some fun items to show their pride in their workplace or you want to provide your managers and employees a one-stop-shop for employees to choose your branded promotional products and apparel as a requirement of their job, a company online store is an ideal solution.  

Curate a Strategic Company Online Store

One significant advantage of creating your own company online store is that you get control over controlling your brand’s identity and style.  You can control things like style, color, finish, etc.  Additionally, you can further a message about your brand.  For example, if you are a gym, you can offer promotional gym bags, towels, yoga mats, and hoodies that uniquely exemplify your brand’s style.  This is important because people are bombarded with marketing messages thousands of times a day so you want to create a unified, cohesive branding strategy and an online store will provide the ideal platform on which to do so.  

Let Employees (and Customers!) Show Their Company Pride

What is better than using custom apparel and swag to proudly represent something that you are a part of or support?  There are so many ways, large and small, to show others you are proud to be an employee of a great company, or that you love a great company with branded promotional products and apparel.  Every time someone wears or uses a promotional item in front of someone else at work, in a store, in a restaurant, or anywhere else – they see your branding and it reinforces your brand identity.  

Start a Company Online Store with Connect the Dots Promotions

At Connect the Dots Promotions, we are continually looking for unique and diverse ways to assist you with strategic marketing solutions.  We can help you choose items for your company store, design the style, and help you offer your employees and clients a modern and convenient way to source branded promotional products.  Once complete, your company online store can live on its own website or you can embed it into your website for enhanced functionality.  Starting other forms of online stores can be expensive, complicated, and frustrating which is why we love how effective, efficient, and convenient it is to establish your own company online store.

09Jul/19

Connect the Dots’ New Client Offerings

Connect the Dots Value Statement
Big Things Are Happening at Connect the Dots Promotions!

Innovation and creativity fuel growth.  Growth is exactly what we at Connect the Dots strive for every day – for both our business and for our clients. We recently implemented new software that not only streamlines our day-to-day business tasks but also offers our clients a number of new and exciting features.  In addition to implementing new software, we have also begun to work with PromoCares.  We absolutely love the heart behind PromoCares and are excited to share this new opportunity to purchase promo products that not only support your business but simultaneously give back to the community.  Take a look below at some of the exciting new things we are offering our customers!

Presenting Your Promotional Products In a New Way

We are thrilled to offer our clients a new and exciting way to organize their promotional and marketing inspiration.  Similar to creating a mood board or Pinterest board, we can help you by adding promotional items to your presentation.  We love working with clients to develop a great marketing strategy, a cool new product, or even to design a flash mob but choosing the best marketing strategy can be confusing and challenging without a great way to organize thoughts and visualize how a campaign will look in execution. 

Our new software offers customers an ideal way to organize your marketing ideas and consider your ultimate goals to make the best selection of products for your particular marketing campaign.  For example, this presentation is called ‘Take a Hike’ and has a collection of various outdoor, hiking, or active products that fit the theme.  Within this presentation, there is a wide assortment of product types and price points so that you can ensure you stay on budget while selecting useful and effective promotional items.

Join Us in Giving Back with PromoCares

At Connect the Dots, giving back has always been a priority for us.  We love to partner with local and national organizations to whenever possible.  We are all about ‘connecting those dots’ and that is why we have decided to work with PromoCares and connect our clients with charitable opportunities. As a Certified PromoCares Supplier, we are proud to offer our clients an opportunity to participate in charitable giving when purchasing promotional products. 

Make a social impact and align your business mission in such a way that you play an important role in making the world a better place.  When you opt to participate in PromoCares, you will still be investing in promotional products like you would before, but the suppliers have agreed to donate a portion of proceeds to a particular charitable organization. Fortunately, just about every promotional product category is represented within PromoCares, ensuring your business can leverage the power of promotional products while partnering with us to give back to others.  And, it really is that easy – no additional steps are required which makes this a very easy and accessible way to participate in charitable giving.  We are so excited to connect our awesome customers with wonderful suppliers in the industry that have prioritized charitable giving.  If you would like to learn more about our new client software or how to participate in PromoCares, we at Connect the Dots are more than happy to show you a presentation and get you started on your marketing strategy.

20May/19

Proposed China Tariff Will Have Major Impact on Promotional Products Industry (and Customers)

Forget Winter, the Tariff is Coming and it is Far More Ominous!

Proposed China TariffUsually, it is a hot new product making the buzz in the promotional products industry but right now the buzz is all about the proposed China tariff.  The proposed tariff will have a widespread impact on various industries, including a significant impact on the promotional products industry.  At Connect the Dots Promotions, we love to share our latest projects or interesting products with our clients and industry peers, but we also believe it is important to have a conversation about how important this proposed tariff is and examine just how wide-reaching the impact will be.

Trump Administration Proposed 25% Tariff Will Impact Everyone

If you have not yet heard the news, the Trump administration proposed 25% tariff on products imported from China.  Make no mistake, this is a HUGE tariff.  Not only is this tariff threatening businesses but, unfortunately, it is threatening widespread impact on our customers because it will lead to an increase in prices. 

USA Today explains what is at stake with the proposed China tariff increase, “The trade war with China could cause prices to rise on everything from toys to clothing, but it also could lead to ‘widespread store closures,’ according to a report by UBS.  The investment bank’s analysis said tariffs on Chinese imports could put $40 billion of sales and 12,000 stores at risk…’We think potential 25% tariffs on Chinese imports could accelerate pressure on these company’s profit margins to the point where major store closures become a real possibility.” Earlier this month, the Trump administration increased U.S. tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25%. The president has also threatened to add a 25% tariff on almost all the remaining $325 billion in goods shipped in from China… ‘We’re going to continue to do everything we can to keep prices low,’ said Brett Biggs, Walmart’s chief financial officer and executive vice president, during a call with reporters Thursday. ‘However, increased tariffs will lead to increased prices we believe for our customers.’”

Proposed China Tariff Will Have a Big Impact on All Businesses & Their Clients

Proposed China TariffThe proposed increase will certainly impact large retailers like Walmart, but it will be an even larger strain on small businesses.  While we still have not seen exactly how this proposed China tariff will play out exactly, if it does go into effect as planned, it will most likely lead to increased prices. 

Because of this, and because we love our clients so much and don’t want to see their marketing impacted by this, we highly encourage our customers to consider looking ahead at the next 6 months – 1 year and consider what they have planned for marketing and promotional products.  If you have not yet, start planning your marketing calendar out and considering if now is a good time to order for fall, back-to-school, holidays, end-of-year, or other occasions for which you might want promotional products.  By ordering sooner rather than later (before a new tariff is implemented), you will take advantage of lower prices that will no longer be around if the tariff goes into effect.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Paying Higher Prices If Higher Tariff is Enacted

At Connect the Dots Promotions, you can always count on our dedication to you, our client.  We have been well aware of the proposed tariff for some time and are anticipating the potential increase by researching American made products and other sources to keep costs low but, unfortunately, if the tariff does go into place, it will likely mean increased pricing.  If you are interested in discussing your marketing plan, alternative marketing strategies, or investing in promotional products now to avoid

07May/19

3 Hot Promotional Products for Summer!

Summer is the season of BBQs, picnics, travel, and time spent at the pool, lake, or beach.  Summer is such a great time of reset for everyone because everyone is ready to leave behind their usual routines and switch things up for a while.  This is great for companies because when someone is ready to make a switch or try new things they are far more likely to actually use a new promotional product they receive.  While there are certain promotional products that are popular and useful to receive any time of year (did someone say ‘Bluetooth speaker’?), there are other things that are particularly useful in certain seasons.  Fortunately, all of the items below serve both purposes.  They are both perennially useful and very useful during the summer months.  And, if a product is useful, it will get used – and that means your branding will be promoted and you will foster goodwill.  Snag one or all of these promotional products for summer for your next company BBQ, picnic, or event or just to give away to customers that you want to impress!

3 Hot Promotional Products for Summer!

  1. Branded Reusable Straws
      • summer promotional products Many people are making an effort to reduce waste and be more eco-friendly and they have turned to something as simple as a reusable straw as a practical way to make this change. Further, more and more restaurants are converting to using paper straws in an effort to reduce their plastic waste that doesn’t decompose the same way that paper does.  Paper straws are a great alternative but if you have ever used one, you know – the longer it sits in your drink, the more ‘mushy’ it gets and that just makes it an unpleasant experience every time you take a sip.  The ideal solution to this is a reusable straw.  There are many different options including aluminum, glass, and silicone.  All of these can be branded and will ensure that your brand is seen on a very regular basis as many people use their reusable straws every single day.
  1. Branded Charging Cords
      • summer promotional productsWho doesn’t need a little extra power from time to time?  A charging cord is similar to other power banks or charging keychains you may have seen.  The user simply charges them in advance and then the cord retains that power so that, should you need a little extra power, it is right at your fingertips and you don’t have to scramble to save that last 4% of battery.  This is always useful to keep in your backpack or purse but it can be very helpful when traveling since there is often less convenient access to the ability to charge your device.  Just imagine being on-the-go in Disneyland – it won’t feel like the happiest place on earth if your phone is dead and you can’t take any photos to remember the experience.  But, if you keep your branded charging cord in your bag, you can have access to power whenever you need it.  Make your brand seem indispensable with a branded charging cord this summer.
  1. Branded Waterproof Container 
      • summer promotional productsThe summer months can be hot and what better way to cool off is there than jumping in the pool, lake, or ocean?  There is something about swimming in water that is so closely connected with summer joy.  That joy will quickly disappear if you leave your phone, other devices, wallet, keys, or other items out and they get wet or sandy.  Some even include a built-in waterproof audio jack so you can still plug your device in to listen to your favorite summer song or podcast.  There is a multitude of different waterproof container sizes and styles so you can easily find the ideal product to place your branding on and present to employees and customers as a generous gift to use this summer.
06Apr/19

Diversify Your Brand’s Marketing Experiences

At Connect the Dots, we constantly strive to find creative ways to help you market your brand and promote your events.  Our love for things like promotional products is well-known and we love connecting clients with the perfect promotional tools to set them apart from the competition.  As we all know, differentiating your brand in a saturated market can be challenging. It is exactly that reason that we added new services for our clients that want to creatively approach marketing their brand.  Now, not only can Connect the Dots help you design unique and interesting promotional products but we can elevate your next marketing campaign with what we are calling ‘Experiences.

CONNECT THE DOTS: MARKETING EXPERIENCES

FLASH MOBS

Marketing ExperiencesBy now, most people have seen a flash mob either on video or in person.  And, if you have, you know just how fun and memorable they are!  This form of viral marketing is a great way to show your brand’s personality, make a memorable impact on your target audience, promote your brand, sale, or product, and just show that you can have some fun!  While flash mobs are great fun, they do require a good amount of coordination, practice and strategic planning to be executed properly – and trust us, you want to execute them properly.  What could be sadder than a bad flash mob?!  Not much! The last thing you want to be remembered for is a flash mob fail! At Connect the Dots, we have access to the talent, all you need to provide is the time and place! Get creative with viral marketing and let us help you create the memorable marketing experiences you want!

WORLD RECORD ATTEMPTS

Marketing ExperiencesThere are few bragging rights as cool as being able to say you hold a world record in some category!  Really, how many people or brands can say that?  Not many!  And, that is exactly why you should not only pursue a world record if possible, but you should coordinate marketing experiences and media around it because it is something definitely worth sharing with your clients and employees!  Our team can help give your existing or new event the fun twist you need to help increase attendance, bring in more fundraising dollars, or and/or build invaluable brand awareness!

MISSION STATEMENT BUILDING

Marketing ExperiencesWhether you are a charitable organization, non-profit, school, small business, or major corporation, a mission statement is simply a must.  Every organization should have a mission statement because it fosters a team mentality amongst your employees, facilities an organized effort in pursuit of goals, and shows a cohesive effort to your clients.  At Connect the Dots Promotions, our consultants will work with you to understand what you prioritize and what your ultimate goals are to help you craft a unique mission statement.  Once completed, we will provide a custom metal fabricated mission statement for you to display in your office with pride!

DIGITAL MARKETING EXPERIENCES: BLOGGING & SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Marketing ExperiencesToday’s marketing expands far beyond print, radio and television media campaigns.  Create a unified brand presence that is cohesive across all platforms, including your website and social media platforms.  Consistent, well-written, SEO-optimized content such as blogs will reinforce your brand as an authority in your industry, share helpful or useful information with your employees and customers, and increase your search engine ranking to make your brand more discoverable.  Further, social media marketing is a great way to show off more of your brand’s personality and reach your employees and customers directly.  At Connect the Dots Promotions, we have a variety of digital marketing tools and management options to help you facilitate the digital presence you want for your brand!