Category Archives: PPAI

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

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!

20Mar/19

Client Spotlight: Corporate Air Mechanical Services

Connect the Dots Client Spotlight: Corporate Air Mechanical Services

promotional productsBuilding connections, fostering relationships, and supporting businesses in which we believe are some of the most fundamental priorities at Connect the Dots Promotions.  From time to time, we enjoy shining the light on some of our most recent projects and customers.  We recently had the opportunity to work with Cherri Marrese, President of Corporate Air Mechanical Services on a spring marketing campaign including some unique promotional products!  

Choosing a Perfect Promotional Product

Because Corporate Air Mechanical Services is in the industrial/commercial cooling industry, they presented the idea of a desk fan to give as a thank you to customers.  They knew they wanted one that could have a message on it to remind customers of the upcoming Arizona summer heat.

How Connect the Dots Helped Select the Perfect Promotional Product!
promotional products

Desk Fan with LED Customizable Display

We just happened to be speaking to Cherri about this project right before we attended the 2019 PPAI Expo in Las Vegas. The timing could not have been more perfect because we were able to take their directives and go to the PPAI Expo where we could look at products from over 3,000 supplier booths.  It was like they were all just waiting for us to find the perfect item for our customers!  Because the PPAI Expo is so large, we combed through aisle after aisle looking for the perfect fan.  Despite there being such a selection, it seemed to be like finding a needle in a haystack and we were starting to worry the perfect fan was not out there.  But, we never lost hope and continued the dedicated hunt for our customer.  

The last day of the PPAI Expo is always the best when looking for a specific promotional product because many attendees have already begun to leave.  This means it is less crowded and suppliers have additional time to talk to you.  As we were walking on the last day, Karie spotted someone she knew personally operating a vendor’s booth.  While we were standing there, low and behold, Kim looked up and it was like you could hear angels singing!  There it was!  The perfect fan with an LED lighted programmable message capability sitting right in front of us!  Kim shouted, “OMG, there it is I’ve been here for 4 days and now I find it!.”  The supplier/vendor thought Kim lost her marbles!

Dedication to Creative Promotional Products & Unique Marketing Campaigns

We returned home the next day from PPAI Expo and ordered a sample for Cherri to view.  We then met to discuss Corporate Air Mechanical Services’ 2019 marketing campaign and share the sample fan with Cherri and her sale’s executive, Tanner.  Needless to say, it was a big hit!  They started programming it with their phones (an option we love!) and then immediately placed an order.  We have already begun to work on several other items in which they are interested. Also, we always execute a ‘nudge plan’ to help our customers stay organized and ahead of their marketing plans for the holidays, corporate events corporate wearables, and other items. At Connect the Dots, we couldn’t be more happy to have connected our client with the perfect promotional products and we look forward to working more with Corporate Air Mechanical Services!

31Jan/19

Why the 2019 PPAI Expo in Las Vegas Was a Must-Attend Event!

2019 PPAI Expo Recap

2019 PPAI Expo2019 PPAI ExpoWe are home from the PPAI Expo and wow – we saw so much, learned even more, and had a great time connecting with old and new friends!  It was great to attend the 2019 PPAI Expo with our whole team because there is so much to take in and we were able to have three sets of eyes.  Also, having three people let us be very organized about what we saw, learned, and visited!  Every year at the PPAI Expo is a great experience and 2019 certainly did not disappoint.

 

 

Preparing for Year Ahead with the 2019 PPAI Expo

2019 PPAI ExpoWe love that the PPAI Expo is at the beginning of the year because it allows us to see the latest and greatest products while our clients are preparing marketing strategies for the year ahead.  We have projects on the horizon for clients and, knowing that, we were able to connect the right products with the coming projects.  

 

 

 

What We Saw at the 2019 PPAI Expo

2019 PPAI Expo 2019 PPAI ExpoTech promotional products have been popular for a while and this year was no exception.  Wireless chargers for phones are all the rage.  They are easy to brand and everyone needs a phone charger.  The upside of a promotional wireless phone charger is that it will likely be used often so your brand will constantly be in front of whoever receives your promotional product.  Additionally, we saw some cool octopus-style charging cords that can charge multiple devices, of different kinds (smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc.), at once.

 

 

Our Takeaways from the 2019 PPAI Expo

2019 PPAI ExpoThe best part about the 2019 PPAI Expo is not necessarily the event itself, but all that we learn and take home to our clients.  We are most excited about a movement in our industry called PromoCares.  With PromoCares, all of our clients have access to supplies in our industry that give back to others in some way.  If you’ve read our blog before, you know that we believe strongly in not just connecting the dots for our clients but serving the community in which we live and leveraging the power of our clients to support organizations that give back. 

We cannot wait to share all that we learned at the conference with our clients.  If you are planning your 2019 marketing calendar or are ready to plan your next promotional products campaign, we at Connect the Dots would love to meet with you. We would be happy to share with you about the latest and greatest products in our industry and how you can utilize promotional products to promote your business and encourage brand loyalty.

07Jan/19

2019 PPAI Expo

2019 PPAI Expo

2019 PPAI EXPOIt’s the beginning of a new year and that also means it is PPAI Expo time!  The entire Connect the Dots team – Karie, Marcie, & Kim – is headed to the 2019 PPAI Expo and we couldn’t be more excited to attend.  We have been attending this event for a long time for a good reason – its the biggest and best event in the promotional products industry.  PPAI describes what to expect at the 2019 PPAI Expo, “The PPAI Expo is the premier trade show for the promotional products industry. It’s the longest-running, best-attended, biggest event of the year. It takes place January 13-17, 2019 in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you’re in the promotional products industry, come experience extraordinary at The PPAI Expo…Serving as the yearly launch pad for both suppliers and distributors, The PPAI Expo brings more than 12,000 distributors from nearly 4,000 companies together under one roof for the five-day event. The PPAI Expo features more than 1,200 exhibiting companies showcasing tens of thousands of promotional products in nearly a million square feet of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, the fifth largest convention center in the U.S.”


What Connect the Dots Will Be Doing at the 2019 PPAI Expo

There is so much to see and learn at the PPAI Expo every year.  And, not only that, but we get to network with industry peers, catch up with old friends, and just have a great time!  We will also be taking classes because trends, regulations, products, product safety, and industry standards change every year.  We love to learn about the latest and greatest products or marketing tools so that we can bring those ideas back to our clients.

How the 2019 PPAI Expo Will Prepare Us for the Year Ahead

2019 PPAI ExpoAt the 2019 PPAI Expo we will be meeting with vendors and other industry peers.  It is a time of negotiating the best prices on the best products for our clients. But, another important topic we will be discussing this year is the potential new tariffs that may dramatically impact the promotional products industry.  The proposed increase would change the tariff rate from 20% to 25% – a huge change. If the tariff increase is enacted, it is highly likely that prices will go significantly for promotional products which will certainly impact our customers.  The deadline is in March so there will likely be a lot of strategy discussion for various potential scenarios.  We can’t wait to learn, discuss, and have fun at the 2019 PPAI Expo!  We will be sharing a recap of the experience once we return.  In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

27Sep/18

8 Fun School Spirit Promotional Products to Show Your School Pride!

Get in the School Spirit with Promotional Products!

We all love to root for our favorite home team, represent our alma mater with pride, or show off our school colors!  Being a part of a school community is fun but the fun can be further enhanced with school spirit promotional items.  Whether you are preparing for ‘back-to-school,’ have a school spirit shop, a big homecoming game, athletic events, academic events, or just want to represent your school with pride every day, there are a wide array of promotional products that will excellently represent your school spirit.

Give Consumers What They Want & Foster School Loyalty with Promotional Products

School spirit promotional products never go out of style.  And, even if there are extras you can always give them away as a gesture of goodwill or reward for an achievement, or you could sell them in your school spirit shop! PPAI points out that smart young consumers (high school and college students, for example) are eager to be on trend while representing their school spirit during their school years and as alumni as well, “With more than 20 million students roaming U.S. college campuses this fall, building brand loyalty among them seems as easy as a course in underwater basketweaving. But the tastes and opinions of these savvy young consumers are as diverse as their backgrounds, so campaigns need to be thoughtful, targeted and on trend…Tote bags and backpacks, including inexpensive drawstring bags, are popular as well, she says. “Totes are used to carry stuff at events; backpacks are given out at orientation to carry books and laptops; drawstring bags are used to advertise events.” Rounding out the top three for Larick’s clients are portable drinkware options. “Disposable water bottles are being banned on many campuses we work with,” she says. “Students often carry water bottles and thermal coffee mugs around campus.” School spirit continues to live on for many alumni, particularly those who participated in campus organizations such as sports teams, fraternities and sororities.”  Custom school spirit promotional products will show off your school pride in style, provide traveling marketing opportunities for more people to learn about your school, serve many helpful purposes, and ultimately – they are a lot of fun!  

8 Fun School Spirit Promotional Products
  1. Drawstring Bag
      • Every kid can use a drawstring bag to tote their gym clothes, shoes, books, or other items!
  1. Cups or Tumblers
      • Everyone in the family will love having a custom school spirit cup or tumbler!
  1. Sports Ball
      • Whether you opt to customize a football, basketball, soccer ball, baseball or volleyball – custom school balls are great gifts! Give them to school athletic team members, students or families!
  1. Pens & Pencils
      • Pens and pencils are necessary school writing tools. They are also some of the most inexpensive promotional products! These budget-friendly school spirit promotional products are a great choice!
  1. Notebooks
      • Jot down class notes in style or just have a handy notebook at the ready with a custom logo notebook.
  1. Lanyards
      • Most schools today require student ID cards or badge.  A custom logo lanyard is not only spreading school spirit but a helpful accessory to promote school security!
  1. Hats
      • Hats are a staple in the promotional product industry, and for good reason – everybody loves a great hat!  It is the easiest and most convenient way to represent your favorite school while also keeping the sun out of your eyes!
  1. Stadium Seats or Cushions
      • Cheering on your school team can sometimes last hours but that doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable!  Sit on a customized school spirit stadium seat or cushion!

Connect the Dots Can Customize Your School Spirit Promotional Products!

At Connect the Dots Promotions, we recently had the opportunity to work with Scottsdale Christian Academy on their school spirit promotional products and we can’t wait to see them in action at their 2018 Homecoming football game! Go team go!

10Jun/18

4 Kids Promotional Products You Should Customize for Marketing

All it takes is one look at advertising on television, apps and social media to see that promoting to kids is a good idea.  Any time you can gain favor with a child you will probably gain favor with their parents as well.  And, it is those parents that have the buying power.  Even if your brand is not necessarily geared towards children (or not even remotely), it is likely that a good percentage of your clients have children.  If you custom brand products specifically geared towards children, particularly products they are likely to use, it is just another effective way to keep your brand in front of clients and reinforce brand recall.  The more your brand is in front of clients the more likely they are to come to you the next time they need your product or service.  Additionally, if you host a kid-friendly event, run a school, daycare, gym, camp, or anything else where kids may be members, students or just participate, having branded products for children is always a good idea.  Below are 4 fun kids promotional products that would look great with your custom branding on them.

4 Kids Promotional Products You Should Customize for Marketing

  1. Color Changing Cups
      • These 17oz cups are fun, easy to customize, and are something every kid will want to use every day!  Think of the marketing potential of having this cup sit on your client’s table every day!  The cups change color when you put a cold beverage in them and your kids will be amazed at their coloring changing power!
  1. Stress YoYos
      • Fun and multi-purpose!  What more could you want in a promotional product?  They can be squeezed like a normal stress ball or they can be flung around like a bungee.  Kids (and adults!) love them and they look great with a logo printed on them.  They come in different athletic ball styles also they make a great gift for sporting events, field days, kids camps, etc.
  1. Youth Sunglasses
      • Everyone needs an extra pair of sunglasses and what is more fun for kids than a colorful pair of sunglasses?  These are great for any event, for medical or dental practices that see children, school events, fundraisers, fun runs, or any other event you can imagine.  They are in a smaller size to ensure they can fit a child’s head and serve as a great mobile marketing tool since your brand will travel with them wherever they are worn.
  1. Kites
      • Flying a kite is a favorite pastime for children for as long as anyone can remember.  What is better than grabbing kite on a windy day and watching it twirl around.  And, your brand will sore through the air, reminding the child and their parents of your generous, fun and unique gift while creating priceless memories.
30Jan/18

2018 PPAI Expo Recap – Connect the Dots Promotions

Connect the Dots at the 2018 PPAI ExpoAttending the 2018 PPAI Expo

The team at Connect the Dots Promotions was excited to attend the 2018 PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It was a fun and thrilling event, as always.  And, we are so excited to share what we saw and experienced.

If you are not familiar with the PPAI Expo, it is a promotional product industry expo.  PPAI Expo explains why the event is one of the industry’s largest events and the 2018 PPAI Expo attracted so many people, “In 2018 The PPAI Expo brought more than 12,000 distributors from nearly 4,000 companies together under one roof for the five-day event.The PPAI Expo features more than 1,200 exhibiting companies showcasing more than a quarter million products over 1,000,000 square feet of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the fifth largest convention center in the U.S. Serving as the yearly launch pad for both suppliers and distributors, The PPAI Expo provided a forum for all to connect, experience new products, network and conduct strategic business meetings. Engaging all stakeholders in one venue, it remains the single most important event of the year for the promotional products industry worldwide.”

What We Saw at the 2018 PPAI Expo

2018 PPAI ExpoThis year there were new products and new branding ideas that will inspire us as we continue to serve our clients this year.  One big theme that we think is incredibly important is a holistic approach to branded material.  The idea behind it is that rather than ordering different, disjointed branded promotional products, you choose a holistic approach to branding for a more cohesive experience for the end user.

One of the best ways to successfully implement a holistic approach to branding is to anticipate the year ahead.  In doing so you can strategically plan your marketing calendar accordingly.  This will give you time to determine your marketing priorities and order your branded items in advance.  By planning in advance you will have time to develop different marketing concepts for both employees and customers. Finally, you can find ways to make them integrate into one cohesive marketing strategy.

In addition to holistic marketing, we saw some fun promotional products.  These could be great ways to recognize employees, use as loyalty incentives, or to give as gifts to clients/customers.

2018 PPAI Expo SpeakerFor your high-end client, as a loyalty incentive, or as a nice employee recognition gift, you cannot go wrong with custom branded speakers.

 

2018 PPAI Expo Boost Ball ChairWant to add a fun layer of branding to your branded environment at a trade show – why not order some custom inflatable boost balls for people to sit on while they experience your brand and products.

 

 

2018 PPAI ExpoReady to recognize a “rockstar” client or employee?  These custom made record-themed promotional products are a fun and exciting way to do so!

Final Thoughts on the 2018 PPAI Expo Experience

We always love attending the PPAI Expo and the 2018 PPAI Expo certainly did not disappoint.  There were so many new products and new ideas to experience at the Expo. And, best of all – we have brought that experience and inspiration home to our clients.  The PPAI Expo is also a great time to make industry connections, network, receive education, and more – and that is exactly what we did this year at the Expo.  We look forward to sharing what we learned with our clients throughout the year and can’t wait for the next PPAI Expo!