Category Archives: Promotions

05Jan/21

Virtual Event Swag – A Hot Promotional Product Trend in 2021

virtual event swagEveryone enjoys getting something for free – no matter what happens in the world, that is simply a truth that will never change. When it comes to swag and promotional products, you want to turn your clients and employees into brand ambassadors while rewarding their loyalty with something they can actually use and enjoy.  Rather than simply sending out swag, why not incorporate it into a virtual event of some kind?  This is a fun way to foster employee goodwill or increase brand awareness and loyalty.  There are many ways to send fun swag out in advance so that everyone involved in an event has everything they need to participate in the activities.  

Creating themed baskets and swag for your virtual event enables you to better engage attendees, humanize the virtual experience, and extend the positive experience far beyond the event! You can customize themed boxes or baskets with any traditional swag items just as though they were attending a trade show or other event.  And, you can think beyond the daytime events to the breaks and social events where fun networking and bonding happens.

virtual event swagA fun way to better humanize a virtual event is with a virtual coffee break or happy hour. Included in their box that you send in advance, you could include a branded coffee mug and coffee, a bottle of wine with branded wine glasses.  Throw a virtual bingo night and send out bingo cards, a marker, and some delicious snacks!  The possibilities are endless and can be tailored to your unique brand identity and event type.  Let the creative and fun team at Connect the Dots help you design an event with a swag box or basket that will enhance the experience and create a lasting positive impact for your business. Want to start looking for some fun product inspiration?  We’ve made it easy for you to search ideas right on our website – CLICK HERE to start your search!

15Dec/20

How to Maximize Your 2021 Marketing Budget

To say everyone is looking forward to a new year is an understatement. And, while we would all like to say goodbye to the challenges we faced in 2020, we must learn from the challenges to be in a better and more strategic position in 2021. Many businesses saw major budget cuts this year and many marketing departments will be working with a smaller budget than they may be used to next year. With that in mind, it is wise to start strategic marketing planning now so that you can optimize your budget while getting the highest return on your investment.

It is a good idea to look back at 2020 and 2019’s marketing spend and which marketing initiatives were most successful. This will help you narrow down how you want to funnel your budget efficiently. Determining what your budgeting priorities are will help you be more prepared for unforeseen shifts in lifestyle, community, corporate culture, world culture, and consumer attitudes – something we have seen a lot of in 2020.

When looking specifically at things like promotional products and swag, now is the perfect time to be creative and intentional with your branding and marketing message. To do this while optimally using your marketing budget, it is important to start early and order early. This will allow you to be certain you will be able to get what you want, in the timeframe that you need it, for the best price. When you wait until the last minute you risk there being low or no stock of something you need, increased prices for rush orders, and other obstacles that are best avoided if possible.

To build brand loyalty with your customers, acquire new customers, and foster positive relationships with your employees, it is time to learn from this year and think outside the box. While social distancing and staying at home is still heavily encouraged, now is the time to consider how you can enhance your digital presence through employee and customer online experiences. For example, there are many ways to support digital events both digitally and physically – themed swag, baskets, kits, or other items can be delivered prior to digital events to ensure everyone has what they need for the event. Your 2021 marketing budget, whether large or small, can be focused and maximized to achieve your marketing objectives and hav4e a successful 2021 with strategic planning in advance.

13Oct/20

Strategic Corporate Marketing During a Pandemic

While we all try to figure out what a new “normal” looks like during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, business still goes on.  Many businesses have struggled to rapidly switch to remote work, quarantines, and pivoting their business models to meet customer needs.  With the majority of large gatherings, expos, and other events being canceled, virtual conferences and events have become popular.  Virtual happy hours are all the rage to stay connected with co-workers.  And marketing tactics have had to adjust to being able to reach clients in a saturated online market.  Companies that have found strategic ways to market their business through these trying times are poising themselves to be successful through the pandemic and long after it ends.

Anyone that manages corporate marketing for their business is probably experiencing a common trend right now – dwindled staff and support, along with a limited marketing budget.  Determining the right way to spend your marketing budget is more important than ever before.  Working with a creative marketing strategist can help you determine the right types of marketing experiences and/or products that will best suit your marketing objectives and budget.  Strategic budget allocation does not mean that you have to waste money on a branded product that someone will throw away.  Fundraisers, creative customer promotional products, and custom products for staff to show appreciation all foster a sense of community that most people are longing for in this time of social distancing.

Remind customers that you are surviving and thriving through the pandemic as a business, and remind your employees that you know how hard they are working in a unique environment with a thoughtful and unique marketing campaign.  When you work with an experienced marketing professional that is filled with endless creative ideas, it is easy to find a way to craft a strategic marketing campaign, market your virtual or in-person (when possible) event, and show loyalty and support which all ultimately does something so important during this time – creates a positive community experience centered on your brand.

11Mar/20

2 Creative Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day with Promotional Products

Teachers are molding the minds of the next generation and often doing so with little pay or recognition.  With Teacher Appreciation Day quickly approaching (May 5th, 2020), we wanted to give you plenty of time to consider the way in which you would like to show your appreciation to the teachers in your school in a thoughtful, sustainable, and economic way.  

The job is not easy and yet, teachers persist, and at Connect the Dots, we believe it is important to recognize that kind of dedication.  Who doesn’t want to show a little extra appreciation for the hard-working teachers in our lives?  And, while we are sure that the majority of teachers are running on a heavy dose of caffeine daily, they have probably received their fair share of mugs as a thank you gift.  While the gesture is still thoughtful, your teachers probably do not need another ceramic mug to add to the collection. Fortunately, there are many creative, thoughtful, and economical ways to show the teachers in your life that you appreciate them that they will actually use and love!  Recognizing the hard work of teachers is also an excellent way to foster goodwill and school spirit while reinforcing and encouraging continued hard work.

2 Creative Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day with Promotional Products

1.  Music Accessories: Bluetooth Speakers & Wireless Earbuds

Spending all day in a classroom full of kids means listening to A LOT of noise.  Show your teachers you see that being a teacher isn’t always easy and let them unplug with a little music.  Bluetooth speakers are a great option because teachers can take them with them wherever they go and they are also handy in the classroom!  And, wireless earbuds will come in handy for teachers when they just need a little break from the noise.  They are a great option because they are so versatile and useful while still being economical and fun!

2.  Tech/Sports Accessories:  Backpacks & Duffle Bags

Today’s technology-driven world means that most teachers are transporting a laptop, tablet, and/or other technology in their bag on a daily basis.  Make it easy, convenient, and a fun way to show school spirit with logo backpacks or logo duffle bags in a modern and stylish design that teachers will happily carry with them!  Customizing the bags with your logo or school color makes it both stylish and an excellent marketing tool.

20Oct/19

Use Unique Promotional Products to Stand Out This Holiday Season (and Beyond!)

Use Promotional Products to Stand Out This Holiday Season (and Beyond!)

Example: Give out a yoga mat for “International Day of Yoga”

The holiday season is upon us and for most businesses, that means giving gifts to thank customers and employees for the year of loyalty, hard work, and continued patronage.  Giving a thoughtful gift is a great opportunity for a business to make a memorable impact and showcase appreciation while also extending a business’ brand awareness.  If you have been in business for some time, you have likely been on the receiving end of a holiday or end-of-year promotional product gift.  And, while we are not here to hate on a delicious holiday-themed food basket, we want to encourage you to get a little more outside the box.  

Why Blend in When You Can Stand Out?

Sure, you could give s traditional holiday gift and it will be appreciated.  But, how memorable will another tin of popcorn really be for your customers or employees?  Delicious? Obviously. Memorable? Maybe not.  You are utilizing a portion of your marketing budget to promotional products so why not take the opportunity to stand out and get the best return on investment with your holiday gifts!!

Who Said You Can Only Give a ‘Christmas’ or ‘Holiday’ Gift?!

The answer? Nobody!  Showing your appreciation to employees or clients is always a welcome gift, no matter the time of year or occasion.  And, in fact, it is probably far more memorable to give a fun, themed gift that is creative rather than getting lost in a sea of other similar promotional products during the holidays.  When it comes to optional holidays or occasions for promotional product gifting, there are endless possibilities.  

Example: You could give Bluetooth speakers for National Compliment Day and the message/compliment could be “You Rock!”

 

There are, of course, traditional holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, and more!  But, what about something even more unique and memorable, such as World Kindness Day (November 13th), America Recycles Day (November 15th), Small Business Saturday (November 30th, National Hat Day (January 15th), National Compliment Day (January 24th), Love Your Pet Day (February 20th), National Napping Day (March 11th), International Day of Yoga (June 21st), and more!  Imagine the fun and creativity you could have choosing fun and useful promotional products for such holidays.  And, by getting outside the box and standing out from the pack, your gift will be more appreciated and memorable. 

Show Your Brand Personality with Strategically-Timed Promotional Products

Example: Give out a branded blanket for “National Napping Day”

Interact with your clients and employees in a unique and fun way by showcasing your brand’s fun and creative spirit.  Custom promotional products that display your branding are an ideal way to extend brand awareness.  Further, every time those products are used, it keeps your brand in your customers’ minds, making them far more likely to turn to you when they need services or products that you offer.  Holiday promotional products, and food products, in particular, are a heavily saturated market. Maximize your marketing dollars and get the best ROI by choosing a creative gift or unique holiday to make your mark!  Not sure where to start?  At Connect the Dots, we LOVE to get creative and help our clients think outside the box so that their promotional products make the biggest impact possible!

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!

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.