Tag Archives: Backpacks

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

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.

05Nov/18

Holiday Promotional Products & Branded Year-End Gifts

holiday promotional productsIt has come to the time of year known as the ‘holiday season’ and with that, as well as the end of the calendar year, comes a lot of celebration.  Everyone enjoys being appreciated and rewarded for a year of hard work and customer loyalty.  First up on the holiday agenda is Thanksgiving and that reminds us that we have a lot to be thankful for.  Within the business world, we are thankful for our business, thankful for our employees, thankful for our customers, thankful for our friends and partners in our industry.  And, it is exactly that thankful spirit that we want to channel when we order holiday promotional products or year-end promotional products to give as gifts.

While there are promotional products for any budget, this is the time of year to really impress employees and customers with your thankfulness for the previous year and get them excited for the year to come.  Regardless of what holidays you celebrate, there is always something to celebrate this time of year, so we have broken down holiday promotional products into 3 primary categories to help you choose your end-of-year gifts.  The possibilities are endless so if you need help choosing or ordering your business holiday promotional products, Connect the Dots Promotions has the experience and knowledge you need to help you narrow down your choice and get your products ordered in time for the holiday season!

Holiday Promotional Products

Holiday Apparel Promotional Products
Promotional Jacket or Pullover
  • Everyone wants to be warm and cozy during the cold winter months and what better way to stay warm than with a cozy, branded jacket or pullover.  A custom branded jacket or pullover is not only functional and very useful but a great marketing tool because it will share your brand wherever the wearer goes.
Promotional Hat
      • Everyone needs a great hat and with a stylish branded hat, your employee or customer will be happy to represent your brand on their head!
Promotional T-Shirt
      • You can never have too many t-shirts and a branded t-shirt can be a handy promotional product.  You can encourage employees to wear their company shirt to work or company events and you can encourage customers to wear your shirt to your events or as part of a loyalty program.
Holiday Food Promotional Products
Promotional Chocolate, Popcorn, Nuts, Oh My!
      • It is pretty hard to go wrong giving someone a yummy treat! Whether you want to give a promotional food item to employees or customers, there is a myriad of options at a wide array of price points to accommodate any budget.  Food is always a crowd pleaser and they will remember who was so generous while they happily snack the day away!
Holiday Gadget Promotional Products
Promotional Tech
      • Everyone loves technology.  Anyone can always use a (or another!) PopSocket or portable Bluetooth speaker. You can print your brand right on it, a special message, a name or anything else you can think of and give the gift of technology this holiday season.
Promotional Water Bottle/Mug/Tumbler
      • Reusable water bottles, mugs, and tumblers are not only useful but eco-friendly.  They reduce waste and save money so they are already great, but once they are branded with your company logo, they will be even better because they will be a mobile marketing tool!
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!

25Jun/18

High ROI on Promotional Products

What Type of ROI Can Promotional Products Offer?

When choosing marketing and promotional products, it is common to wonder what the ROI (return on investment) will be.  While this is understandable, there is no set formula for what works best in marketing.  It is impossible to predict what a promotional product’s “ROI” will be, particularly because in marketing there are different types of promotional product ROI.  To label a return on investment as only monetary would be significantly simplifying the impact that promotional products can have for your business.

What Exactly Constitutes ‘ROI’?

First, it is important to establish what ROI can mean for your business.  There is obviously monetary ROI – when a promotional product converts to a sale.  But, promotional products can also foster goodwill and enhance and extend your branding efforts.  Think about the marketing real estate of someone’s desk.  If someone sits at their desk every day then that is tremendous opportunity to market your brand if you can take up even a small portion of that real estate.  Calendars, notepads, mousepads, mugs, Bluetooth speakers, pens, and more that sit on everyone’s desks can be custom branded. Each time that person sits down at their desk they will see your logo.  This creates brand recognition/recall, fosters goodwill because they remember that you gave a gift, and may just be the reminder they need when they need your product or service to give you a call.  That is tremendous and diverse ROI!

Diversify Your Definition of ROI to See the True Potential of Promotional Products!

In addition to utilizing someone’s desk real estate, you can strategically use promotional products as creative marketing tools that create brand recognition and help you grow your social media presence.  Branded wearable promotional products are great to hand out at events.  You can encourage people to snap a pic and tag you so that they can win a prize.  Another fun way to increase social media engagement is to encourage people to snap a picture with your logo any time they see it.  For example, if they are out at the bank or a local restaurant and see your branded pen on the counter, they can take a picture of it and tag your social media profile to win a prize.  This enhances the ROI on a relatively small investment in a promotional pen and creates a grassroots marketing movement for your brand.  When discussing branded promotional product ROI, it is important to look at all the different ROI types and potential with any given item so that you can maximize your marketing budget!

11Jan/18

Connect the Dots Is Attending the 2018 PPAI Expo

2018 PPAI Expo: January 15-18, 2018

2018 PPAI ExpoThe PPAI Expo 2018 is this weekend and Karie, Marcie, and Kim could not be more excited to attend this year’s event.  We always love attending this event because it is a great time to learn about the latest and most exciting promotional products, receive industry education, and enjoy a time connecting with other industry professionals.

This year, the PPAI Expo is going all out, “In 2018 The PPAI Expo brought more than 12,000 distributors from more than 4,500 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.”

2018 Promotional Products

We will be on the 2018 PPAI Expo floor on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you have heard of a product or marketing tool or are just looking for something in particular, let us know!  We will go “shopping” at the show just for you!

Attending the PPAI Expo 2018 is going to be a great time to see the newest promotional products and marketing tools.  Thousands of suppliers attend the event and bring products they want to highlight or that are a current trend.  There is over one million square feet of trade show exhibit hall and hundreds of products being showcased at the event including new promotional products, green promotional products, incentive promotional products. There is literally every promotional product you could want or need, for every industry! Additionally, there are also a wide array of promotional product price points for any marketing budget.

 

2018 PPAI Expo Education

In addition to looking at thousands of new 2018 promotional products, we will also be receiving education.  Monday will be a day filled with education for Connect the Dots.  There are many opportunities to gain industry knowledge and keynote luncheons with outstanding speakers.  It is always nice to gain additional industry insight from fellow marketing industry professionals.

The popular saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” will not be true of our trip to the 2018 PPAI Expo in Vegas. We are excited to bring back everything we learn at the PPAI Expo so that we can continue to provide our clients with the best service and promotional products available in 2018!

12Jul/17

Promotional Products and Spiritwear for Schools and Universities

Create School Spirit with Custom School Promotional Products and Spiritwear!

It may feel like summer has just begun but it’s already time to start thinking about your “back to school”! And we don’t just mean school supplies, we mean school marketing.  Every type of school or any size needs promotional products to encourage school spirit.  There are many different kinds of school spiritwear and school promotional products.  These products pump students, parents, and school sports fans for the new school year!  Promotional products and spiritwear generate school spirit, goodwill, excitement, loyalty, and more!  Sell your school promotional products and spiritwear in the school shop. And, give your custom promotional products away for exciting promotions or to alumni and donors as a gift for donations!

school promotional products apparelThere are certain school promotional products and spiritwear that are great for any type of school.  For example, t-shirts are a great promotional item for any school. They can help entice parents to join an elementary school PTO or PTA which all schools need. And, promotional apparel is great for teenagers in high school or young adults in college.  Parents are always proud to represent their child’s school so a school cannot go wrong ordering school t-shirts.  Additionally, promotional pens are useful for any school because people always need pens!  And, as an added bonus, if the pens get left somewhere it will help promote the school to new people!  To continue, bookmarks make a great promotional product because they are inexpensive yet useful.

school promotional products stadium seatThere are many promotional products or spiritwear items that work well for high schools or colleges (though many would still be great for elementary schools as well!).  If your school has an athletic program, great spiritwear is a must!  Hats, t-shirts, and sweatshirts are some of the most popular.  But, don’t forget the fans and tailgating crowd!  Custom printed logo folding chairs, seat cushions, umbrellas, misting fans, water bottles, or coolers are sure to be crowd-pleasers.

Additionally, when ordering promotional products for high schools or universities it is a great idea to stock the school shop with many “school staples.”  These can include promotional notebooks, logo pens, calculators, rulers, tote bags, backpacks, highlighters, sticky notes, staplers, flash drives, coffee mugs, and more!  Every student needs many or all of these things so why not provide them an opportunity to purchase them with your school’s logo on them or give them out as gifts to students!

school promotional products earbudsFinally, promotional products and spiritwear do not have to be all serious or studious, have some fun!  Some fun promotional products for schools or universities include logo sunglasses, footballs, Frisbees, headphones/earbuds, stress ball, mascot plushes, or phone charger/power bank.  Seeing students wear spiritwear or use custom promotional products creates an atmosphere of loyalty, fun, and excitement.  Prospective students will want to be a part of that kind of community, donors will want to give donations, students will feel like they are part of something fun and exciting, and parents will want to participate.  Contact Connect the Dots to order your school or university promotional products now to be prepared for the new school year!