Tag Archives: Holiday Gifts

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!

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.

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.

06Dec/18

Connect the Dots Works with SRP Vets & PC Links to Provide ‘Cookies for Troops’

Connect the Dots Works with Local Arizona Charitable Organization to Provide “Cookies for Troops”

Connect the Dots Cookies for TroopsAt Connect the Dots, we believe it is important to give back to our community and those that serve our community and nation.  We were so thrilled to participate in “Cookies for Troops,” which is an annual holiday cookie drive for our troops.  The holidays are a time for gathering with friends and family but many of our service men and women will be spending the holidays overseas, apart from their friends and family.  They do so in service to our country and by sending them a holiday care package it is a small way to say thank you for their dedicated service and send a little holiday cheer their way!

Working Together with PC Links & SRP Vets to Organize “Cookies for Troops”

Connect the Dots Cookies for TroopsIn partnership with PC Links and SRP Vets, we gathered and packaged homemade cookies to send to service men and women overseas.  Not only is the the collection of, packaging, and transportation of the cookies to troops organized but, if there are specific service members that participants or donators know, cookies can be sent directly to them!

Thanking U.S. Service Men & Women Overseas with “Cookies for Troops”

On December 3rd, we gathered with SRP Vets and other volunteers to fill 44 boxes with homemade cookies, holiday cards, and other essentials.  The packages were shipped out December 3rd and 4th to the dedicated service men and women overseas for whom we are so thankful!

Some More Pictures from the Fun Event:

Connect the Dots Cookies for Troops Connect the Dots Cookies for Troops Connect the Dots Cookies for Troops

THANKS TO PC Links and SRP Vets FOR PUTTING TOGETHER “COOKIES FOR TROOPS!”

03Dec/18

WBEC-West Winter Celebration & Impact Awards

WBEC-West Winter Celebration & Impact Awards

WBEC-West Winter Celebration & Impact AwardsDecember is a month filled with celebration, gathering with friends and colleagues old and new,  looking back on the previous year, and looking forward to the year to come.  This week Connect the Dots Promotions has the honor of hosting the WBEC-West Winter Celebration & Impact Awards. WBEC-West is a regional partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a coalition of corporations, WBEs and regionally focused women’s business organizations. We are so proud to be a part of this organization and are thrilled to be hosting this year’s Winter Celebration & Impact Awards.

Giving Back to Diaper Bank of Central Arizona

WBEC-West Diaper Bank of Central ArizonaAt Connect the Dots, we strongly believe in giving back to the community in which we live and are so happy that the event has partnered with Diaper Bank of Central Arizona to gather diapers for those in need.  So, if you are attending the event and would like to donate, please donate packs of child or adult diapers that are new or unopened/unused.  Also, there is an urgent need for size 6 diapers.  

WBEC-West Winter Celebration & Impact Awards Recipient: Karie Cowden!

WBEC-West Karie CowdenIn addition to having a great time at the event, we are thrilled to announce that Connect the Dots’ very own owner, Karie Cowden, will be the recipient of the WBEC-West Impact Award which recognizes the work Karie has done for WBEC-West and the WBE Community.  Wow, what a tremendous honor!

Celebrate with Entertainment from DanceMotion: The North Pole Flamingo

WBEC-West Dance Motion North Pole FlamingoLast but not least, the WBEC-West Winter Celebration & Impact Awards will be filled with fun, food, and holiday cheer that will be enhanced by DanceMotion. DanceMotion is one of the Valley’s premiere youth dance companies and they will be presenting a performance from their show, North Pole Flamingo! This is sure to be great entertainment you will not want to miss!

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!