Tag Archives: Promotional Products

19Nov/19

Connect the Dots Invests in Continuing Education and Certifications 

Connect the Dots Invests in Continuing Education and Certifications 

At Connect the Dots Promotions, we believe strongly that the best service can only be provided to clients when we are continually striving to learn and improve.  Continuing education and certifications keep us well-informed of industry standards, new technology, creative marketing strategies, and help us develop valuable skills and knowledge that we can pass on to our clients.  The entire Connect the Dots team is invested in our industry and we have recently had the opportunity to do just that through continuing education and certifications.

Marcie Becomes TAS Certified with PPAI

Marcie is a valued member of the Connect the Dots team and recently became TAS certified through PPAI (Promotional Products Association International).  PPAI explains what it means to get your Trained Advertising Specialist (TAS) certificate, “The PPAI Trained Advertising Specialist (TAS) Certificate is an initiative of PPAI Professional Development aimed at providing promotional products professionals—who are new to the industry—with a source for finding answers to their questions and a plethora of information about the industry.”  We are very proud of Marcie as she keeps working to provide outstanding service to our clients and keeps working towards the next level certification – CAS (Certified Advertising Specialist).  Karie is also proud to be a certified MAS (Master Advertising Specialist) through PPAI.

Karie Participates in the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative

The Small Business Administration or SBA is dedicated to helping Americans start, build, and grow businesses.  Recently, Karie took the opportunity to participate in SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative in which she participated in a series of intensive executive-level educational and training opportunities with the intention of accelerating the growth of high-potential small businesses in America’s underserved cities.  For this training, experiences from advisors and business leaders in urban communities across the country were used to inform the curriculum.  Specialized areas of training include growth strategy planning, financing and access to capital, government contracting, and CEO mentoring.  Karie is constantly learning and staying on the cutting edge of all things business, marketing, and promotional products and this Emerging Leaders Initiative e was certainly in line with that.  The initiative prepares and encourages small businesses to move to a new level and emerge as a self-sustaining business that creates jobs and builds communities – something Connect the Dots Promotions is all about!

 

30Oct/19

5 Holiday Promotional Products for Employees (That They Really Want!)

The holidays are a great time to show employees how much you appreciate their loyalty and dedicated service to your company.  But, we’ve all been on the receiving end of some terrible holiday promotional products and unwanted holiday gifts from an employer.  They go in the desk drawer and never see the light of day again until it is time for spring cleaning, during which they often end up in the trash.  Gasp!  What a waste!   Don’t waste your precious marketing dollars or employee budget on tired, unwanted promotional products.  Not only are promotional products a great way to say ‘thank you,’ but when used correctly, they can also be an excellent marketing tool!  Get a little creative with your employee gifts and keep them motivated with these fun and highly useful employee holiday promotional products!

1.  Power Bank

We have all experienced the dread of our technology running out of battery.  Whether it is your phone, tablet, or laptop – when you are on-the-go, you need power!  But, power may not always be readily available or you may have forgotten that trusty cord to connect your device at home.  Fear not!  A wireless power bank to the rescue!  Whether you are in a theme park, airport, in the car, hiking, or anywhere else, a ready power supply can be right at your fingertips with a power bank.  

2.  Bluetooth Speaker

Employee Promotional Products A portable Bluetooth speaker keeps the music playing wherever you are!  While Bluetooth speakers are not necessarily new (they’ve been a trend the last few years), they are one of those promotional products that never go out of style.  Can anyone have too many Bluetooth speakers?  We think not!  And, anywhere your employees use that Bluetooth speaker, they will see your branding and be reminded of your generous gift and they will also show off your brand wherever they go and use the speaker.

3.  Backpack

Employee Promotional ProductsA backpack is a hot gift right now because there are so many cool ways to brand a unique backpack that is useful for storing a laptop, taking to the gym, taking on a hike, or toting your things on a flight.  Gone are the days of basic, boring backpacks!  There are many cool new styles, including canvas bags that look like they came straight off the racks at a trendy local shop.

4.  Fitness Ball or Athletic Bands

One of the hottest themes in promotional products in 2019 (and we think this will not change anytime soon), is gifts that promote health and wellness.  Something like an inflatable fitness ball, massaging balls for sore muscles, or athletic bands for stretching or exercising at home or on-the-go.

5.  USB Adapter 

Employee Promotional ProductsWe live in a digital era and we all need to charge all of the technology we use every single day.  Not only does that leave us with a lot of cords but it leaves us trying to find adequate outlets and chargers available for all our devices.  A USB adapter can make your charging life much easier by multiplying the number of available ports and removing the complication of finding the right chargers for devices because you can simply use the USB end of your charging cord and plug it right in!  Your employees will be thanking you when they start enjoying the convenience of a USB adapter with your logo on it!

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!

17Sep/19

2019 WBEC-West 16th Annual Strategic Procurement Opportunity Conference

2019 WBEC-West 16th Annual Strategic Procurement Opportunity Conference

WBEC-West 16th Annual Strategic Procurement Opportunity Conference


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

2019 WBEC Conference Highlights

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

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

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

09Sep/19

New Promotional Products & Technology at the AZPPA Exhibitor Show

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

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

About the AZPPA Exhibitor Show

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

Exciting New Promotional Products and Technology!

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

How You Can Use NFC Technology for Business Marketing

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

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

20Aug/19

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

Should You Be Using a Company Online Store?

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

Curate a Strategic Company Online Store

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

Let Employees (and Customers!) Show Their Company Pride

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

Start a Company Online Store with Connect the Dots Promotions

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

09Jul/19

Connect the Dots’ New Client Offerings

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

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

Presenting Your Promotional Products In a New Way

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

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

Join Us in Giving Back with PromoCares

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

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

20May/19

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

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

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

Trump Administration Proposed 25% Tariff Will Impact Everyone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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