Thursday, November 1, 2012

How To Use QR Codes Effectively

In today’s digital age, a significant number of consumers rely on technology to provide a convenience factor to every-day interactions and activities. Smartphones in particular provide a growing number of “apps” businesses can utilize as well as external gadgets like the credit card readers adapted for iPhones and iPads.

 Over the last few years, Quick Response (QR) Codes have seen a rise in popularity in the advertising sector. They have quickly gained recognition as an effective advertising strategy – beyond the convenience to the consumer, QR codes increase the conversion rate by coaxing prospects further down the conversion funnel without any delay or effort, bringing viewers to the advertiser’s site immediately, where a more targeted and detailed sales pitch can continue.

 It’s no doubt these codes are effective – but how can we use them effectively?
For starters, some websites you can use to shorten links for QR codes include Kaywa, a quick and easy resource to generate the link and QR code image; ScanLife, which covers the broadest number of mobile phones/smart phones as well as some very valuable analytics; and pbSmart Codes, which boasts a series of steps including custom mobile web-page design (linked from your QR code), mobile surveys and a function to track and monitor the success of your QR code marketing campaign.
As far as where to place your QR code, almost anything with a large enough space can work!
A QR code needs to be at least 1 ¼ inch x 1 ¼ inch to scan properly. For products, tech gadgets, apparel and drink ware all make sense - but don't just think products! Tradeshow displays and printed materials like newsletters work as well. Don't be afraid to get creative, though. QR codes on business cards, labels on food/drink/other items for sale, storefront displays, laptop stickers and t-shirts are just a few ideas.

Speaking of creativity, you can “hack” your QR code’s design with your own personal touch. Though their square shape can’t be altered, you can insert your own logo in the center (as popularized by the BBC’s use of QR codes) as well as images using image editing tools like Photoshop. Always be sure to test out your QR code before printing a few thousand copies!
You can also get creative and innovative with how you use QR codes. In the realm of social media, you can create mobile friendly landing pages with Facebook “like” buttons or lead them to your Twitter for a quick follow.

QR codes can also be linked to e-mail subscription pages (make sure the consumer knows that’s where they’re headed!), make phone calls, and generate text messages.

The name of the marketing game is engagement – QR codes allow you to engage your consumers in a variety of new, exciting and all-around convenient ways! They’re a short stop to a long-term marketing goal, one almost any business can use effectively.
Written by Molly Hedges, student NCSU

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cause Marketing

Every month in our calendar year hosts a number of causes and issue-related campaigns. Initiatives that educate the public and generate support for a good cause are becoming increasingly important parts of promoting a business.

“Cause-marketing”, as defined by, is a joint funding and promotional strategy in which a firm's sales are linked (and a percentage of the sales revenue is donated) to a charity or other public cause. However, unlike philanthropy, money spent in the cause-related marketing is considered an expense and is expected to show a return.

Businesses have been jumping aboard the cause-marketing band wagon lately, and for good reason. Social responsibility is an ever increasing value in our culture and marketing is taking note of its significance. Consumers who visit your websites and see your advertising want to know that you share their desire to make the world a better place by supporting an important cause.

The number of consumers who say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause has risen to 87 percent, a dramatic increase in recent years, according to a Cone Cause Evolution Survey.

Your company's challenge is to make your socially responsible efforts an undeniably valuable proposition for the cause or group you support, the community and your business. You can rise to the challenge and do so effectively with these tips:

1. Put some heart in it

Cause marketing is most successful when you and your employees are personally connected to and feel good about the help you're providing to your cause. Work with an organization you believe in - what matters most to you, your team and your customers? You'll work harder to make a difference when you're heart is in it.

2. Choose a related cause

An effective cause-marketing campaign often starts with the right affiliation. Look for a cause that relates to your company or its products as you go through the selection process. For example, Procter & Gamble's Olay brand skin-care line partnered with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery with a campaign goal of inspiring women to protect their skin from the sun. PR support yielded widespread broadcast, print and online coverage, helping the program attract more than 9,000 individuals for free skin-cancer screenings.

3. Contribute more than money

Cause-marketing values strive to go above and beyond simply writing a check by donating products or services as well, forming even stronger consumer associations between what you offer and the good work you do.

4. Formalize your partnership

To make your affiliation a win-win for everyone, work with the nonprofit of your choosing to define how it will help your business increase visibility, branding or company awareness. If the organization has a newsletter or other communications with its constituents, negotiate for opportunities to do joint promotions.

5. Mount a marketing campaign

Success in cause-marketing often means motivating an audience to take action, such as making a donation or participating in an event. You can reach and persuade the target group, while also raising awareness for your business and its commitment to social responsibility, by using a dedicated marketing campaign.

Types of Awareness Campaigns


Health: Cancer, ADHD, Autism, HIV/AIDS, childhood obesity, smoking

Safety: Fire prevention, poison control, texting while driving

Social: Workers rights, poverty, homelessness, crime prevention, anti-bullying

Environmental: Pollution, global warming, recycling, sustainability
                                                 Written by Molly Hedges, student NCSU

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Popular Showcase around the corner

It’s time for our popular 4th annual showcase. Clients love learning more about what works for other companies to attract and retain clients and employees. This year’s theme focuses on marketing as a team effort. Pick up your playbook of strategies ready to score during the remainder of 2012 as well as preparing your plays for 2013.

American made is hotter than ever and 8 of the lines featured have USA made products! Our popular NC based textile and woven company will be on hand again for top quality low cost high impact pieces across many industries. Are you looking for food gifts, calendars or greeting cards? No problem, plenty to sample. Additionally there will be some great choices for traditional holiday items and functional corporate gift ideas for office, travel or leisure.

There will be new hot product solutions for tradeshows, incentives, prospecting and on-site events such as training or tours. Tech items are a growing category that serves many demographics while creating solutions to challenges for upcoming marketing campaigns.

For the first time Sanmar, the largest apparel supplier in the industry, will be one hand with their complete line which includes wovens, polos, golf, work wear, safety, healthcare, tees, accessories, fleece, contemporary district, outerwear and brand names like Eddie Bauer, Ogio and Nike to name a few. Apparel and accessories are often an area that clients overlook for a source of gifts. Branded apparel and accessories are a simple way to provide a special client a specific item that reflects that client’s taste, interest and displays your brand. In a challenged economy many of our companies found that providing employees nice branded apparel was a great way to show appreciation as well as building brand awareness.

Are you looking for top requests such as writing instruments, drinkware, awards or bags? There will be 25 lines represented at the show providing both traditional and unique ideas for ways to increase your profits. Last year's event shown here was a huge boost to planning for success, contact Olivia to RSVP today; be ready to SCORE!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Capture Awareness at Halloween

Halloween is coming and with over 31 million kids out trick or treating this fall it's a perfect promote your business. It's also an opportunity to be a good neighbor to families providing a reflective safety Halloween bag for children with your company branding.

Don't forget that adults like treats too, consider Halloween boxes with baked goods or custom candies to your favorite clients as a way to stop by for a visit this fall.

Why should you distribute free Halloween bags?

  • As children go from door to door their bag is seen.
  • Concern for child safety will be remembered.
  • Bags made of reflective material keep children visible at night; some with safety tips.
How do you set up a distribution plan for Halloween bags?

Offer a safety tip on your website or blog encouraging parents to stop by your location for bags. Do you own a retail location? Start handing them out with purchase or create a contest on line for great costume ideas.
  • Consider assisting a day care or senior center, promote together to save costs and double your exposure!




Monday, September 17, 2012

Marketing With Case Studies

What is the benefit of a case study?

How about I answer that question with a question? What makes a great painting? The beauty of art is there is no one way to create a masterpiece. Understanding the basic principals and elements of design allow the viewer to experience art yet create their own perceptions. Some artists create with the intent to allow a variety of interpretation and discussion, while others have a purpose that is captured quickly by the viewer. In writing a case study the business might be presenting a very straight forward message or they may be attempting to provide an image of how a product or service was adapted to their client’s specific needs.

How to write a case study:

Define a character with problem/aka the client

Be Concise, Be engaging

Explain the problem, introduce the company

Account for how you've helped solve a problem

Describe the change or result

Wrap up with current state of affairs- our competitive advantage is how we helped solve the problem and result of allowing for a new direction or positive change.

How do we use case studies to grow our business? Internally at Promotional Partners we work with our team to highlight stories with partners that will inspire ideas for other clients in similar industries; you've probably read one on this blog site or recieved one as part of our on going partners brand education tips. While each client has unique promotions, there are common core needs to driving business to the door and acknowledging partners that help to grow your business. By focusing on how a promotional piece was used by one of our clients we are reinforcing how promotional products create results. Afterall, you come to our company for results and expertise right?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Does your logo impact your business?

How important is your logo to sales?

Is the viewer's perception of your logo impacting your business? Recently I read an article with research that crossed demographics throughout the US. Respondents to the survey were asked questions related to the appearance of a logo in terms of how they felt about the appearance of the logo and were questioned as to how the logo impacted their perception of that company. The study found that logos that were simple and colorful gained higher marks. Additionally, those participants surveyed shared that would not buy products or build trust with a company as a brand if they did not like there logo. Wow, this type of feedback certainly received my attention. We've been thrilled with the feedback from our clients for our new company logo, unveiled in May.  

What are some common mistakes we see with local entrepreneurs when branding their new business?

1- Selecting a logo that has gradients, which look great for print or web but cause many costly headaches in reproduction for a promotional product or in silk screen.

             Instead, if you have a colorful logo, make sure it looks good as a one color imprint

2- Using too many words or lengthy words in your logo. While taglines are great, they may not be appropriate for printing due to legibility when reduced to imprint size on a promotional product.  

            Instead if the name of your company is long, consider a stacked logo or have a dual brand to work with the specific type of imprint area. As long as the font and imagery is consistent you will be building your brand identity.

3- When branding a little bit of boring is good, work with a promotional specialties during the logo development can save you money later in printing. Graphic artists often skew font or select unique PMS colors in branding.  Suppliers pay for stock ink colors for the most popular corporate brand requests, even our corporate companies realize that they may have to settle on close to avoid PMS color match charges.

Would you like more detailed information regarding how to build quality brand standards? Simply request a copy of our art guide or logo mojo for reference.




Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How can you maximize results during a tradeshow?

Use a tradeshow setting as a way to be distinctive, be the booth that everyone wants to visit.

Promote your upcoming show via social media channels to invite prospects and current partners. Offer incentives for those that visit because of your social media messages.

Consider mailings to key attendees to create a personalized invitation to let them know you would like the opportunity to talk with them about their business.

Showcase products and benefits at the show that will help to increase sales for the attendee.

Make sure your booth is inviting and claim your space.

How should you claim your space? BRAND your space on the table, the floor, overhead, and with displays.
Use attention luring visuals or play games that offer initial engagement. Offer those attendees that stop a unique special or discounts. Remember the more you can interact with an attendee the more likely they are to remember your message. Make sure your visitor has a take away from your booth! Considering that most promotional items are kept at a minimum of 7 months and many for years, make sure your promotional piece is going to be functional for your attendee.

POST SHOW: don't forget to follow up in a timely fashion with attendees. They stopped at your booth, take the time to thank them and acknowledge that you appreciated the opportunity to introduce your brand to them. Consider offering follow up tours, seminars to "lunch and learn" and of course a promotional piece in the mail.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to make the most of your money

Part 4: 

To yield the strongest return on your investment for marketing dollars start by knowing your objectives; sounds simple right? 
By focusing on your objectives and outcomes it becomes easier to perform an analysis of your business. Once you are focused on achievable goals with a clear business plan your message, your target audience and the vehicle you plan to use to facilitate advertising will fall into place.

How do you define your objectives?

 Start by quantifying and qualifying your best contact. What is the long term value of that client? What are your expectations for growth? How will you introduce your brand to this “perfect” prospect? For example if you are a local baker you are probably seeking a long term relationship with the local families and businesses in your area for products. By getting to know local families you hope to be their go to source for family celebrations. By reaching out to elementary aged families your connectiong will help to secure the birthday, holidays, wedding, graduation, anniversary and baby shower goodies in the future.

 After you have defined your target audiences consider how you will create a call to action when distributing to that target audience. How will you determine the best medium for developing that message? The partnership with your promotional partner will help to steer your planning in the right direction.
How and when will you measure the results?

If you are seeking a client that will provide you 10,000 or 100,000 over the life of their account what is the appropriate amount to spend to secure those types of clients? Define that budget.

Congratulations, your planned worked and growth is coming, what now? Have you adequately planned for the additional volume to business operations? Make sure to plan for the unexpected and the expected!



Friday, August 31, 2012

When is the best time to buy products?


What is the best times of the year to buy promotional products? Aren’t there always products on sale? Yes and no…of course there are always sales, suppliers like the merchant’s on radio, TV and print media have products to sell, but just like seasonal purchases and discounts there are times of the year that are better for purchasing items for your promotions.


Your promotional consultant should be advising you regarding posted discount dates for reoccurring purchases such as holiday cards, planners, calendars, and food products. Suppliers offer discounts to better prepare production and plan for inventory prior to the request of last minute shoppers.  


Are you a non profit or a school? There are also spike periods for printing tee shirts or stocking up for school store inventory. Working with your promotional consultant you will be able to identify trends, capitalize on specials and keep inventory and budget in check by planning ahead.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

4 Secret Ways to Maximizing Your Budget: Part #2

Proven ways to stretch your marketing dollars:

Collateral marketing or cooperative marketing can work to the advantage of co branders. Besides increasing your marketing budget with co branding, the value of your brand is increased. Think about it, by aligning your name with another business you are increasing awareness to their client base as well as growing your own.

Make sure during distributions you highlight your co brander’s strengthens as a company. By endorsing another company you are adding to the value of your own brand.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

4 Secret Ways to Maximizing Your Budget, 4 Part Series - Part #1

Part #1

Frequently we are told, "I don’t have a large budget for my marketing because I am just getting started, but I need what to feel like my choices bring revenue to my company."

While promotional items in independent research studies yield consistently higher results for brand retention, brand identification, goodwill towards company and converting prospects into buyers, no one marketing campaign will have a 100% guarantee.

What can you do to maximize your choices? Partnering with a reliable, proven, experienced professional will increase your success in creating a promotional campaign as a professional is trained to ask the right questions and consider the product variables to help you identify the best products for your promotion.

Ideas do get results when the creativity is based upon sound plan for all aspects of your upcoming marketing needs. For example we select times for our company that reflect our benefits and the value we provide our clients. The taglines applied to those products or the imagination used to kit those items showcases the points we are making with a strong visual impact.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Top 5 Reasons Promotional Products Work

When new contacts say "oh you sell do dads or freebies" I politely point out that they are not leveraging the advantage, value, and benefits of promotional advertising until they understand how visual brand advertising works.

1- Given freely without obligation
          56% of recipients feel promotional products are an expression of gratitude
2- Your target audience receives long term exposure
          Promotional Branding is the lowest cost per impression on any form of advertising,
          except a billboard with the average cost at less than 1/2 cent or $0.004 per impression.
3- Your ad medium becomes your message
          58% keep a promotional item that is useful to them between 1-4 years
4- Items create  a memory hook
          94% of recipients can recall the name of a promotional item 2 years after receiving
5- Gifts build goodwill
          42% gained a more favorable impression of a company after receiving the gift