5 Secrets for Using Promotional Products at Events
Date (05/21/2014)
Source: Promo Marketing Magazine

I recently attended Magento Imagine and Informatica world both in Las Vegas and got to see how non industry people are using promotional products at events. Watching the booth staff and interactions from attendees was very telling on what should and should not be done. I also spoke at Informatica World where I used promotional products in my sessions and was given a speakers gift before heading off to attend a Geiger event for top sales partners. I’ll share a lesson learned from each of these events.

1. Quality matters, but so does the imprint Magento gave away a very nice America Apparel T-shirt. It’s so soft, I love it. I wanted to wear it on my way back on the airplane. The logo on the front is nice, bold and well done. As I went to put it on, I saw the back also had several logo’s and I decided not to wear the shirt. Not everyone will be turned off by all these logos and and I’m sure the sponsors like the logo’s on the back, but I’m not likely to wear that shirt any place other than around the house or gym. I still like the shirt and it will remind me of the conference, but it won’t get as much exposure as it could with one professional logo.

2. Give speakers something meaningful I got a plaque commemorating my speaking at Informatica world. It broke before I threw it away. I would have thrown it away anyhow. I don’t need a plaque to tell me I spoke. I definitely did not need to pack it with the clothes for this 10 day trip (Tampa to Vegas, Vegas to Cancun, Cancun to Philly, Philly to Tampa). Speakers travel. Give them something useful when traveling that commemorates the event or give them nothing at all. Power banks are an easy win.

3. Booth giveaways should reflect your brand, not the event At the booths, items were plentiful and almost all were sitting out ready for people to take. One thing that struck me is the number of people using orange sunglasses and other orange items because the color of Magento is orange. Unfortunately, this meant that everyone who gave away orange sunglasses all looked the same and did not help me remember the brand of the people I was speaking with.

4. Let people be your brand on incentive trips At the Geiger event in Cancun, we tattooed about 50 people on Saturday morning after the opening session. The tattoos not only creating a fun bond between us, it created a conversation with many people not from our company. Stories were plentiful about people asking what the tattoo meant and how nice it looked (they did not realize the tattoos were temporary). As you might imagine the tattoos were placed everywhere imaginable, arms, feet, bikini line, legs, chest, neck, face, and even the head. Should be some interesting tan lines as people return home.

5. Use promotional items when speaking For both my sessions at Informatica World, I gave away Gap sticks, screen cleaners, flashlights, and stylus pens. I used them to encourage audience interactivity but all items were chosen specifically because they would fit in briefcases and suitcases. It’s important to keep items small enough (and desirable enough) to make it out of the hotel room. Beyond the products, the great content really ensured a good session, but the promotional items helped keep things lively. I was also able to stress the value of promotional products to a few hundred people. I got lots of positive feedback from the session including this tweet: “Promotional products are powerful when used properly. Help your clients not only pick the most creative products, but help them implement the best strategy to maximize their value.” By Dale Denham, MAS+ is considered the industry’s top technologist and is the chief information officer at Geiger.

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Achieving your goals the SMART way
Date (03/13/2014)
Source: Blog

As we see somebody we want to be like and achieve what they have, we make it our goal to have what they have. We have good intentions, start with a lot of enthusiasm but seldom are we able to see the finish line. Why is that? Are we poor planners? Do we lack the tools necessary to achieve the lofty goals? Are we not as motivated as we were when we started? Do we lack the support system?  Are those really “our” goals, anyways? There could be plethora of reasons of our failure. Here is a way I am going to share with you that Dale Carnegie, one of the greatest business coaches, my idol, preached. He sums it up with the acronym, SMART, which stands for:

S – Specific
M- Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Rewarding
T – Time based

Specific: A specific goal has a much better chance of success than a vague goal. It needs to be straightforward and have a set of actions, a path needed to be followed to achieve it.  If your goals sound like, I want to be rich, or I want to be successful, or, I want to lose weight, then you need to know these are not specific goals. Specific goals would sound like, I want to earn x amount of money, or I want to achieve x, or I want to lose x number of pounds. Be specific with what you set out to achieve. 
Measurable: If your goal is to be successful, how do you measure it? If your goal is to be better looking, how do you measure it? And if something is not measurable, how do you know you have achieved it? You have got to establish concrete criteria to measure progress towards accomplishing your desired goal. When your measure your progress, it motivates you to stay on track. You get to experience the excitement and exhilaration of your accomplishment. It motivates you to continue working hard to ultimately achieve your set goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as… How many? How much? How will I know when my goal has been achieved? Be specific! “My goal is to make more sales calls this month” is not measurable. Rather “This month, I want to increase my sales calls by 20 calls per week” shows a specific number that can be measured.

Attainable: In the initial process of goal setting, a lot of folks commit the fatal mistake of setting their goal so high that as you are moving along, it becomes more and more clear that it’s going to be impossible. This saps your energy, demotivates you and ultimately causes you to drop out. Key is to set “baby” goals that you know are achievable. As you achieve these small goals, you increase the intensity and set higher goals that push you to work harder to achieve them. I understand if you say your goal is to be national champion in cross country, and try to do it without much practice and a coach, you are most likely not going to succeed.

Realistic: For a goal to be realistic, it needs to be something you feel you are able, capable and have the will to achieve it. An entrepreneur, as he starts his business, might have a burning desire to unseat the market leader right off the bat. You have got to sit back and ponder, if it is a sound and realistic goal. Do you have the necessary staff, talents, experience, expertise, finances and other necessary resources to make this goal a reality? I can appreciate setting a goal high enough to push yourself but it got to be realistic to provide the necessary fuel, motivation to keep marching forward rather than break your spirits.

Time Frame: Have you ever sat in your car and called your friend in another state saying that you would reach there but don’t know when? When you hire a contractor to build a house for you, what if he said, he didn’t know when he would be able to complete your house? Then why would you have goals without a set time table! Every goal set must have a predetermined completion date. A little flexibility is acceptable but not a complete vagueness or no time frame at all. As you move along on your journey to achieve your desired goal, completion date motivates you, keeps you on track, and pushes you to increase the intensity of your work if needed.

Here are some examples of SMART goal statements.

Goal: To increase sales for a new business
Vague statement: I want to increase my company sales.
SMART statement: I am going to go out on sales calls three days a week, make at least 60 calls, start the promotional campaign next Monday. Measure and evaluate my success after two months.
Vague statement: I want to be rich.
SMART statement: I am going to work five more hours per week, reduce my variable expenses by 25%, save $300 additional per month and invest in a low cost mutual fund.

When it comes to business, if your marketing goal is to increase trade show traffic, increase your brand awareness and visibility, creative gifts for your clients and referral sources, appreciation gifts for your staff, years of service awards for your employees, useful golf outing items, safety promotions, or just looking to cut spend on your printed products – brochures, forms, labels and related products, contact the award winning professionals at AG PrintPromo Solutions at 330-315-9600 or visit

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Achieving your goals the SMART way
Date (03/08/2014)
Source: Published by Anup Gupta

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Tap into economic growth with supplier diversity
Date (02/06/2008)
Source: Industry Week

Supplier Diversity programs are more than socially responsible — they’re also good for business. They help improve the way a company serves its markets, and they represent significant revenue opportunities for buyers and sellers alike.

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently spotlighted the economic impact of small, diverse businesses, citing that women- and minority-owned businesses account for 10.6 million businesses worldwide. Minority-owned business is among the fastest growing segments of the U.S. economy — and large enterprises understand that offering products with appeal to a diverse customer base can boost their competitive advantage.

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