Spring Break Marketing

As I drive back to our office in Miami,  the last several weeks of Spring Break 2015 are finally coming to a close.   Hotel after hotel, the college students took over the Gulf of Mexico during their extended break from their scholastic routine.   These groups of partying students don’t seem like the ideal buying group however being Budget-Conscious is the main term for their trip that led them to Panama City Beach Florida in the first place; the tourist hotspot on the Florida Panhandle. Oh yes!

“Surf, sand and fun is what they’re here for”, says George Charles, a local cab driver and resident for 25 years.   So who would want to market to The goup?  The answer…A lof of companies because the reality is that these impresionable minds of the student today, lead to the buying power of a working adult tomorrow.  The tightly packed groups on vacation can quickly spread the word at the beach or back home at school.

Over the period of a week or two, major organizations make a lot of brand impressions.  The largest surprise is that it isn’t the usual suspects, alcohol companies, dispersing their wares.  Both the Army and the Navy had the largest presences on the sand during the last  weeks of March Break.

In the Army’s case, they had a 50-foot wooden tower for spring breakers could scale after being outfitted with a helmet and harness.  The successful wall climbers would go home with a screen printed Army Tshirt commemorating the event.  This was one of many promotions in Panama City Beach that took place during the chaotic month of March.

At the other end of the beach, the Navy had a similar presence that included giving away shirts, beach balls and sun screen.  Each day, they would see 100-200 people go by each of the booths and participate in the various events. We even saw the Jack Link’s Beef Jerky truck handing out out pens, stickers and magnets along with free samples of their product line.

With many events taking part during this time, it is no wonder that more organizations will be starting to capitalize on this ever popular student market.  The ideas and impressions that are created at this age, will last a lifetime; especially with the unique promotional items that are given out during these events.

Singing off from Florida,

— Steve the Blogger

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CES Trade Show Frenzy

Thirty days into 2015 and the Trade Show Circuit is in full swing.  I’ve been to 11 shows in the last 3 weeks with at least 2 presentations daily.  When I sit back and really think about it, the only event that really stands out in my mind was the 2012 International CES Show  in Las Vegas.

If you’re into electronic gadgets or have a fascination with modern technology, this show is definatley the one to visit.   Unlike other idustries, the Consumer Electronics Show uses promotional items more so than any other event I have been to.   In fact, almost everyone walking out of that show had a entire bag full of goodies accumulated throughout the day.  Some of the cooler promo items tend to get lost in the vast amount of other interesting items that are handed out.    So what does it take to stand out in this highly competitive market place?

When everyone is handing out a logo’ed item,  generally the most cost effective pieces are the ones that offer the most advertising effect even though they may not be as useful as the others.  A good example is that of two competing software companies, each located within 2 booths of each other.  One company was handing out a simple stress ball.  It was brihgt yellow and imprinted with their logo.  The other company had some very cool looking USB Flash drives fully equipped with a lanyard and logo.  From a promotional marketing standpoint, the USB drives would seem to be the more popular item.

Much to everyones suprise, the stress balls seemed to dominate the floor.  The organization that was handing them out did so in the thousands.   The marketing reps were give 2 balls at a time and making sure that absolutely everyone had a stress ball that walked by their booth.

On the flip side, the organization handing out the USB drives were very selective as to who they were giving them to.  It appeared that the the marketing reps were handing them out after about a 5 min talk to the interested candidates.   This makes financial sense seeing that each USB Drive costs about 12 times the amount as that of a stress ball.    One really would need to be selective given the thousands of people walking through the event.

As I walked around the show, I took note as to what people were carrying and it appeared that almost everyone had one of these stress balls.  It was the Promo Item to have and people were using them as “trading” cards in exchange for other items that they may have missed.  For just a few cents a piece, handing out a stress ball created a large marketing impact for this one particular company.

When one thinks of Las Vegas style trade shows, spending a lot on a unique item sometimes is not the best game plan when it comes to marketing.  Having the ability to hand something out in sheer volume, creates a frenzy and a marketing image that lasts far beyond the duration of the trade show.  Stress Balls are cool and cost effective.  They are timeless and work well as a give away.  From Stress Ball throwing contests to the person who lives to collect promo items,  giving away this unique item is something the best solution when it comes to corporate branding.

— Steve the Blogger

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Marketing with Tattoos

When I was first presented with the concept of Logo’ed tattoos,the advantage of these temporary images was not immediately apparent.  I initially thought of those Bubble Gum Machine cartoon tattoos that kids buy at the grocery store.   It wasn’t until the 2011 ICAST Show that I personally saw a how one organization used these temporary tats as a clever marketing tool and promotional item that had people lined up for 10 minutes waiting to talk to a Marketing Rep.

While walking down one of the very large rows of vendors, I was drawn over to a 20×20 booth by the sheer crowds of people circling various podiums.    When there are crowds, something interesting must be happening, so I moved my way closer to the front.   What I was witnesses was a trade show “Tattoo Application Station” equipped with 20 unique tattoo designs that all encompassed a versin of their logo.   This was the first time I witnessed the temporary latex tattoo which claims to last up to a week if taken care of properly.

During the application process, an entire marketing presentation was conducted about their product line.  Unlike many of the other exhibitors consisting of a bunch of Marketing Vultures, there was no high pressure to buy anything or leave any information behind.

People were excited to receive these tattoos and in return, the organization had walking billboards throughout the entire venue.  The idea was ingenious!  Their brand was recognizable and the style was one in which people were  proudly displaying.  In addition, they also included a couple of extra tattoos with their marketing flyers to take home for the kids.

Since the ICAST show, many of our clients have incorporated tattoos into their marketing programs.   The best time to use this type of advertising tool is during the warmer times of the year.  Temporary logo tattoos work well for Company BBQs and charitable events.  I’ve seen the new latex temporary tattoos do wonders for many companies.  A very cost effective way to brand a product or commemorate an event.  The next time you are thinking of a way to stand out at the next trade show,  give tattoos a second thought.  You will be glad you did!

–Steve the Blogger

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What are the best promotional products available?

If there is any one question that I get asked the most, it has to be “What is the best promo product available?”     To really answer this question, is to  understand the demographic of the recipients and the nature of the environment that the items are being used in.    

The key for successful promotions is to add variety.  Handing out the same Imprinted Pen year after year will not generate the same excitement as they once did.   It is highly suggested that every marketing campaign be accompanied with a fresh, new promotional item.     If logo’ed apparel is the best choice for your particular business, then change the color or style of the garments for teh following year.  These minor differences will make for a new and exciting marketing event.

In some cases, even the small difference between Screen Printing and Laser Engraving can transform any regular product into a highly recognizable and effective promotional product.  For example, the best promo product for a Realtor would be one with a photo imprint as opposed to an engraving of their name and number.  Similarly, a simple Pen may be the best promo product for a Lawyer but perhaps not so useful for a group of blue collared mechanics.

In many of my seminars, there are a large number of attendees who would focus strictly on the price of the item as opposed to his usefulness or uniqueness.  The idea here is that the best promo product is one that can be handed out without breaking the bank.  Choosing a cheaper promotional item can increase your corporate exposure without exhausting the entire budget.   Many start-up or small businesses tend to lean towards these “less than $1.00” items.  In many cases, these cheaper items are much more effective than a $40 executive gift.

Truly, the best promo product, can only be determined on an individual basis.  The advice I give to a client today, may not be the proper advice I would give to another client tomorrow.    What makes something good for one business may not be right for another.  So to answer the question, “What is the best promo product?”  It’s the product that makes you look good and brings in repeat business without breaking the allocated budget.

Blogging live from Boston’s Logan Airport,

–Steve the Blogger

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Surviving Cyber Monday

It sounds like a Terminator SkyNet plan to take over the world.  Cyber Monday is not a new concept to online retailers.  We just finished “Black Friday” and the Internet is being broadcast with “Cyber Monday” Sales and Deals.

For those who are new to this world of savings, Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday following the Thanksgiving Weekend.   Online organizations persuade potential shoppers to purchase their goods through their website for extra savings.   This “Cyber Monday” is said to generate over $1 Billion dollars via online purchases according to comScore.  They are saying that 9 out of 10 retailers plain to offer deals and specials for this year’s Cyber Monday.

Over the past several weeks, while presenting Cyber Monday ideas at the last several trade shows, many people asked me a common question and is still a large percentage of the population that feel uneasy while making purchases online and divulging their credit card information into cyber space.

All deal seekers need to be be prepared by updating all virus protection before dashing to new Websites and making quick purchases.    Should a website require you to sign up prior to checking out,  use secure words and avoid names, birthdays and other commonly used passwords.

Online shopping is easy and very convenient.  If you already have an idea as to what you are looking for, the options of searching several merchants can be done within minutes.  Most deliveries occur within 24hrs of purchasing the goods and they generally all arrive by a trackable courier.  This allows for very little stress when transporting large items like flat panel TV’s.

With Cyber Monday just around the corner, take the next day or two and try to think what is still outstanding on your Holiday Shopping List.   Go to the websites and compare prices. You many just find a wide world of savings by taking advantage of this Online shoppers liquidation day.

Blogging live from a Black Friday lineup at Sawgrass Mills Mall, Florida,

–Steve the Blogger

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