The light of knowledge

Today’s client was a representative of a bookstore. They are getting close to an anniversary of running their business and wanted something to give to their best customers as a thank you for staying with them during all these years. And of course they wanted something somehow connected with books. Bookmarks? They are giving away bookmarks with their logos all the time and of course they had a special anniversary design. Thus, they wanted something more lasting, because a bookmark is quite an easy thing to loose.

Robot Series Book LightHere is what we finally chose: a book light. This is not the only design that we have, but they liked this one because of its modern look. And this model also weights less than any other in our catalog. Looks perfect for reading at night when you do not want to disturb people around you both at home and while traveling.

What surprised me is that this bookstore seems to be doing surprisingly well regardless of the decline of book sales that is reported everywhere. And even all these people downloading books and reading them on their PDAs has not hurt book sales for this shop. May be some part of their success is due to their wise use of promotional items?

Key tags, nerves and saving time

So, let’s imagine that the client to receive that gift from the last story was not that high priority and something low-cost would also be fine. Let’s see what we can do if we decide on key tags.

Most people that would receive a key tag as a promotional item would already have some key tag, which means that the one you give has to do something special. It needs to do more than just look nice and carry a logo on it in order to replace the one they have. Something functional. A key tag with a built in light or bottle opener is not an uncommon thing, but one of the key tags we have in the catalog has really impressed me and it solves a nagging problem.

SEPARATOR KEY HOLDERThe problem was: if I count all the keys that I have to use during the week, the number will be close to a couple of dozens, which means it’s impossible to keep them all in one pocket. And even if I carry a bag with me I do prefer to keep the most important things in my pockets. I feel more secure this way, I can always be sure I have not lost my wallet, my keys and my cell phone. And there are never enough pockets for everything I need, no matter what I wear. As a result, I was always worrying whether I had my home keys with me when I was in the office, my office keys when I was driving somewhere and my car keys when I was at home. And then it comes to digging in my bag for the set of keys I need at the moment if I do put them in a bag… argh!

Bottle Opener Key ChainThen I found this separator key holder and life became much easier. I have a couple of them connected to each set of my keys and connect all the keys together when I put them in a bag. Or disconnect the necessary keys from the rest and put them in my pocket. I’ve saved a ton of time that was spending on searching for the keys. To say nothing about the nerves that are not strained any more.

And I do have one key tag with bottle opener, just for the everlasting love I have for its color.

Ultimate Gift for Hi-Tech People On The Move

When you decide what promotional gift to choose, one of the main factors to influence your decision is how frequently your gift will be used. And will it be used at all. So, my task for today was to pick something that would be used and seen very often by a hi-tech professional who is spending all of his time on the go.

This means that the perfect promotional gift for an office-worker – a mug with a logo on it – just would not work, since he would never be around long enough to see it. The same applies to anything that would stay on his desk or to most computer accessories which in other cases might be fine for hi-tech people.

So, what would he always take with him? The keys? I forgot to tell you that my client was giving these to some pretty high priority clients of his own, so things like key tags were not for this case. The idea was to impress with the gift.

Lexar USB JumpDrive Secure 128MB

This is how it played out: when it comes to people whose work is somehow connected with computers or information, there is always a need to carry data around. CDs are big and unreliable and when it comes to flash drives, there are always situations when you run out of space on them. Solution: take an extra USB memory stick with you. Something small but still reliable. No, really, it’s a gift I myself would enjoy. I even added it to my own wishlist. So, after reviewing several memory gadgets we have in the catalog at rushIMPRINT we finally decided on the JumpDrive Secure. Not only does it standout, but also secures the data.

Golf promo items

Golf promotional items are making a huge comeback these past few weeks, because the season is teeing off. We’ve been receiving tons of orders for everything from balls to golf pocket tools to towels. That’s expected, really, considering the statistics.

Just how big is golf? About 50 people million worldwide play it, and 23 million of them come from the United States alone (where there are also more than 11,000 professional golf players). In fact, studies show that some 83 percent of business deals are closed on a golf course.

Anybody who is anybody in the business world plays golf – from the top honchos to the middle managers. Get their attention –and loyalty – by giving them golf promotional products carrying your logo.

The BALL & TEE CADDIE, one of our bestsellers (available for as low as $4.82)

Play it safe with basic golf balls and tees, or steer past the common and give golf carry kits, sets, and totes (complete with sun block), or even golf tags.

- Jen

Knowing your audience

Your target market probably receives hundreds of freebies yearly. If you do not do your homework, your items could become inconsequential and even work against you.

People expect more

Lifestyles are changing, and so are promo items. The usual tumbler that multiplied sales for start-ups in the 1950’s just doesn’t cut it anymore – people want insulated, sturdier, nicer-looking drinkware. Consider your target’s tastes and requirements, and then you can safely invest in promo items that will never fail.

This was the lesson learned the hard way by one of our clients – a small software company. Before coming to rushIMPRINT, they hired a promo item peddler that let them spend money on rather shoddy-looking desk clocks that lasted only a few months. Their recipients ended up throwing the clocks away (and never bothered to just change the batteries). The company’s money – and reputation – went down the drain with their promotional items.

When they came to us, we advised them to give out computer bags instead. More expensive? Yes. But the bottom line more than makes up for the cost. The bags were used repeatedly by grateful, well-chosen recipients, the company’s reputation improved, and their sales skyrocketed.

Spend well

Do not be afraid to put money into promotional items. If executed well, they can be the most cost-efficient marketing campaigns you ever do for your business. But remember to research (or at least come to rushIMPRINT for sound advice). This way, you only invest in promotional products that effectively show your appreciation to customers, increase store traffic, increase response, generate sales leads, and even reward employee performance.

Paper versus PDAs (again)

I don’t know of you remember my previous entry about why I prefer padfolios to PDAs. I said that they are much simpler, less redundant, and easier on the eye that their electronic counterparts. Well, guess what – I found more reasons.

 Navigator Deluxe Writing Pad

A shipment of these padfolios came in today, and I of course had to ‘test drive’ one of them myself. The verdict: They are far more functional than PDAs, at least for someone who carries around bills and receipts (like me). It has very useful nooks and pockets that enable users to organize and carry important personal and office documents. It’s also sturdier – the pad is made from strong nylon, and the case is waterproof leather. You won’t lose your data even if you carry it in the rain or accidentally drop it in a pool – and you can’t say that about PDAs.

This padfolio also comes in a zippered version that features stretchable exterior pockets for carrying magazines and bigger documents, plus interior pockets for business cards, electronics, and media storage (such as USB ports).

Choose your pens wisely

In the United States alone, more than two billion pens are manufactured every year. Pens are still among the most widely-used writing instruments – whether ballpoint, fountain, soft-tip, or roller-ball.

Unfortunately, not all pens are kept or used by recipients. In fact, some 1.6 billion pens are thrown away annually. How do you make sure that the pens with your logo on them are not tossed out into the trash can? Choose wisely – choose utilitarian. Promotional pens are being reinvented to stand out, anyway, so it selecting one should not be too hard.

We at rushIMPRINT recommend ‘Liqui-Light Pens,’ which do not only look great, but are also multifunctional.

 Stock Globe Liqui-Light Pen

The sleek silver casing and the little futuristic-liquid aquarium (complete with a floating globe) make it too nifty not to use. Best of all, the pen features a matching blue light so the user can work even in low-light conditions, and the stylus tip can be used to input data into a personal digital assistant. Add in the gift box and you have a promo pen that will surely be used for years and years.

Manufacturers of similarly-designed writing instruments say that investing in high-quality pens make a sound marketing decision, especially because people of all walks of life think that (multifunctional) pens are designed for them. Everyone – form outdoorsy people to traveling salesmen to nurses – appreciate the versatility, usefulness and good looks of a quality writing instrument.

- Josh

Promotional tools (Part 2)

I thought of writing another entry related to tools as promo items because I came across a rather interesting idea from Theodore Levitt (Harvard Professor Emeritus). He said that over 250 million quarter-inch drill bits are sold every year, but that nobody wants a quarter-inch drill bit. What people really want are quarter-inch holes.

True – especially in promotional tools. When you give someone a Tool N’ Torch, for example, you are not really giving them a Halogen flashlight and a device tote. You are giving him convenience – the ease of doing tool work even in low-light conditions (such as in campfires and during car trouble). This ability to associate with ‘experience’ is what separates promotional tools from other traditional forms of advertising. A buyer is more likely to remember the brand imprinted on a tool he repeatedly uses to make his life easier than the brand mentioned in a 20-second television ad he sees only twice a week (or less).

Tools are also very ‘multipliable,’ because they are likely to be borrowed by or lent to someone other than your original recipient. Give Tom a six-function wrench, for example, and his neighbor Ben will probably use it, too, and so will his friend Anthony. For as low as $6, you have already reached – and have been remembered by – at least three people. If your tool’s lifespan is 5 years, you will reach hundreds of potential customers. Now that is cost-effective advertising.

- Josh

Promotional tools

Probably one of the most hardworking promotional items is multi-piece toolkits, which enable people to work on basic projects even when they are miles away from their toolboxes. You can give basic multi-head screwdrivers, pliers, or knob drivers (among many other basics). Move up the promotional tools range and you can give advanced 25-piece toolkits, survival tools, and even ultra-handy pocket tools like this one from Shelton or this 4-in-1 tool keychain.

 25-Piece Tool Kit
The kit includes all sockets, screwdriver bits, allen keys, wrenches, tape measure, and pliers and extension bars, and many other tooling essentials.

Promo tools are the little well-oiled promotional gears that have the power to increase your business’ revenues substantially. Many managers are now dropping big ideas like ‘revolutionary’ business models or mega-mergers in favor of simpler, cumulatively effective tactics such as this. If promo items were not effective, why do you think the multinationals spend over $15 billion a year on them?

The bottom line: useful promo items such as tools work, and work wonders. Focus your energy on finding the right item for your market. Tools work best for male-oriented industries, but you would be surprised how many women appreciate receiving tools, too. In fact, a good number of them use screwdrivers as levers to open cans :)

- Josh

Back to basics

Credit it to the hip-ness of caffeine or plain old usefulness. Whatever the reason, mugs are still one of the top-selling promotional products. Here at rushIMPRINT alone, we sold a record number of mugs in the last 3 months!

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Some of our best-sellers

The trend is not exclusive to our industry. Even gourmet retailers are experiencing the same drift. Sales of mugs have been increasing by at least 1.9 percent every year since 2003, followed closely by sales of espresso and cappuccino makers, which grow at about 1.8 percent yearly.

What is it about mugs that have people hording them like crazy? The answer is versatility, more than anything. Homes and offices across America use mugs for almost every conceivable purpose – for coffee, for cold beer, for serving ice cream, for holding pens, and even as flower pots.

Do the math and you’ll find that mugs are among the most sensible promo items to give out to clients and potential customers:

1. They’re reusable, so your logo and message can be seen a hundred-fold.
2. They’re also affordable – for less than the price of a Happy Meal, you can already leave a long, lasting impression.
3. And best of all, they’re tough. Quality tempered mugs almost never break, so your logo stays intact for years (and are even passed on).

It’s no wonder that the last couple of months have been all about mugs. In fact I have to go now, because last week’s client reordered another shipment, deliverable by tomorrow. I’ll probably need my favorite. Pour the coffee – I’m pulling an all-nighter.

- Josh