Promotional Product Marketing Blog

Learn the best ways to market your brand with the use of promotional marketing products. Our blog gives you the best tips on ordering the right marketing merchandise to increase brand awareness within your target market. From creative marketing ideas to case studies of how others have used promotional items to promote their brand, we give you clear direction in aligning your promotional product campaign with your overall business goals.

TOP

3 Compelling Reasons To Use QR Codes In Your Marketing


QR codes

It seems QR codes have popped up everywhere over the past few years – on coffee cups, t-shirts, sides of buildings, and one of our favorites: QR codes on cookies. These jumbled-looking squares have gone totally mainstream when it comes to marketing.

It’s not surprising why.

QR codes are scannable by smartphones – which more than half of all Americans own. For the first time in history, people use smartphones more than landlines or any other mobile devices.

There’s Big Opportunity With QR Codes

So, what does this mean for marketers?

It means that by using QR codes, you can reach customers wherever they are, and you can take them exactly where you want them to be online.

Think about your online presence right now. Your business has a website, blog, newsletter, social media accounts.

Wouldn’t it be great to drive people to those sites and get them to take action on the spot? Maybe it’s participating in a contest, registering for an event, or leaving a product review.

QR codes help your business do this. They’re free to make (here’s where to create custom QR codes), and they can be used in all sorts of creative ways.

Let’s do a quick review on QR codes. You’ve seen them, but what exactly are they?

Well, in short, they’re computer-generated, two-dimensional images that resemble barcodes. The big difference is that QR codes can store huge amounts of data, and when scanned with a smartphone, they take people directly to an intended online location.

Still not sure if they’re right for your business? Read on for three good reasons QR codes belong in your marketing.

1. QR codes can be printed on all sorts of promotional products.

If you’re handing out promo items already, consider adding QR codes to punch up your promotion. As long as the items have a surface that’s large and flat enough for a QR code to be readable, they’re game.

Tote bags and t-shirts make it easy for QR codes to be scanned, for example, but smaller items such as pens or license plate frames won’t work quite as well. A good rule of thumb is that you don’t want your QR codes to be smaller than one inch square. You want them to be readable, and you also want them to be printed where they will be noticed.

2. Social media ties in perfectly with QR codes.

Want more Facebook fans? Twitter followers? Want customers to know you have a Pinterest or Instagram account? Take customers and prospects directly to your social media sites with QR codes.

People are already using their smartphones to check their social sites. QR codes make it easy for them to find your company’s social presence. They can scan the codes and go directly to your social sites instead of having to look up your company or key in a URL. People aren’t interested in spending a lot of time tracking down your company’s various sites. QR codes make it simple and fast.

3. QR codes generate huge exposure for your marketing content.

Add QR codes to your business cards, marketing materials, promotional products – whatever you’re distributing to your customers – and take them directly to your marketing content.

If your company is producing any kind of content, you want to get as many eyes on it as possible. People may forget to look up your blog or access your white paper later, and that’s where the magic of QR codes comes in. They’re instantaneous. They immediately take customers to your blog, e-book, podcast, presentation, video – whatever content you’ve created for your audience.

QR Codes Give Your Business An Edge

The technology is there for you to kick your marketing up a notch. QR codes are free, easy to use, and best of all, they’re immediate. There’s no keying in a URL or remembering to take action later.

QR codes allow you to link customers to specific online destinations right there on the spot. They can scan a QR code while they’re waiting in line, browsing your shop, or enjoying lunch.

And it comes so naturally, too. Fifty-eight percent of Americans own smartphones, according to Pew Research, and use them continually throughout the day.

The key is to use QR codes smartly. Make it worthwhile for people to scan them, and make sure they link to quality content. Don’t use QR codes just to use them – find a creative way that engages your target audience and brings value.

Have you ever used QR codes in a promotion? Tell us about it!

Photo credit: add.me via photopin cc


TOP

Spring’s Stand-Out Print: Camouflage


It seems ironic that a pattern initially designed to help wearers blend in and disguise themselves has become one of spring’s hottest fashion trends. From apparel to footwear to accessories, this print is showing up on the runway and in the stores.

Check out some of these well-known brands that are embracing the trend this season.

Cole Haan

Cole Haan has launched The Camo Collection for spring 2014, including bags, wallets, shoes, and socks. Products are offered in a classic woodland-inspired or mosaic-style print. With functional commuter briefs and portfolios, the line is perfect for the fashion-forward male executive.

Valentino camo

Valentino

Apparel that hit the runway this year showcased an updated camouflage design. Evolving from traditional greens and browns, new color combinations took this print to a whole new level.  Notably, the Camouflage Fluo Collection by Valentino combines camouflage print leather and trendy fluorescent hues for a bold statement piece that is sure to catch the eye.

Lululemon

Lululemon has also jumped on the camo-inspried bandwagon. The yoga and athletic apparel company has introduced several new items including a microfiber camo yoga towel and camo running jacket.

Nike SB

Nike SB, a full line of skateboarding clothing and shoes, will drop a new camo pack in the Zoom Stefan Janoski sneakers later this spring. Offered in desert khaki or a green camo version, watch for these shoes to hit the shelves of retail stores in the upcoming weeks.

The camo trend is not only showing up on the pages of fashion magazines and runways, it’s increasingly popular for middle America as well. Take a walk through Wal-Mart, Kohl’s or JCPenney, and I’m sure you’ll find some camouflage print merchandise on the shelves. It’s no surprise when reality TV shows such as “Duck Dynasty” attract 8.6 million viewers and more than 4.2 million fans on Facebook. The characters’ laid-back lifestyles and love for hunting make them relatable to viewers. Each episode showcases full-on camouflage garb.

From high-fashion runways to everyday street wear, the camouflage trend is appealing to multiple demographics. Keep an eye out for spring’s must-have stand-out print: camouflage.

You can shop ePromos for promotional camouflage items right here.


TOP

In The Promo Products Industry, Pens Are Great But The People Are Even Better


ePromos employees touring the BIC facility

Have you ever gotten caught up in your day and found yourself being downright mean to a colleague on the other end of the phone? I wish I could say that I wasn’t guilty of that very thing, but alas that is not the case. However, as a promo products professional, I have learned that people are much more important than promotional pens, and most times when you put people first, the sale and the relationship come.

In the last month I have had the opportunity to witness others putting people before pens. The first example was on a trip to visit one of ePromos’ largest suppliers: BIC Graphic. It’s always a learning experience when you see how the pens are manufactured and decorated, especially seeing how the newest techniques are accomplished. But what was even more impressive was seeing the president of the large supplier know the names and situations on most of the 700 employees.

We toured four buildings, each building with a different decoration method or product offering. In every building, he would stop, shake hands with his employees, call them by name and most times ask how they were doing. I believe that was one of the most impressive things on the tour. It was a great demonstration of “people are more important than pens.”

Another example is the team at ePromos. It is always unthinkable when you get the call that a serious accident has happened to someone the team holds in high regards. In this case, it was a supplier rep who had been hit by a drunk driver. Luckily, the supplier rep was able to walk away with just some aches and pains, but the team wanted to show they cared. ePromos took up a collection in honor of our friend and donated it to M.A.D.D. on his behalf.

The longer I am in the industry, the more you become family. Yes, you. My co-workers, suppliers and customers. It’s you that makes selling custom pens (that will get a ton of impressions – so buy some) so awesome.

Members of the ePromos team visiting a supplier: BIC Graphic

Members of the ePromos team visiting BIC Graphic

 


TOP

A Promotional Product That Takes The Cake


Here’s a promotional product that’s perfectly on-brand – The Ritz-Carlton’s new signature cake. Just like the brand itself, The Cake (as it’s so aptly called), is decadent and rich. Laced with hints of sweet citrus, if The Ritz-Carlton had a flavor, this would be it.

We’ve talked about why your brand should have a smell, but what about a taste?

For The Ritz-Carlton, taste is a natural brand extension. Guests’ senses are stimulated on every level – design, scent, lighting, music. When guests step foot in a Ritz-Carlton, it’s a distinct experience. People know what to expect from the Ritz-Carlton brand.

That’s why we love its newest promotional product. The Cake is right in line with the brand. It’s not a quick snack – it’s a flavorful dessert that’s meant to be savored and that was created to celebrate the brand’s heritage. It’s even topped with the iconic Ritz-Carlton lion logo.

So, how does a brand go about developing a signature dessert – or any kind of signature flavor? By looking to those who know the brand best: staff members.

The Ritz-Carlton’s Corporate Chef, Rainer Zinngrebe, called upon his pastry chefs from around the world to develop a recipe that’s undeniably true to the Ritz-Carlton brand. What he got was a chocolate-orange cake that has become the signature confection for the brand.

It doesn’t stop at The Cake itself – the packaging is so impressive that it won a design award. “I wanted something representative of the brand, as recognizable as a Tiffany box, so people would say, ‘I know that box,’” Zinngrebe said in a Conde Nast Traveler article.

The sleek, dark box opens completely so guests can serve the dessert right in its case and close it up if there are any leftovers. A satin ribbon handle is an elegant finishing touch – so Ritz-Carlton.

Promotional food gifts are always smart when you want to appeal to your customers’ senses in new ways. We love how Ritz-Carlton has taken it to the next level by developing a unique confection that’s beautifully and delectably on-brand.

If you could create a flavor for your brand or develop a signature food gift, what would it be?

promotional  box

custom food gift

promo food gift

custom box


TOP

13 Funniest April Fool’s Pranks From Big Brands


In years past, big brands have pulled some pretty clever April Fool’s shenanigans. We have to hand it to them – their off-the-wall products and bogus offerings turned out to get them some great free publicity. (We’re still laughing about these ones a year after the fact!)

Here are 13 of our favorite April Fool’s high jinx from 2013:

1. Google launches Google Nose.

The world is just a sniff away – at least with Google Nose. Touted as “Google’s flagship olfactory knowledge feature enabling users to search for smells,” this one was almost believable. Almost.

 

2. Virgin unveils glass-bottomed planes.

Leave it to Virgin to create the world’s first glass-bottomed plane. It’s terrifying and fascinating at the same time, but it’s not real (yet).

 

3. Gmail goes all blue.

Blue is better – at least when it comes to Gmail. Here’s a technology that’s six years in the making, according to the pranksters at Gmail. The future is exciting!

 

4. Barclaycard lets dogs pay with PayWag.

When your pup is craving a new bone or some fresh kibble, let him pay. That’s the idea behind the PayWag, a contactless payment device for dogs.

 

5. Scope tempts the taste buds with bacon mouthwash.

Bacon enthusiasts everywhere were hoping this was a legit product, but sadly, the bacon-flavored dental hygiene product turned out to be a hoax.

 

6. Google Maps offers “Treasure Mode.”

Google did it again with this hoax that invites people to find a pirate’s long-lost treasure by tapping into “Treasure Mode” on Google Maps. Time to strike it rich! Or not.

 

7. Snickers unveils Snickettes.

When fun-size or bite-size Snickers are just too cumbersome, open a package of Snickettes, which are basically pop-able peanuts. It’s a cute name and it’s chocolate, so we’d try it if it were real.

 

8. Sony introduces Animalia.

Got any tech-savvy pets? They’ll love Sony’s faux line of tech products for dogs, cats and hamsters. There was even a hashtag (#techforpets) for this April 1 hoax.

 

9. Samsung makes SMART Eco Trees.

If it’s from a tech brand and it features the word SMART, you can bet we’re paying attention. Only thing is, Samsung’s big new thing was just trees. That are powered by sunlight and produce oxygen. It was a good try, but they weren’t fooling anybody.

 

10. Honda introduces HondaHAIR.

Talk about the ultimate in convenience – Honda jokingly offered up the HondaHAIR, an accessory that allows for in-vehicle haircuts. Because who wouldn’t want one of those?

 

11. Twitter goes vowel-free.

Last year, the social media site unveiled Twtrr, a free consonant-only service. For regular Twitter, people were told they had to pay for their vowels. Wht??

 

12. BMW gets into the baby products market.

Remember the hype of the royal baby last summer? BMW jumped all over it with the launch of its BMW P.R.A.M. (That stands for Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile.) Marketed to those who are “too posh to push,” it’s a stroller with the works: air conditioning, two- or four-wheel drive, and a soft-top convertible. It actually sounds pretty cool.

 

13. The White House releases a video message.

Okay, it’s not a brand, but we had to include The White House in our roundup of April Fool’s Day pranks. It joined in on the fun by having internet celeb, Robbie Novak (aka Kid President), hop on the official White House YouTube channel for a special message.

 

We can’t wait to see what kind of pranks brands have up their sleeve today. Tell us: Which is your favorite April Fool’s Day hoax?


TOP

The Top 10 Zaniest MLB Promos For 2014


the coolest promos of the 2014 MLB season

It’s Opening Day, y’all, and the return of America’s national pastime brings with it the promise of some awesome promos.

Yes, there will be t-shirts and bobbleheads (lots of them). But there’s also a wide range of cool and quirky giveaways on teams’ promotional lineups this year.

MLB teams have been giving out promotional items since the 1960s to lure fans to games, and it’s a strategy that’s still effective more than 50 years later.

When he was the Mets’ Vice President in 1968, James K. Thornton told the New York Times: “People like something for nothing. Everybody comes to the fair.”

It’s true. Free stuff is a powerful motivator to get fans to the ballpark. Here’s a look at our roundup of the season’s 10 most buzz-worthy MLB promos.

1. Arizona Diamondbacks: Promotional slippers

Here’s a cool promo from the Snake Pit – and it’s especially for moms. The first 10,000 D-back moms get a cozy pair of slippers when they head to Chase Field on May 18. It’s definitely not an expected gift in the hottest state in the U.S., but still, we like it. We’re all for pampering moms with a great promo a week after Mother’s Day (May 11).

 

promotional etch-a-sketch
2. Chicago Cubs: Custom Etch-A-Sketch toys

The Cubs are ringing in 10 decades of Wrigley Field history, and they’re celebrating with a colorful assortment of throwback promotional giveaways: custom die-cast train engines, yo-yo’s, and Rubik’s Cubes just to name a few. Our favorite, though, is a nostalgic joy: custom Etch-A-Sketch toys. They’ll be handed out to the first 5,000 kids on July 13. Photo via chicago.cubs.mlb.com.

 

3. Cincinnati Reds: Mr. Redlegs mustache

Reds fans aren’t waiting for Movember to rock their ’staches – 20,000 of them will be sporting a groomed handlebar mustache a la Mr. Redlegs at the July 26 game. It’s a fun giveaway that captures the spirit of the Reds game experience, and will likely draw hordes of people to Great American Ball Park.

 

custom mug
4. Houston Astros: Custom cowboy boot mug

Texans are in for some sweet cowboy swag at the August 8 showdown between the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers – the first 10,000 fans will receive a custom mug shaped like a cowboy boot. It’s perhaps more fitting for the rodeo, but this is Texas, and anything cowboy goes. There’s even a cowboy hat giveaway the next day to bring the theme full circle. Yeehaw, y’all! Photo via www.crawfishboxes.com.

 

 

 

 

 

cowboy rally monkey
5. Los Angeles Angels: Cowboy rally monkey

Angels fans will be getting some cowboy promos all their own – a plush version of their beloved mascot: the Rally Monkey. He’ll be all gussied up in a Western shirt, cowboy hat and Angels bandana for fans to grab at the July 8 game. He’s so cute we can’t imagine this giveaway lasting long. Photo via www.stadiumgiveawayexchange.com.

 

6. Minnesota Twins: Custom barbecue tongs

It doesn’t get more all-American than baseball and barbecue. The first 10,000 Twins fans at the May 26 game will score a great promo – custom barbecue tongs – they can use all summer long to show off their Twins pride. And grill up some mean burgers.

 

custom sunglasses
7. Philadelphia Phillies: Custom sunglasses

Okay, so they’re not technically sunglasses – they’re more silly-nose-and-mustache glasses – but the “Phillie Phanatic Phun Glasses” are so different and fun, they had to make our list.  Fans age 14 and under will snag a pair at the May 18 game, which incidentally, is the Phanatic’s birthday. Happy birthday to the green, furry creature that’s undeniably one of the best sports mascots around. Photo via www.stadiumgiveawayexchange.com.

 

 

custom beanie
8. San Francisco Giants: R2-D2 custom beanie

Lots of teams – MLB and minor leagues – have a “Star Wars Day,” and the Giants are taking things to the next level this season with custom R2-D2 beanies. The first 20,000 fans through the gate on August 16 will score an R2-D2 beanie with a Giants logo for Stars Wars Day. If you’re a baseball-loving Star Wars fan, this is the day to go. Photo via www.nextimpulsesports.com.

 

 

 

 

9. Seattle Mariners: Custom beard hat

Yes, that infamous custom hat is back in the Mariners’ promotional lineup this year. Be one of the first 20,000 fans on April 25, and you’ll score the hat that’s part ski cap, part faux facial hair. An update on this year’s hat – it’s blond!

 

DJ Kitty plush hat
10. Tampa Bay Rays: DJ Kitty plush hat

The hip-hop kitty that Rays fans love to love is going down in history as one of the coolest (and quirkiest) promo giveaways. The first 20,000 fans at Tropicana Field on May 10 can adorn their heads with the very cute DJ Kitty plush hat. It just makes sense to turn the most swagtastic feline around into a wearable promotional product. Photo via www.tbo.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, there you have it: Our rundown of the top 10 wackiest MLB promos of 2014. We love a great bobblehead as much as the next baseball fan, but these giveaways would definitely get us out to the ballgame.

What promotional giveaways are you most excited about?

Photo credit: bryce_edwards via photopin cc