Promotion, Marketing & Advertising


10 Eye-Opening Stats To Kick Off Promotional Products Work Week

Have you heard about Promotional Products Work Week? For those of us in the promo industry, it’s a chance to celebrate the overall awesomeness of promotional products.

The annual event, created in 2012 by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), was designed to shed light on the effectiveness of promo items.

Whatever your marketing need – from boosting brand awareness to driving tradeshow traffic – promo products can get it done.

Here are 10 facts from PPAI to prove that promotional products work:

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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: via photopin cc


Is Your Marketing Smelly? 5 Tips To Infuse Scent Into Your Campaigns.


Smell sells. Have you ever sniffed the subtle aroma of coffee or buttery popcorn, and suddenly wanted some? Smell makes people want to buy. It’s just how our brains are wired. That’s why smelly marketing works.

While all the other senses have to be processed first, smells go directly to the brain’s emotional control center. You sniff something, and bam – it triggers an emotion or memory. You’re hooked.

In his book, How Customers Think, Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman notes that: “Olfactory and other sensory cues are hardwired into the brain’s limbic system, and stimulate vivid recollections. Once a scent is embedded in an individual’s brain, even visual cues can cause it to be resurrected and even experienced.”

Your customers shop with their eyes, yes, but it’s their noses you should be targeting.

Using Scents Makes Sense

Scent marketing allows you to tap into people’s subconscious. Just think of Cinnabon. As soon as you’re within scent distance of a store, the tempting aroma of gooey cinnamon rolls is dancing around in your nose, and the next thing you know, you’re elbow deep in a Caramel Pecanbon.

Cinnabon is among the best of literal scent advertisers. It uses the scent of its actual products to lure customers in and ratchet up sales.

It’s certainly not the only one, though.

KFC has wafted the aroma of its world-famous fried chicken to hungry lunch crowds. Hershey’s has added chocolate fragrances to vending machines. Exxon On The Run stores have added coffee scents to their brewing systems, helping to increase sales by 55%.

But what about brands that don’t have a literal smell like cinnamon rolls or fried chicken? And what about the brands that don’t have a pleasant smell in general? Can scent marketing work for them?

Yes. The best examples are casinos.

All the glitzy megaresorts on the Las Vegas Strip don’t reek of cigarette smoke and liquor. Instead, unique scents are pumped through the casinos’ air ventilation systems, creating pleasant-smelling environments that have a huge impact on brand recognition.

The Venetian’s proprietary scent, Seduction, is described by the company that created the scent as “strong, soothing and sensuous.” The MGM Grand smells of jasmine and rose, the Mirage has the scent of Polynesia, and the Bellagio smells of Northern Italy. If you were blindfolded and led into the lobby of each resort, your nose could tell you where you were. The aromas aren’t just appealing – they aid in brand recall.

Scent also impacts the amount of time gamblers are willing to spend on the casino floor. Research shows that spending increased 44% at Vegas slot machines scented with a fruity, floral aroma over those without a sweet scent.

Smells Become Tangible With Promotional Products

Scent marketing comes in another form, too: promotional products. Promotional air fresheners are tried-and-true marketing tools, but there are all sorts of ways to put your logo (and your scent) into the world: highlighters, pencils, candles, lotions, stress balls.

Swag that smells is swag that gets your brand remembered.

Stress balls create an aromatherapy experience when they diffuse the fragrance of lavender or vanilla. Pencils are suddenly sniff-worthy and different when they smell of strawberries or bubble gum. Scent adds another layer to your promotion. You’re touching on the most powerful sense – smell – which helps embed your brand into customers’ minds.

Want to infuse scent into your promotional campaigns? Read on for five real-world tips from marketers with experience targeting customers’ noses.

Smell impacts purchasing behavior

1. Have a strategy.

Using scent isn’t as simple as spritzing some air freshener or lighting a candle – you must have a plan in place when approaching scent marketing. Adam Leary, President of Encite Marketing, says too few marketers have a well-thought-out approach.

“When a smell keys in on an emotion, it can considerably impact purchasing behavior as a happy memory can impact consumers’ state of mind, which leads to a more positive outlook,” he says. “A simple strategy put in place in a retail environment could really change an experience for a consumer for the better.”

2. Select the right scent.

Brands must consider what scents are appropriate for the demographics that make up its customer base. Different people find different scents appealing, and you have to think about what smells appeal to your customers the most.

“You have to be careful – if you don’t match the scent to the demographic, you might get hurt,” warns Collin Payne, PhD, an Associate Professor of Marketing at New Mexico State University. “Some stores that cater to women have tested smells to make customers linger in the store so they’re more willing to purchase. When you ask people if they’re influenced by these things, they say absolutely not, but studies show that they are.”

3. Don’t go overboard.

When it comes to smell, subtle is best. You don’t want to bombard customers with an overpowering scent or, worse yet, introduce scents that compete against each other.

“Avoid the urge to employ too many scents in different departments – keep them to a minimum,” advises Carly Fauth, Head of Marketing at Money Crashers. “If you don’t, you may end up confusing your customers or the marketing of the scent gets diluted.”

4. Try a scratch-and-sniff approach.

If flavors and scents are natural to your business – maybe you sell cupcakes or a line of organic lotions – giving customers a whiff of your products entices them to buy. This is especially true with food items.

“The power of smell is important to seasoning products, and we always encourage retailers to have sample bottles available for customers to smell and taste,” says Terri Toner, co-owner of Pirate Jonny’s. “Smelling, tasting and sampling makes a huge difference for people to experience [the product].”

smells give businesses a psychological advantage

5. Aim to surprise.

If you’re in the food business, olfactory marketing is easy – and expected. But it’s not the only sector that can benefit by appealing to customers’ noses.

“Businesses where the customer is not expecting a good smell – an auto repair shop, for example – can stake out a huge psychological advantage if they smell good,” notes Shel Horowitz, a consultant, copywriter and author. “It might be as simple as having really good coffee brewed a few times a day.”

Scent is a powerful yet often overlooked way to appeal to your customers. Smells motivate them to buy while firmly planting your brand into their minds. The key to scent marketing is finding the right aroma for your brand and using it in creative ways.

Take a whiff. Is your marketing smelly? Your brand shouldn’t just have a look and feel – it should have a smell, too. Appeal to your customers’ noses and breathe in the sweet smell of business success.

Photo credit: Bisayan lady via photopin cc


The Craze For Koozies

It keeps your drink cold and your hand warm. For beverage fanatics, the koozie is the greatest invention since sliced bread. Originally invented in 1980 to keep a canned beverage cold, it has become a fun and cost-effective marketing tool. The best promotional materials are ones that people will actually use. Considering that you are investing capital on these goods, you don’t want to invest in items that will make their way into the trash or a junk drawer, never to be seen again. Custom drink koozies are inexpensive and a popular item among sports fans, picnic goers, backyard barbecues, or just people lounging around the pool on the weekend.

The Importance Of Surface Space

Promotional Koozies for your Brand by ePromos

The beverage koozie is like a blank canvas, providing plenty of surface space for your business logo, or messaging you would look to convey to your target market. From logos to images to promotional advertising, this marketing product is useful and always cool. ePromos offers an easy ordering process and competitive pricing on both neoprene and foam options. Likewise, we also provide a myriad of koozie types and designs, including drink insulators for cans and bottles that will satisfy your beverage-temperature-maintaining vision.

Koozie Up For Your Next Event

Custom koozies are also a fantastic way to market an event. When planning an event, you want to maximize your profits while keeping your marketing costs at a minimum. There are always numerous unforeseen expenses when holding an event, and keeping your marketing budget low is important. Custom beverage insulators are an inexpensive choice and can be designed with the date of the event as well as all the information to promote the event as well. In addition, they also make for a memorable keepsake for guests that will be used for years to come.

Promotional giveaways are another popular way to brand your company. From conventions to tradeshows, free merchandise is an attention-grabbing and satisfying way to reach the consumer. Likewise, a koozie also has a long life span making them a great investment, sure to be used over and over again. More than anything, the current craze is helping companies market at a minimum cost, and offers consumers a useful marketing product. Whether trying to attract new business or sell an upcoming event, a custom koozie will do more for you than just keep your drink cold and your hands warm.


3 Simple Lessons Marketers Can Take Away From Super Bowl Ads

Marketers: We hope your eyeballs were glued to the Super Bowl ads last night – there are some lessons you can learn from the advertisers that plunked down millions of dollars to get fans to pay attention to their brand.  

The Washington Post reports that a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl cost approximately $4 million. Don’t have that kind of coin to shell out on marketing? You don’t have to. It doesn’t take a multimillion-dollar budget to win over your customers.

Marketers of any size can borrow a few plays from the mega-corporations that ran a commercial during the Super Bowl. Here are three simple lessons to be learned from those big-ticket Super Bowl ads:

1. Tell a story with video.

Many Super Bowl spots are like mini movies, played out in less than a minute. These advertisers have nailed the art of visual storytelling. They rope in the audience by using humor, sex appeal, or tugging on people’s heartstrings.

Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” spot was crowned the 2014 Ad Meter winner, USA Today’s consumer-judged Super Bowl commercial competition. The ad went viral on YouTube a week before the game.

Is your business using video to tell captivating stories? Instead of a whitepaper or slideshow, try using video to explain the ideas in a fresh, visually appealing way.

2. Harness the power of intrigue.

Super Bowl advertisers (most of them, anyway) have mastered how to capitalize on viewers’ curiosity. They create commercials that gather people around the TV and have them wanting to see what’s going to play out next.

Take, for example, Bud Light’s “Whatever Happens Next” commercial. The brand aired the first 30 seconds of the spot, which takes a random guy on a wild ride if he promises to be “up for whatever happens next,” and aired the rest of the story as a 60-second ad in the second half.

The spot undoubtedly had a Hangover-esque feel, with a hidden camera following the guy into a limo filled with attractive women, and then through a series of crazy events including an elevator ride with Don Cheadle and hilariously, a llama, and a ping-pong match with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Did Bud Light keep everyone on their toes with this spot? Absolutely. It was fun, captivating and wildly entertaining. The lesson here is that your marketing should always aim to excite. If it wouldn’t make you take a second look, your audience probably won’t be interested either.

3. Embrace social media.

Hashtags were used in a record-breaking 57% of nationally run Super Bowl spots, up from 50% in 2013. Why are hashtags so powerful in marketing campaigns? Because people can use them across various social media channels. By using hashtags, advertisers are inviting fans to engage in post-ad commentary on Facebook and Twitter.

Just look at Esurance, the online insurance company that’s giving away $1.5 million in a Twitter sweepstakes to someone who uses the hashtag #EsuranceSave30. It’s a brilliant way to get people tweeting about the company.

You want people to talk about your brand, and hashtags keep the conversation going where your customers are social. Create a hashtag for your next promotion, and use it to not only track the promo, but to create a firestorm in social media.


What You Need To Know About Custom Tote Bags

Custom tote bags are incredible marketing tools for many reasons – they have a huge imprint space, they’re reusable, and they’re one of the most versatile promo items around.

Bags printed with a logo also get an average of almost 6,000 impressions – more than any other promotional item, according to the 2013 Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study.

If you want to use tote bags to promote your brand, check out ePromos’ newest Slideshare. You’ll learn all about promo totes – from various styles and materials to decoration options and the latest trends.

For more insight, watch this interview with ePromos’ CEO, Jason Robbins, and Nicole Ruccio, Category Manager for supplier Leed’s.