SWAG Works

Have you ever watched a commercial and not remember what product it was advertising? Or glanced over a newspaper ad and never notice what it says? And what about radio ads…do you even listen anymore?

Okay, so TV, print and radio are still effective advertising methods, but to make your impression count, it can take thousands – even millions – of dollars. How can you get your name and contact info in the hands of your customers and ensure they’ll remember you? Promotional items.

FUN FACT: Some of the first promotional items were commemorative buttons given out at the inauguration of George Washington in 1789.

Why does that bag or pen or coffee mug with your company logo and website work so well? Because promo items:

  • Engage all the senses: Recipients can hold, see, and interact with the item in a way they can’t with other advertising methods.
  • Are useful: Everyone needs to write, drink, and carry stuff. Everyone.
  • Are appreciated by recipients: You are the answer to, “Why am I always losing my pens?” when you offer them a new one. Or “Awesome! Now I don’t have to buy a new water bottle…you gave me a reusable one!”
  • Are retained by recipients: People keep your stuff. It is reported that 73% of recipients use their promo item at least once a week!
  • Have a low-cost per impression: Ever see TV ad rates? I rest my case.

 

Info sources: Promotional Products Association International and Advertising Specialty Institute

These are a few of my favorite things

Anyone who knows me knows I am a kid at heart. I wear sambas every day to work; I love new toys; and if I didn’t love my job so much, I would play all day!

I’m also all about the holidays and the holidays are all about giving. So for the first time, I gave myself a gift, and I must add it is the coolest gift EVER: Beats Studio by Dr. Dre headphones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know, they are pretty awesome. They fit great, look cool and sound spectacular.  Best of all – the packaging. They arrived in this awesome box. Opening the box was even more fun, with fabric tabs and Velcro – it was amazing. I was just as excited about the packaging as I was the product inside. I would expect nothing less from Dr. Dre.

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of packaging…
My parents – who have always been my best Santa – gifted me Apple TV.

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, also cool. And the packaging: great. If you are an Apple person, you know their packaging just feels and looks good. Slick, clean, minimalist and they are smart enough to always include a little apple sticker so you can decorate whatever you want with their iconic logo.

These were good reminders to me that every detail counts. When you are building and maintaining your brand – everything matters. From the way your receptionist answers the phone to how you talk about yourself to how the packaging looks and feels, it all builds on your brand. Know who you are as a company or organization and make sure everything you do aligns with that.

In the meantime, I’m gonna go geek out a little more.

On the Road Again

Promoluxers Amber and Melissa packed their bags, voted early and cranked up the Ke$ha for a 600-mile round-trip trek to Cedar Rapids, IA. There they spent three days getting trained on our new software upgrade.

The upgrades are going to help our already rock star employees become even more awesome. We’ll be able to receive orders electronically and realize efficiencies for our web stores. As our business grows, it’s important to Tyra to make the upgrades that keep us ahead of the game. The goal: efficiency and automation without error.

The ladies kept the road trip fun, Googling answers to their off-the-wall questions: Why are barns red? What do farmers do in the winter? What are the terms for other elected officials?  They munched on peanut M&Ms while watching the election results come in and they toughed it out in a room with only a space heater to keep them warm.

Our team will go to great lengths – and distances – to do great things for the company and our wonderful customers.

(Couldn’t find a Google answer to why this van is a school bus. Maybe it’s still dressed up for Halloween.)

 

Special Delivery!

As you know, customer service is paramount to us. We want to ensure our clients get what they want, for a great price, with great quality and WHEN they need it. And always with a smile, of course. That means working with vendors and partners we can count on and trust.

Here’s one of our favorite delivery guys making sure your Promolux order is there on time and in one piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, so that’s really Tyra’s little guy all dressed for Halloween, but we like to train ’em young around here.

Love in the workplace? We hope so!

We talk a lot about customer service here at Promolux. We hope it’s what differentiates us from other vendors with whom you could choose to work.

This article points out “seven rules for getting customers to love working with you.” It got us thinking about how much we love working with our customers and hope they feel the same way.

These seven rules can be applied to many types of businesses, industries, and organizations. The rules are so much about how humans want to be treated and respected. Not sold to.

  1. Make building the relationship more important than making the sale.
  2. Create opportunities for the customer to buy, rather than opportunities for you to sell.
  3. Have meaningful conversations and never give a sales pitch.
  4. Be curious about the customer as a person and let the friendship evolve from that.
  5. Don’t try to be a hero who swoops in to solve the customer’s problem.
  6. Believe in your heart that you and your firm are the best at what you do.
  7. Deliver exactly what you promised to deliver, no matter what.

Take care of your customers and they’ll take care of you.

If your experiences are anything like mine, great customer service happens with very little frequency. Store checkers are grumpy. Customer service representatives are unhelpful. Helplines are an eternal series of pushing numbers and never speaking to a live person.

So when I was recently wow-ed by the same company – TWICE – I felt compelled to share.

Awesome experience #1:

One afternoon we made a business purchase with our company American Express. Somehow, our account numbers were stolen and the bad guys started wracking up purchases on our card.  American Express sensed something was wrong and started calling around 3:00 a.m. (and a number of times after that) to verify these purchases. By 7:00 a.m. they shut down the card. When I woke up and checked my messages, I immediately called. The live, friendly person on the other end of the phone assured me everything was taken care of. Charges cleared and new card numbers would be secured/issued. Crisis averted all while I was sound asleep.

Awesome experience #2:

A new piece of office equipment arrived and didn’t perform as promised or expected. After months of repeated – and unanswered/never-returned – calls to tech support and customer service, I finally called American Express. They contacted the company, performed a charge back and, once again, took care of the situation.

American Express has earned my loyalty and gratitude. Great customer service has a funny way of doing that. Conversely, bad customer service will put a company on my “do not buy from ever again,” list.

These experiences were a great reminder of what good customer service feels like and how we want to serve our customers. As I write this it was also a reminder that customers talk. They talk about the good and the bad. They tell people if a product or service is worth it or not. That word-of-mouth carries a lot of weight and is often more effective than any print ad or marketing campaign a business or organization carries out.

Think about your customers, members, campers, donors, volunteers. How can you take care of them? How can you get them singing your praises? What can you do to earn their loyalty and gratitude?

Care to share some of your best and worst customer service experiences? We’re here to listen!  info@epromolux.com

How do they do it?

Pixar gets it. So does Apple. And Zappos. Innovation.

Fast Company offers their selections for the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. Pretty amazing stuff if you click through to each company and see what they’ve done.

So how do they do it? How do so many of these companies continue to stay relevant and stay ahead of the crowd? Innovation.

This article is a great resource for how to foster a culture of innovation. Offering seven basic (but not always easy) tips on how to encourage and infuse creativity and innovation into your workplace.

While we may not be creating the next big technological breakthrough or national ad campaign, we all have the desire to make our work better. To have a place to go each day that is invigorating, challenging, and growing.

Same old, same old is no fun. And it certainly doesn’t foster growth and creativity. Do something a little differently today.

  • Hold a meeting somewhere other than the usual place.
  • Have a brainstorming meeting with open-ended questions. Remember: all ideas are welcome and heard.
  • Allow new ideas to happen naturally. Encourage the process and initiative taken by your employees. Too often if people are pressed to come up with new ideas on a deadline, it will just create time-wasting clutter.
  • Do something random, unexpected, fun. A dartboard in the break room or messages of positive affirmation posted randomly throughout your office.

It’s not always easy with the day-to-day pressures and deadlines, but it’s worth the effort. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but it sure will be fun along the way.

QR Codes: Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? What are they? or Who really cares?

You’ve seen them popping up everywhere. Those squiggly black and white boxes (and some a little more graphic and colorful).

 

 

 

 

QR Codes. Short for Quick Response Code and first designed for the automotive industry, QR Codes are two-dimensional bar codes that marketers are using more and more to capture the attention of their consumers. Download the QR code app on your smart phone and start shooting.

According to researcher comScore, only 6% of mobile phone consumers (or about 20.1 million people) actually use them. Worth it or not? Depends on how you use them.

There’s an increasingly popular website that highlights serious QR code FAILS. Check it out. Pretty funny. And who on earth approved these things?

On the other hand, used creatively and appropriately, it can be a highly beneficial marketing technique:

Here are five steps to making them work for you

And 10 creative (and pretty cool!) ways to use them

Some of our favorites:

  • A virtual store in a subway. Scan your desired items as you wait and have them delivered to your home. No schlepping.
  • An art gallery providing audio tours and more info on the exhibit.
  • Scan the code on the wine label to learn more about the wine and remember it for later.

So what if you see someone who’s wearing a QR code on their shirt? A stranger. Do you point your phone at them and scan it? Are they asking for it by wearing the shirt? What info do you think you’ll get when you do? Scanner beware!

Even sheep wear fleece. (Well…sorta.)

Considering Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow a few weeks ago and we’re facing six more weeks of winter, we’ll keep our fleece handy for a bit longer. It’s our go-to layer when it’s chilly, and based on many of our orders we know it’s also a favorite for people across the country.

Why is fleece so great? Pound for pound, it provides twice the insulation of merino wool and four times the insulation of cotton. (Not bad.)

It wasn’t until about 1979 and the invention of Polar fleece by a company called Malden Mills (now Polartec LLC), that a fabric was able to be warm, lightweight, and perform well even when wet, although those wearing it will likely perspire less, allowing them to be cool and dry when not active and will retain more body heat when they are active. (Great for skiing, snowshoeing, even dog walking!)

 

But what’s it made out of? Polyethylene terephthalate (say that three times fast) or other synthetic fibers, or sometimes from recycled plastics such as soda bottles. Typically, it takes about 25 disposed plastic bottles to make enough polar fleece for one piece of clothing.

It’s easy to wash. Easy to dry. Vegan. Comfy. Durable. Looks good. And just feels good to wear. It was even named “One of the hundred great things of the 20th century” by Time Magazine in 1999.

From jackets to vests, blankets to hats…we love fleece! Get some for yourself or your customers. They’ll thank you warmly for it!

Sometimes love just ain’t enough.

A recent article from Ad Age, Why Brand Love, Satisfaction Aren’t Keeping Shoppers Faithful, shares recent survey results about brand loyalty and satisfaction. More than half of U.S. consumers switched brands last year despite their reported increase in satisfaction. Consumers are happier with shorter wait times, the ability to solve issues without having to speak to someone, and the ability to resolve an issue by speaking to just one person.

So with the higher satisfaction, why the switching? Higher expectations. No wait times and easy issue resolution has become the norm. Now companies must do more to keep customers loyal.

With love on our minds this Valentine’s Day, we can’t help but compare brand loyalty to a romantic relationship. Patty Smythe was right when she sang, “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough.” Good relationships take work. We thought of a few tips that might keep the spark alive (and keep your customers loyal!).

  • Be yourself. No one wants you to pretend you are anything but your authentic self.
  • Pay attention to their needs.
  • Listen. Listen. Listen.
  • Be honest.
  • Admit when you are wrong. Fix it. And don’t do it again.
  • Show your appreciation.
  • Surprise them with something good!
  • Give them your best.
  • You must have mutual trust and respect.
  • Don’t take them for granted.

Surely there’s nothing surprising on this list, but we all need a little reminder now and then to exceed expectations for the people we want to keep in our life.

© 2006–2011 Promolux, Inc.